Universities receive hundreds of applications to study with them every year, so sometimes, a university will conduct an interview with prospective students as a chance to separate the wheat from the chaff.
University interviews are a chance for a university to get to know you, understand more about you and to see what kind of person you are.
How to answer university interview questions
The best way to answer your interview questions for university is by answering as truthfully and honestly as you possibly can. Be sincere in what you're saying and consider the answer before answering.
What questions should I ask at a university interview?
A university interview isn’t just for the university to ask you questions, you will have the chance to ask questions as well.
The best thing you can do is think of the questions that you need answered. It doesn't matter how important or unimportant you think the question is, ask whatever interview questions university you want to know the answers to.
Your questions should be about things you don't understand or things that have not been answered yet. In some interviews, you may be fortunate enough to meet the course tutor. In meeting the course tutor, you will have a chance to speak to someone who has first-hand knowledge of both the course and the industry, which means you will need to prepare some university lecturer interview questions.
Speaking to a university lecturer is unlikely at such an early stage, but if you have the chance to speak to them, then it is a good idea to develop some good questions to ask them too.
A carefully weighted argument that appreciates all sides, is the best approach possible.
Questions you will be asked
These are the typical questions that you will be asked when you attend a university interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Describe everything about yourself including your hobbies. People want to know about you and what makes you tick, so this is the perfect opportunity for you to showcase that.
What are you best at?
This question isn’t designed to throw you off, it’s just a chance to see where you think your strengths lie and what you personally think you're best at. This is typical in job interview questions as well as university interviews.
What are your main interests?
This is finding out about your hobbies. What are you interested in and why? These interests are often what define you as a person and what make you appealing for universities to take on, for instance, if you have an interest in sport, mention it, you can also speak about any goals you might have regarding doing any sport at university.
Your questions should be about things you don't understand or things that have not been answered yet.
How would you define your subject?
You’ll need, to sum up, what the course means to you, why you like it, why you’re studying it and why you’re looking to study it. More importantly, the university wants to know what the course means to you and why its so important to you.
What are the most important current developments in your subject?
This shows the university that you do actually have an interest in the subject itself and that you are paying attention to the changes and seeing their effects. A good thing to do is to sign up for Google Alerts and see what is happening in your subject’s sector at that time and so you're constantly up-to-date with what is happening.
Why are you taking a gap year?
This will only be asked if you’re taking a gap year. The university will want to know why. It’s not a trick question, designed to trip you up! They’re genuinely interested in your reasons for doing so. So make sure you mention about your gap year on a personal statement and be proud of it!
What are you planning to do on your gap year?
Why are you going to be taking a year out? Is there a reason for it and if so what is that reason? Universities will love to know why you’re doing this, don’t be shy!
How does your gap year fit in with your career plans?
Taking a gap year can often fit in with what you want to do with your career and universities will want to know about why you took a gap year and if it will aid your career or your studies, this is also to see if you’re serious about the course that you’re studying too. Gap year and travelling is always a hot topic in a university interview!
Are you good at working on your own?
This tests to see if you’re a good fit for the university, by finding out if you work well with others. University will teach you a lot about working with others too!
Sign up for Google Alerts and see what is happening in your subject’s sector at that time and so you're constantly up-to-date with what is happening.
What opportunities have you had for exercising leadership?
Have you ever lead a team of people? Are you perhaps a manager in a job that you have or are you the captain of your football team or your other sporting team, if so, mention it, they will want to know.
Describe a situation where you were put under pressure
This really helps the university to know if you can actually deal with the pressures of university, the pressures of working hard and if you can withstand the amount of work you’re going to get.
What are your weaknesses?
Your weaknesses are an easy one for most students, but don’t focus on them too much! Mention a weakness and then talk about how you’re looking to improve on them, this will go down a lot better with universities.
Tell me an achievement you are proud of
This doesn’t mean an example of when you’ve given good customer service; this is more for something that you’ve done in your personal life that you’re proud of.
Why have you chosen to apply here?
This is a chance for you to sell the university the idea of their university. What you like about it and why it has appealed to you.
What is your school like?
This is a question that is designed to ask you to talk about the good aspects and the bad aspects of your school. A carefully weighted argument that appreciates all sides of the school, is the best approach possible.
Be sincere in what you're saying and consider the answer before answering.
Tell us about your A-Levels/BTEC.
This is where they want to know how you feel about your A-Levels, how do you feel about taking them, what is your favourite aspect of the subject and what is your least favourite, etc.
Why did you choose your A-Levels/BTEC?
What was it about the A-Levels or BTEC that had you so impressed with them? This is a chance to show how deep-rooted your passion for the subject is.
What is your motivation?
This is to see what makes you so interested in the subject that you’re studying. This is one of the university interview questions that is there to test your commitment to the course and your interest.