Often universities and colleges provide interviews for vocational courses. In the case of health care this is usually just to gage the candidate and get to understand the suitability of the student and course. Sometimes universities also use interviews to filter out applicants on a highly competitive course.
Either way, university interviews are not designed to be feared. They are a great opportunity for you to meet the staff, understand more about the course, and get to ask all those questions that they don’t answer in the prospectuses.
So make sure you fully utilise this exciting chance that you’ve been given. Not only will preparation ensure you perform well in your interview but it will also guarantee you feel a lot calmer.
So how should you prepare?
1) Familiarise yourself with your application.
This may sound obvious, but make sure you are confident on all the material in your application. If you’ve mentioned a book, reread the book or look over the comments you made on it. If you’ve written about your experience volunteering, reflect on your time and how it developed you. This may be laborious, but it will save you looking dumbfounded – the very position that must be avoided!
2) Understand the course.
Reconsider why you picked this specific university course. Find the niche that drove you to this specific institute rather than the magnitude of others you could have chosen. You need to emphasise your enthusiasm for the course, so obviously you need to be able to pinpoint that excitement for yourself. Maybe you’re particularly passionate about one module or you’ve read a study by one of the university’s researchers.
3) Develop questions about the course.
Asking questions is a great thing to do as it evidences that you’ve really considered the course and are engaged in its material. Embarking on something new it’s always great to understand as much as you can. As hard as you try, you can’t research to fully understand the whole scope of the programme and interviewers will respect your inquisition.
It’s likely that there will be time to ask questions. Course specific ones, as oppose to those about nightlife or sporting activities, are certainly what you should be asking your interviewers. They are looking for enthused and budding students who are going to work hard towards their course. So, whilst you should be well rounded, mention extra-curricular activities in passing – unless of course these relate specifically to your course.
4) Look at current issues surrounding your course.
Whilst it is essential to revisit the information you provided initially in your application, it is a great to research around your subject and provide new information you can discuss. For example, look into new legislations that may be fundamental to your discipline. This could be changes to the NHS, or adaptations to the education syllabus which will be significant in the way your subject is taught. Immerse yourself into your course, understand as much as possible and generate your own ideas. Interviewers are scouring for independent learners.
5) Plan your interview day.
Know exactly how you will be travelling to your interview – if it is far away it may take a lot of strategic organisation - involving hotels, family pit stops and many forms of transport. Be sure you will arrive in plenty of time.
Dress not only to impress but also to feel comfortable. It is crucial that you feel confident, comfortable and appropriate. Equip yourself with the course and university prospectuses and your application as well as any notes you have just to look over.
6) Stay calm and enjoy the experience.
Once you’ve prepared, that’s all you can do! Go into your interview with a positive and open mind. Be ready to have a discussion and relish the opportunity you’ve been given. It is an honour to have acclaimed university professors and lecturers listening and engaging with exactly what you have to say.
Few candidates will have been invited to interview. The institute has already recognised your potential; you just need to provide further validation!