The Story Behind the Application: The College Interview

One of my favorite parts of this job is interviewing prospective students. But I haven’t always felt so thrilled about interviews. It was almost five years ago that I did my own interview for Bryn Mawr, and just a few months ago I started interviewing again—for jobs.

Thankfully, a college interview at Bryn Mawr and a job interview (in my case, with an insurance firm and a band management company) are two very different things. At Bryn Mawr, the admissions interview is really more of a conversation. We’re not going to ask you any trick questions. It’s really just a way for us to get to know you better and add some more depth and detail to your application.

As an interviewer now, what I appreciate most from a student is a story. Of course I want to know the basics: classes, extracurricular activities, etc.; but I can get a lot of that from your application and resume. What I want from the interview is the story behind your application—why you’re taking certain classes and how you got involved in activities. I want to hear what you LOVE to do and why you love to do it. Tell me about why you loved your Russian history class or what is most rewarding about the volunteer work you do. When a student tells me about her favorite book or best teacher, I get a much clearer idea of who she is and what makes her tick—and that is when interviews are most interesting and fun!

So don’t be nervous about your interview. Don’t worry about wrong answers—there aren’t any if you’re talking about yourself. And trust me, compared to a job interview, this is cake!