Preparing for interviews

For some students their application to UCAS includes an additional stage – an interview.

This is likely to apply to students who are applying for either:

  • Courses that lead to a profession – to ensure the candidate has a thorough understanding of the career and the necessary skill set required to be successful at it;
  • Courses of institutions that are in high demand – as an additional method of narrowing down strong applications;
  • Courses that require a bespoke skill, for example, subjects that fall within art and design or performing arts.

If a student has submitted an application with a strong portfolio of qualifications, personal statement and a reference then they will be invited to interview. The interview should act as an extension of the UCAS application form and be used to highlight additional information that either couldn’t be included initially or was only mentioned briefly due to space restrictions with the personal statement.

Successful university interviews

Top tips

  • Plan your journey – know your route, times and factor in additional time in case of delays
  • Read through your personal statement, as interviewers are likely to refer to the topics you discuss within it
  • Research the course thoroughly, make sure you are aware of the modules it contains, facilities used and additional opportunities such as placement years
  • Create a list of the skills that you have plus supporting examples of where you have gained them from to include within your answers
  • Think about common questions that might be asked such as:
    • What you enjoy in your current studies
    • Why you have chosen to apply for this university course
    • Why have you chosen to apply to this university
    • Details of work experience/part time jobs/voluntary work you may have undertaken
    • Information relating to wider reading and research around your course that you have completed
    • Career ambitions
    • Awareness of related current events

The night before

  • Are all of your clothes ready and ironed?
  • Have you read through all of your notes?
  • Do you have the university's contact details in case of unforeseen delays/problems?
  • Do you have any necessary paperwork that they may have asked to see?
  • Have you prepared questions that you would like to ask them?
  • Are you giving yourself enough time for a good nights sleep?

On the day

  • Relax
  • Smile
  • Maintain a good rapport – interviews should be a two way process
  • Always remain enthusiastic and positive
  • Take your time to consider your replies before answering questions
  • Be yourself!