5 tips for nailing your university interview

July 27, 2020

Although the coronavirus pandemic has caused many universities to switch to elearning for the short-term, the world keeps on ticking, and before you know it, September will be here. 

The chances are, you’ve been applying for courses at your preferred universities via UCAS, and you may even have received an offer. Congratulations! Some universities, however, like to meet students face-to-face before issuing a formal course offer, either to assess whether you’re right for the course or to show off the facilities and persuade you to choose them. 

More competitive courses, particularly in nursing, dentistry, media, and education also require interviews so you can show off your portfolio and ensure you’re prepared for an intensive three years of training. Try not to sweat; uni interviews are mostly just a formality. 

If you’re feeling anxious, fear not: we’ve rounded up some tips on nailing your interview… 


Go over your personal statement

Most students apply for a university course before they’ve even sat their exams, so go back to UCAS and review your personal statement and references. Refreshing your memory is a good idea, as you’ll be able to see why you applied for the course and swat up on examples or case studies you provided. You don’t need to spend hours fretting over every little detail, but it makes sense to enter an interview with your application fresh in your mind. After all, that’s what the interviewer will be basing their questions off during your face-to-face chat.


Be prepared for common questions

Use the internet to search for common questions asked during university interviews for your subject. Students often share their experiences on forums and on social media and having an idea of what you’ll be asked will put you at ease. If you’re applying for an art and design course, for example, you might be asked why you’re passionate about design and some of your favourite artists - having a few at hand will help you answer the question with passion.

You should also be prepared for some common, generic questions. Why do you want to come to our university? What attracted you to our course? Where do you see yourself in five years time? Having answers rehearsed will ensure you’re confident and don’t “blank out”.


Bring a portfolio or documentation

Depending on the nature of your course, you might be asked to bring examples of your work - especially if you’re looking to join a creative course. This can be anything from coursework to personal projects, like a blog or YouTube channel. Bring a portfolio with you, either printed or on an iPad or laptop, and make sure your device is clean. No fingerprint marks, please!


Dress smart-casual 

You don’t need to dress like you’re going to a funeral for a university interview. Sure, you want to make a good first impression, but you also need to feel comfortable. Unless it says otherwise on your interview offer letter, choose a smart/casual outfit. If you’re going to be chatting over Zoom, the same rules apply. Sit in front of a white wall to avoid distractions.


Decide what to ask them

A good university interview should be a conversation rather than constant back and forths. Use your interview as an opportunity to ask the questions you’ve been dying to know the answers to, whether that’s specifics on the syllabus, information about the campus or career progression post-university. Having a few relevant questions prepared in advance will make it easier to impress the interviewer - it’ll show you’re genuinely passionate about the course.


Whether you’re meeting a future lecturer face-to-face or you’re taking part in a virtual open day and interview process, we wish you the best of luck. When you’re choosing the right student accommodation, consider our all-inclusive student bills package to make life easier.

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