Video: 5 tips to ace your online college interview

Sometimes there is no replacement for a face-to-face meeting, but, luckily, at Case Western Reserve University, an online interview can be a close approximation of the in-person thing. Admission interviews are optional but encouraged for all undergraduate applicants to Case Western Reserve.

We’re excited to launch online interviews for students looking to enter college in the fall of 2021. Beginning Monday, May 4, 2020, video interviews with our admission staff are available weekdays from 9:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Eastern.

Review these tips to prepare for your online admission interview.

1. Technology Check. First of all, learn whether the interview will be video or just audio. Make sure your device has all the capabilities needed, and follow any browser suggestions. Technological glitches happen, but preparation can head many of the problems off at the pass.

2. Location, Location, Location! Find a quiet place with appropriate lighting where you would have some privacy. Also, look for a room with a strong internet signal, and pay attention to what is hanging on the wall or what is on the bookshelf. YOU want to be the center of attention, not your parents, siblings, dog or the edgy poster on the wall.

3. Lights! Camera! Action! Dress for success is always good advice. That is not to say business apparel is called for, but, remember, you will be leaving an impression. Engage the interviewer, look into the webcam, introduce yourself when the video goes live, smile. During the interview, where appropriate, offer more than one word answers. You have a personality, and the interviewer really wants to know who you are. This is a chance to shine.

4. Dig Deep. Prepare. Check the website beforehand so you know a little bit about the school prior to the interview. While all questions are good questions, spending time discussing topics that are easily answered on top-level web pages is a missed opportunity. An interviewer will likely be impressed if you are enthused and curious about the university. The interviewer will also likely be impressed if you are reflective about your own interests and aptitudes. That does not mean you need to have decided on majors, career goals or even your top choice college. You will impress if you seem to be conducting a thoughtful and insightful college search.

5. Recognize the Opportunity. Remember an online college interview is a two-way street. The interview certainly provides an opportunity for an admission staff member to learn more about you, the prospective student. This can be a nerve-wracking exercise. On the other hand, you have a chance to meet and learn more about the college through its admission representative. Hopefully that representative, and college, will impress you as well. There could be nervousness on both sides of the virtual desk. In light of this, the interview should probably be viewed as a conversation rather than a series of questions and answers.