Different Types of College Interviews


Students have been busy interviewing these last few weeks. Over the last three years, the college counseling department has been working hard to prepare students for college interviews. Recently they have had a chance to apply what they have learned. There are several different types of interviews.


Most colleges in the UK do not require interviews. The exceptions are Oxford, Cambridge, and medical programs. This year, with only a few students applying to Oxford and Cambridge, we have been very fortunate to have three of our students offered interviews. It is an impressive accomplishment for a student to even be offered an interview by Oxford or Cambridge. Our only two students applying to Cambridge were both offered interviews here in Shanghai. Our Oxford student has to fly to Oxford this week for her interview. The student who is being interviewed to study medicine at St. Georges and King’s College in the UK will also fly to London for her interviews. All of these interviews are rigorous panel interviews where the student has to answer questions from a group of interviewers. We have created mock interviews for them using some of our British teachers to help make it authentic. Nadia Connor, one of our English teachers whom graduated from Cambridge, has been particularly helpful. Going through a rigorous British style interview is a great learning experience for students.


Ms. Nadia Connor


Top U.S. colleges tend to prefer Alumni interviews where students will meet with college alumni who work in Shanghai. These interviews can vary based on the college. We have tried to base our support for students with these kind of interviews to match to culture and requirements of each college. Three students recently had Brown Alumni interviews, one had a Johns Hopkins interview, one University of Pennsylvania interview, just as examples. These colleges are all quite different so students have to prepare differently to have a successful interview. We were fortunate to have the head of international admissions from Brown and UPenn visit our campus and help us know how to best prepare our students.


This year we had two students applying to Stanford. Stanford, along with many other colleges like Cornell and Northwestern, recommend Initialview interviews. Initialview is an interview service that that is done either online or in their Initialview center. This kind of video interview is different from interviews where students sit down with a real person. They require a different kind of preparation. We have dozens of students who have recently had Intialview interviews. To help them prepare, we have shown them previous interviews our students have done with Intialview and talked about the types of questions that they will likely be asked.

No curriculum is better than IB, with its emphasis on oral communication, for preparing students for interviews. Strong interviewing skills will be helpful for students their whole lives, so it is something that the college counseling department will continue to make a priority.

Shanghai Qibao Dwight High School
Dec. 2, 2016