How to prepare for a university interview
Hi, I’m Olivia and I’m currently a finalist studying towards an MEng in Aeronautical Engineering at Loughborough University.
When I applied for Loughborough, I was invited to attend an interview – this was something which, at the time, seemed quite a daunting prospect. In hindsight, I definitely was too worried – the interview is nothing to worry about so long as you prepare well!
The interview which I attended at Loughborough was relatively informal. The day consisted of a tour of the department, a Q&A with current students and a short interview with a member of staff – typically a lecturer. There was also an optional tour of one of the campus halls of residence which I also attended.
The interview itself was more of an informal chat about my personal statement and motivation of wanting to study engineering. I had anticipated technical questions which I wouldn’t be able to answer – this was not the case, they were more interested in my experiences and motivations. I was presented with a simple situation which required a little bit of thinking but the problem had no right or wrong answers and the lecturer was just trying to understand my thought process. But remember – not all interviews are the same so be sure to check your itinerary and if you have any questions get in contact with admissions and they will provide further details!
Being a representative for the department – I know that (at least within the department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering) the interview days have been altered and become less formal with interviews but all interviews are different and it’s good practice to prepare for a formal interview just in case!
How to prepare
- Anticipate potential questions and have some topics ready to talk about
- Know your personal statement and CV inside out (but it’s okay and good to talk about other things too!)
- Practice some answers – get your friends, teachers, parents/guardians to ask you example questions or even record yourself and watch it back! The more you practice the more comfortable you will be
- Check the dress code and make sure you have some appropriate clothes – prep these the night before so you aren’t rushing around! If no dress code is provided it is better to dress smart to be safe and come across professional. Make sure your footwear is appropriate in case there is a lot of walking involved on the day (i.e. tours)
- With the global pandemic causing interviews to be online it is a good idea to check your internet connection and make sure you are comfortable
On the day
- Make sure you arrive at campus in plenty of time and know where to go! Campuses can be quite large but there are always plenty of staff and students around to help. Planning your journey and familiarising yourself with the campus map will help
- Take time to think and make sure you understand the question before you start to answer
- It’s okay to ask for the question to be repeated or for it to be reworded if you don’t understand
- Remember to remain professional throughout the day, even during the breaks!
- Go with some questions ready to ask staff or students – there are no stupid questions! Don’t be afraid to ask about university life as well as your course
Just remember to keep calm, prepare and enjoy the day! Interview days are as much a chance for you to get to know the university as they are for the university to get to know you!
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