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Interview Tips

Forget the old-school model of a terrifying, stuffy interrogation. We view the interview as more of a conversation to learn more about you, and how you might fit in at Carleton. We do interviews by members of our admissions staff, current students who are Admissions Fellows, or our fantastic Alumni Admissions Representatives.

We’ve compiled the greatest tips and tricks to help best showcase yourself and make your interview a breeze. Now breathe, relax, and enjoy the conversation! We’re excited to get to know you.

Be your authentic self

Don’t be afraid to wear your passions on your sleeve. We’re excited to get to know the real you, so get ready to share what you’re truly excited about.

We know what you’re going through

Interviews can be scary! Know that we are on your side and want to make you feel as comfortable as possible. We promise not to ask you trick questions, and we’ll have no problem rephrasing a question if you’re feeling stumped.

Talk about things that aren’t in your application

If you’ve already chosen your essay topic, talk about something different! This could be a great time to highlight the activities you do outside of school, hobbies that don’t make it into your application, or certain academic triumphs that are only given limited space in your application.

Turn off your phone

We understand that accidents happen and you may have left your phone on, but your interview is your time to shine so make sure to turn your phone on silent, or even better — off.

A little goes a long way

One of our Fellows put it perfectly: “I would rather talk for an hour about that one thing a student is in love with than talk about the fifteen different clubs they’re only kind of involved in.”

That being said…

Be prepared to talk about a variety of interests. Our questions will help you out here! If you catch yourself focusing solely on philosophy or Legos or your DNA research, we’re going to think that’s the only thing worth knowing about you. We know there’s more, so don’t be afraid to share.

Pauses are okay

We may ask you a question that causes you to think before you answer — and that’s okay. Feel free to take a beat or two before you answer, as long as that’s what feels most comfortable to you. And if you’re ready to answer right away? Jump right in.

How you listen says a lot

Try to be an active and engaged listener when your interviewer is sharing information about Carleton or themselves. It makes a big difference if you’re making eye contact or otherwise showing you’re listening than if you’re gazing out the window.

Be yourself

We promise we’re not too scary, and we’re on your team. We know that the interview is another piece to your application, not the end all be all, so have fun with it.