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How to Succeed in a University Admissions Interview- Top Tips from a Doctoral Trainee

Updated: Feb 8

Congratulations if you are reading this with an upcoming interview for a University course whether that is an undergraduate or postgraduate course! I hope this blog post will provide you with some helpful advice in preparation for your interview.

1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!

I would advise that you prepare for your admissions interview in the same way you would for an exam, unlike a job interview an academic interview can sometimes focus more on your knowledge around the subject area as opposed to just talking about yourself, so I would strongly advise against 'winging it'. Research into possible interview questions they might ask, watch YouTube videos about the course itself and try to gain as much insight as possible before your interview.

2. Network with current or previous students!

Get onto Facebook or LinkedIn and find previous or current students who studied the course at that University and gain some insight directly from them. Don't be afraid to reach out for some advice about the course or the interview, most students would be flattered that you felt you could approach them and that you feel that they can pass on their wisdom to you. Plus if you're successful you may have made some friends on the course already!

3. Research your Interviewers!

Now this one may sound a bit strange and you may not know who your interview will be with but if you are provided with this information do some research into them!

Not only will this help to ease some anxiety as it can help you to know what to expect and who you will be chatting to, but you can find out if they specialise in anything in particular that you could maybe talk about with them or ask them more about (obviously do this with caution as you don't want to sound like you have stalked their entire life).

4. Be Yourself!

This one may sound like an obvious one but its true and sometimes in interview situations we can get so stressed or anxious we forget this very thing! They have chosen to interview you for a reason so what they know about you so far they already like so don't feel like you have to act like a different person during the interview.

5. You don't have to know EVERYTHING

Remember you are not on the course yet so they do not expect you to know absolutely everything! If they do ask you a question about a topic that you do not know much about be honest and explain its not an area you are very familiar with.... AT THIS STAGE. You could also go onto to say you will do some further reading or research into this, this will show that you are willing to learn and research into topics you are unfamiliar with. Remember they are looking for good students rather than fully trained, fully knowledgable professionals.

6. Why have you chose that University?

This is the part where you do have to flatter the University a little and perhaps brush their ego slightly but often during interviews they want to know WHY THEM?

Therefore be prepared for this question, have a good reason as to why you have chosen that particular course at that particular University, so research the course or University itself; find statistics, find something that interests you about the course, a particular module you find interesting or find something they offer that other Universities don't.


At the end of the interview they will most likely offer time for any questions you may have, use this time effectively and ask them a question! This will show that not only are you interested further about the course but you are also deciding where to study and you have to figure out if this University is right for YOU. Ask questions about the course itself, a certain module, the University itself but whatever it is keep it relevant but ASK A QUESTION!!

8. Try to manage your Anxiety

Interviews can be very anxiety provoking and nerve wracking, so try your best to not let this get the best of you. Before your interview take some deep breaths, do some mindfulness exercises or meditation just something that will calm you down.

  • The Night Before:

Switch off from your preparation at a decent time and make sure to get a good night sleep. If it helps do some relaxation or self care exercises the night before such as have a bubble bath or do some Yoga. Lay out your interview clothes and anything else you may need on the day so they are ready in order to avoid any stress in the morning when you can't find your trousers or a pen!

  • The Morning of:

Set an alarm! Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time before the interview especially if you have to travel, you do not need any extra stress!

Have a good breakfast and briefly look over some preparation notes but nothing too intense, just something to refresh your memory.

Make sure you have some water with you for the interview incase of any dry throat because of the stress.

Take some deep breathes! Remind yourself YOU'VE GOT THIS!

Best of luck with your interview I hope these tips helped! Please leave a comment if you found these helpful or if you were successful with your University admissions interview!

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