How to prepare for a university interview

With increased competition for university places, it's become even more important to make an impact when you attend an interview.

Be friendly

On an interview day, it really comes down to speaking. You need to be confident enough to speak. If you come on an Open Day, walk around before the interview, chat to the Student Ambassadors, ask questions, show you are interested in what is going on. There’s nothing worse for an academic than a group of students shuffling around in silence. 

Dress up a bit

Smart is good. You don’t have to suit up, but jeans and trainers are a no-no. 

Do a little research

The course will likely be part of a wider subject area. What is it that goes on here? Who are the significant professors, and what is their area? This can be important in getting a sense of where you will be going. 

Give detailed answers where prompted

Try to avoid monosyllabic one-word answers. You are aiming to show that you are here to study a subject that enthrals you.

Try to pick up on things

On an Open Day, you will be offered all manner of talks, from social life, to accommodation. Try to take in as much as you can. Some of it may not seem very important if your interview is that day and you’re feeling nervous, but it will be useful in the future – and will help you during your interview.

Ask some questions

Asking questions shows that you have been paying attention. They could be about exchange opportunities, or about other things that haven’t been discussed in detail yet.

Remember why you’re there

We want to give you a place; we want to be impressed. We don’t want to crush your dreams. The most important thing is to remember why you have chosen to study this course, and to get this across to the interviewer. We’re looking for people who are genuinely interested in the subject. Prior knowledge is good, but an open, inquisitive mind is more important.