How to ace university interviews

how to prepare for university interviews and how long do university interviews last
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Published Date:15-07-2017
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Preparing for University Interviews You should remember that receiving an interview invite means that the admissions tutors are impressed with your application so far and you are in the running for an offer of a place at that university. It is an opportunity for you to discuss a subject that you and the interviewer share an interest in. There can be some flexibility around attending these days – not all interviews Why do universities ask applicants to are compulsory. However some are and students will only be made an offer if attend an interview? they attend. Where possible you should attend a university interview, but if Interviews are one of the ways that universities assess your suitability to you are unable please contact the academic school or department and see study your chosen academic course. Universities ask applicants to attend an whether it is compulsory or whether you can change the time and date. interview so that they can gather more information about them. Universities want to: What are Admissions Tutors looking for? • Check the information on your UCAS form Admissions tutors are looking to see whether you have met the selection • See if you have realistic expectations and a genuine interest in the subject criteria set for your chosen course. Selection criteria are the required qualifications, skills, characteristics, abilities or knowledge which are relevant to • Assess whether you can successfully complete the course the successful completion of the academic course. Interviewers will be looking • Give you information about the course and university for you to demonstrate how you met the criteria advertised in the prospectus and UCAS entry profiles, but will not always ask you about them directly. • Allow you to ask questions • Assess which applicants are best matched to the programme – which Some examples of criteria used by Admissions Tutors include: students will benefit and contribute most. • Interest, motivation and commitment to the subject Different types of interviews • The ability to study independently • One to one (standard) • The ability to work with others • The ability to manage • Panel (being interviewed by several people) time effectively • Group (being assessed whilst you complete a group task) • An interest in the university. • Assessment (numeracy/literacy) Some interviews are more selective than others such as Medicine and Dentistry. At Manchester, students for some courses will often be invited to a Visit Day, where they will get a tour and a talk about the course, with a short interview as part of the day. TOP TIP Review your UCAS form, the entry profile and the university prospectus before attending a university interview TOP TIP Practise speaking clearly and concisely practise talking abou yourself in a professional manner. Interview Questions University interview questions are usually derived from the following sources: STAR Method • Your UCAS form • The selection criteria as specified in the prospectus and entry profiles – see activity 1 • Current developments in the field of study – see activity 2 • Professional standards (for some courses). Activity 1: STAR Method The STAR method can be a good way of answering questions, allowing you to evidence situations that have enabled you to develop the skills and experiences relevant to your chosen course. Situation: What was the situation? Give the interviewer a brief outline of the situation faced and your role. Task: What were the main issues involved with the situation? What needed to be done? Action: What task/s needed to be achieved and what was the desired outcome? What obstacles had to be overcome? Result: What was the outcome? Why not try for yourself? We have given an example to help. The student below is applying for English and Drama. Can you tell us something about how you organise your time when you are studying? Question Attending Sixth Form College and having a weekend job in a clothes shop. Situation Complete my A’ level coursework on time and attend my weekend job where I am responsible for Task ordering stock and serving customers. Manage my time effectively to leave enough time to complete my school work, whilst also Action working hard at my weekend job ensuring I complete the tasks I am responsible for. By doing this part time job I have developed good communication skills, the ability to manage my Result time well and have taken on levels of responsibility. This will help with my English and Drama degree, as I have experience of managing my workload successfully and will work well with my fellow students in the team work activities that are required as part of the degree. Have you completed a project or some other study by yourself? Question What was good and bad about this? Situation Task Action Result Can you give an example of a time when you have worked with others to complete an activity? Question What did you like the most/least about this? Situation Task Action Result Can you give us an example of when you had to have something ready for a certain Question date? How did you organise your time to make sure you met the deadline? Situation Task Action Result TOP TIP When answering an interview question, you should try to respond with enough detail so that you meet th admissions criteria and try to include a ‘real life’ example. y, ut Current developments in field of study Whatever your chosen course it is important to keep as up to date as you can on developments in that field. For example, if you are applying for a healthcare related course you may wish to consider what new treatments are being developed? Activity 2: Mind Map We recommend that you use a mind map to brainstorm everything you know about the current developments in your chosen field of study. Step 1: In the centre box write the subject area you It is important that you only talk about what you know. are applying to. If it’s a subject like English or History for example, list Step 2: In the circles list: some of the activities you have done to learn about this subject area outside of college, for example: read • Any new research that is being done in this area. books that are not on the • Any related news stories that are relevant to this syllabus; visited museums etc. field of study. Step 3: Use the lines off • Topics in your subject area that go beyond your the circles to record your course syllabus. thoughts on these issues/ developments. • What have you read in journals or on relevant websites? Extension activity: Can you answer the following questions? - Can you give me an example of a recent ‘topical’ development in this field of study that you may have seen in the media recently and do you have a view on this? - What are you reading at the moment that is of interest? w he y TOP TIP Listen really carefully to the question, and take time to think about your answer. Answer the one you have been asked, not the one you wish you had. If you get tangled up, say so and start again. TOP TIP If you don’t know how to answer a question, try brainstorming out aloud Commonly asked questions General questions • Tell me about yourself? • How would you describe yourself? • What are your main interests? • What are your strengths and your weaknesses? Interest in specific university Interest, motivation and commitment to • What has attracted you to studying (degree course) at (University)? the subject • Given that (degree course) is offered by lots of different universities, • What have you enjoyed most about your current studies? what is it about studying at (university) that appeals to you? • Why have you chosen to study (degree course)? • What contribution do you feel you would make to the student community • What aspects of the course interests you most? at (university)? • What skills do you have that will make you a successful student on (degree course?) • What do you hope to accomplish by studying (degree course)? Where to find out more: Working with others The University of Manchester For information on how to apply and courses offered • Do you belong to any teams, clubs or groups? - If yes, what do you like the most/least about this? - If no, can you give an example of working alongside others? UMASS University of Manchester Aspiring Students’ Society interview advice • When you make decisions, what importance do you give to the opinions of others? • As part of university study, students often attend seminars. This is an UCAS Course search function and advice for opportunity for you to discuss your current work in small groups. What preparing for university interviews would you hope to gain from such discussions? The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL This leaflet is printed Royal Charter Number: RC000797 on FSC accredited paper M1163 09.14 TOP TIP Make some notes shortly after the interview so you can remember what happened. Reflect on what went well, and what could have gone better. Don’t feel pressured to share what happened with other people. The interview is between you and your interviewers. Finally relax and try to forget about this one – it’s over

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