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Quick tips for a great college interview

Posted By Colin O’Reilly | November 20, 2014
college-interview-tips

Our roundup of tips from a range of experts last month on staying calm during the college application process was such a hit, we thought we’d do another. This time, we asked people from all kinds of paths—a TEDx speaker, an etiquette consultant, a career adviser and others—to give us their best tips for high school students prepping for the all-mighty college interview. Is yours looming on the horizon? Read what they said:

“The way you present yourself nonverbally is as important as how you do it
 verbally. Always sit up straight during an interview and lean in towards
 the interviewer to demonstrate your interest and comfortability with 
him or her. Avoid fidgeting in your seat or rubbing your legs and face. These 
are signs that you lack confidence.” – Erik Episcopo, career adviser and resume expert at Resume Genius

“Saying your speech in front of a mirror or recording it on
 a webcam can help you see how you'll appear to others and any mishaps you
may have, such as using ‘like’ and ‘um’ too much when you speak. This will 
help you appear more assertive and confident, which will help in college 
interviews.” – Michelle Burke, Marketing Supervisor for WyckWyre, the food industry online hiring system

“Practice speaking with adults. You will need to sit up straight, align your body to theirs, make good eye contact and no fidgeting! Do a
 mock interview through your guidance office and with some of your parents’ 
friends.” Jodi R R Smith, Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting

“Smile. Besides making you look more inviting, smiling actually tells 
your brain you are happy and causes increases in serotonin levels, which
 make people more relaxed.” – Jaime Pfeffer, award-winning speaker, radio host and author

“Stay calm. The most important tool for staying calm through an interview is steady breathing. When the interviewer is talking or asking you a question check in with yourself and make sure you’re breathing down to your belly. If you hold your breath you’re going to make yourself nervous.” – Ben Bernstein, PhD., performance coach and author of Stressed Out! For Teens: How to Be Calm, Confident, and Focused

“One very important realization is this: everyone wants you to succeed.
 No one wants a presenter to fail. No one wants an interviewee to be a dud. Don't fear the person who is interviewing you.” – Jeremy Gregg, three-time TEDx speaker and award-winning communicator

“Really listen to the questions the interviewer asks. Imagine that you are talking with a good friend. It’s okay if you don’t know all the answers. In fact, a well-placed ‘I don’t know’ can actually improve someone’s opinion of you.” – Leah Carey, professional speaker, author and coach

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