Applying to College Interviewing

What Will They Ask Me at My College Interview?

Written by CB Experts

In a college interview, you have to be prepared for all kinds of questions. In both interviews, informal or formal, the questions tend to fall into categories. The most common categories include talking about your high school experience, your personal traits, your background, your interests, what you’re looking for in a college, and what your aspirations and hopes are.

Below you can find some possible questions for each category so that you can get a sense of what could be asked.

Your high school experience

  • Describe your favorite teacher
  • What have you enjoyed most about your high school years?
  • How did you overcome difficulties in your most challenging class?
  • Are there any outside circumstances that interfered with your academic performance in high school?
  • What was the most controversial issue in your school? What was your reaction to it?
  • Have you been a leader in your school/community?
  • What would you do first to improve your school if you were the principal?
  • What was your favorite class and why?
  • Tell me about something exciting you have learned in the last two years and explain its importance.
  • How did you contribute to your high school?
  • What have you been most grateful for or pleased by in your education?
  • What have been your most stimulating intellectual experiences?
  • What do you think sets you apart as an individual in your school?

Your personal traits

  • What things do you do well? What are your strengths or talents?
  • Which weaknesses would you like to improve?
  • State one of your strong opinions and tell me about how you got to this spot
  • What are your strengths? Your weaknesses?
  • What do you value in your friends? In your teachers? In your school and community leaders?
  • What skills do you lack as a learner?
  • How do you learn best?
  • Are you a hard worker?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • How would you describe yourself to someone who didn’t know you?
  • What do you think sells you as a person?
  • Describe a problem you’ve had and how you solved it
  • In what ways are you still immature? In what ways are you mature?
  • How do you spend a typical afternoon after school? Evening? Weekend?

Your background

  • What events and experiences in your life have shaped you as an individual or have made you truly unique or special?
  • In what ways are you a product of the place where you grew up?
  • What are the things you will need to change about yourself to make a comfortable break from home?
  • What travel experiences have you had? Talk about other experiences that you think have molded you?
  • What have your parents taught you? What have they taught you not to do?
  • Describe your favorite spot at home.
  • Tell us about your family.
  • What things are important to your parents?
  • What are some good decisions you’ve made for yourself recently?
  • How would you describe your friendships?
  • Who has influenced you the most?

Your interests


  • What is your idea of fun?
  • What activities have you found most satisfying?
  • What do you do for relaxation?
  • If you could take a year off, how would you spent it?
  • What extracurricular interests do you want to pursue in college?


  • What’s a favorite book/play/artwork/movie/song you have and why?
  • What books that are not required by your courses have you read recently?
  • What is the best book you’ve ever read? Why?
  • What 3 books would you take to a desert island? Why?
  • What magazines and/or newspapers are your favorites?
  • What hobby/subject are you passionate about?
  • Which authors, books, or articles have had a profound effect on you?


  • What political or social issues should a young person be interested in today?
  • What do you think about: drug/alcohol use, nuclear proliferation and disarmament, nuclear power, the strategic defense initiative, free speech and the Internet, terrorism, today’s headline?
  • Do you ever become indignant about anything happening in the world?
  • If you were President of the US, what would you do to improve the world?
  • What historical event had the biggest impact on the 20th century in your opinion and why? How about the 21st century?
  • If you had the political power to do anything, what would you do and why?

What you’re looking for in a college

  • How do you think you will adjust to the new environment of your college/university and its geographical location?
  • How would you describe the typical sophomore at our institution?
  • What are the goals you have for yourself as a freshman: socially, academically, personally?
  • What do you think will be one or two big differences between your high school education and your college education?
  • What will be your contribution to our institution?
  • Why should you be accepted here?
  • What do you like about our campus? Our program?
  • How will you fit with our college/university?
  • What are the things you will need to change about yourself to make a comfortable break from home?
  • How do you think you will fill your down time here?
  • If you had to choose two other, and very different, majors than the one you are now thinking about, what would they be and why?
  • Where else are you applying and why?
  • Why do you want to go to college and why have you selected this particular college?
  • What can the school offer you?
  • What kind of education/knowledge are you seeking?
  • What do you hope to major in and why?
  • What self-development do you see for yourself in college?
  • What are some of the criteria or considerations you have used in choosing a college?

Your aspirations and hope

  • What do you envision yourself doing in the future for a career and why?
  • How do you expect to contribute to your community and/or the world as an adult?
  • How do you define success?
  • What do you want to get out of a college experience for your future?
  • What do you want from life?
  • What issues concern you?
  • Where do you want to go after you graduate from college; what do you want to achieve?

Bonus final category: What can you contribute to this interview?

This is the place where you will be asked to come up with some questions of your own.

  • Do you have any questions for us?
  • What would you like us to know about you that hasn’t yet been asked or discussed here?

Looking for sample answers to common interview questions? Check out our article on “Preparing the Best Answers for College Interview Questions“.

About the author

CB Experts

Content created by retired College Admissions consultants.