The 5 Best Questions To Ask Your College Interviewer

Imagine this scenario: you get to the end of an amazing college interview—your dream college interview, to be exact—and your interviewer asks you if you have any questions. You could shake your head with a polite, “No, you’ve answered everything!” But that response won't leave a lasting impression.

Why ask questions? You’ve already shown your interest in the school by going through the arduous application process. But imagine if you walked into an interview and weren't asked any questions?  Besides being really awkward, you would get the impression that the school didn’t really care much about you as a prospective student.  So in the same way that the interviewer is trying to figure out if you’re a good fit for their school, you should ask the questions that allow you to see how well you’d fit in.  Your interviewer has a wealth of personal knowledge—why not use it? After all, what better way to convey your enthusiasm for that open spot in the class of 2017?

Before you read on for HC’s pick of post-interview questions, here are a few dos and don’ts for interviewing your interviewer:

Do show that you’ve taken something from the conversation. Something to the effect of, “You mentioned there are ways to start a club outside of the school. Have you ever done this? How easy or difficult is that process?” This will show off your listening skills and your interest in the school.  

Don’t bombard the interviewer with questions. You want to be enthusiastic, not aggressive. About two to three questions should be your goal.

Do ask questions even after a bad interview. Asking good questions after a bad interview can give you the rebound boost you need, and prove to your interviewer that you’re determined and serious about the school.  You should also ask post-interview questions for a school you don’t think you’re interesting in attending. You never know what special programs or student benefits could make you change your mind. 

Don’t ask questions just to impress your interviewer. If you’re obsessing about the recent cuts in squash funding when your resume has lacrosse written all over it, then your interviewer is going to see right through you. Chill out. Ask the questions that interest you and show off your interests.

Do prepare a list of questions prior to your interview.

Don’t ask questions that you can find on the school website, especially if they're incredibly specific questions about a certain department or program your interviewer might not know how to answer.

Do Google your interviewer ahead of time. It’s a good way to check their age—if they’re younger, they can give you a better idea of what student life is like and ask what types of careers have been available to their peers post-graduation—and to see if they actually went to the school you're interviewing for.

Now that you’ve learned your dos and don’ts, here is HC’s list of approved college interview questions. Take your pick, pre-collegiettes—but keep in mind that some of these questions only work if your interviewer went to the school you’re being interviewed for. So, again, remember to Google him or her beforehand!

Why did you choose this school over the other schools that accepted you?

To put it another way: What makes this college stand out, and why should I choose it above all my other potential choices? This lets your interviewer know that this particular school may be one of the ones in your final round of decisions.

What was your favorite part of your college experience? Any favorite traditions?

Hey, you’ve got to measure the fun factor, right? This question does that and requires your interviewer’s personal experience, which is always a plus.  It gives you a feel for the environment at the school, and will let you gauge the amount of school spirit there—certainly better than any college website can!  Take this one with a grain of salt, though: your interviewer may have graduated years ago, so his or her personal experience may be very different from what you may experience at the school.

What do you wish you could change about the school?

Interviewers tend to paint a rosy picture of the school—understandably, because they’re trying to sell that picture to you.  This question is great because it lets you get a more realistic view of the school, and hopefully clues you in to any frustrations you should prepare yourself for.  Think of it as the counterpart to the “What are your three greatest weaknesses?” question.

I noticed this [insert program] has these [insert benefits/rewards, etc.] for its students. Can you tell me a little more about that?

It can be anything from a financial aid program to an athletic program to an honors program. Whatever the case, it shows the interviewer that you’ve done your research about the school, and you want to know even more! Trust us, this one will really prove that you’re excited about what this college has to offer.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you have given yourself as an incoming freshman?

Who doesn’t need a few words of wisdom as your prepare yourself for one of the biggest adjustments of your life? Transitioning in to freshman year isn’t always easy, and your interviewer’s advice can let you know what you need—an open mind, a fearlessness to try new things—to get you through your first year in college. Not only will this give you an indicator of the kind of student who “makes it” at this particular school, but it also may give you an idea of the person this college will help you to be come. Life skills, my friends.

You don’t have to use the questions above—you can come up with some great ones of your own! Just make sure you choose the questions that show off your interest, enthusiasm, and the research you’ve done on the school.  As long as you keep that in mind, you’ll be ready to ace interviewing your interviewer. Good luck, pre-collegiettes!