Businesswoman Interviewing Male Candidate For Job

4 Ways to Shine During an International College Fair Interview

Preparation and confidence are essential to a successful U.S. college admissions interview.

Businesswoman Interviewing Male Candidate For Job

Resist the urge to bring your entire application package to an interview and focus instead on giving thoughtful, concise answers.

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In recent years, an increasing number of U.S. colleges have started sending their admissions officers abroad to promote their programs and to recruit students from other countries. These admissions officers visit local educational agencies, schools and sometimes introduce their institutions at education fairs.

For international applicants, especially undergraduate students, these events provide an excellent opportunity to meet representatives, learn more about the universities or colleges that they represent and perhaps be interviewed.

While admissions interviews typically aren't mandatory for international undergraduates, there are some ways to make an interview with admissions officials from U.S. educational institutions go smoothly, whether at an international college fair or during a one-on-one appointment.

[Follow these steps to excel at U.S. interviews as an international student.] 

1. Know where to find an admissions officer: It is ideal to meet admissions officers during a scheduled, one-on-one interview. Normally, local educational agencies can organize such interviews, but the applicant might have to be a client of the agency first.

Otherwise, the applicant can plan to attend an international educational fair, where institutions typically will each have a booth. Applicants should also pay attention to notifications from the admissions offices at schools they are interested in to see if their representatives are traveling anywhere close by.

The disadvantage of talking to an admissions officer at a college fair is that the environment can be really noisy and your conversation might be interrupted.  

[Get tips on understanding the U.S. college admissions process.]

2. Make sure you know what to bring: Applicants tend to want to bring their complete application package, including transcripts, test scores, personal statement, recommendation letters and a portfolio. While they should be prepared with relevant materials, the applicant should be really familiar with his or her materials, and able to answer related questions quickly.

Meanwhile, the applicant should do some research before the interview, and go into it knowing the basic facts, history and mission of the institution. This will absolutely impress the admissions officer, and make your application more persuasive and your interview more memorable.

[Learn about college admissions mistakes international students should avoid.]

3. Remain confident during the interview: It is crucial to be confident when meeting a college representative. There are a few ways to help make a better impression, such as answering the questions thoughtfully but concisely. This is not to say that you should boast, but take time to respond to the representative's questions honestly and sincerely.

Take time to properly introduce your strengths and talk about your potential. This will not only raise the admissions officer’s interest to get to know more about you, but also impress him or her with your communication skills and your ability to think logically and quickly.

4. Know what to avoid during an interview: First of all, never go to an interview without preparation. At the interview, do not brag, but also do not be overly modest – a frequent mistake international students make while interviewing.

When talking to the admissions officer, do not hesitate too much and avoid using words like "um" or "hmm." Stick to concise language.

Finally, do not forget to ask for a business card from the representative so that you can follow up after your interview​​.