How to overcome a bad college interview

View Robert K. Cooke, MEd's video on How to overcome a bad college interview...
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How to overcome a bad college interview

One of the more interesting parts of the application process is the interview. And how important is that? These are kinds of questions that families often have. And the reality is that in general the interview often isn't as important as those other things that we always talk about - grades, test scores, strength of schedule, that sort of thing. Nonetheless though, the interview is a good way to express interest in a college. And so if a college has an opportunity for students to interview, I always encourage students to do so. Because even if the interview isn't the determining factor, the fact that the student cared enough about the college to show up, to be interviewed can be helpful to colleges as they're trying to decide between different kids. Hey, you like us a lot, we're going to like you right back and admit you. One of the tricky things is if your student goes on an interview and doesn't do a very good job. And hopefully your child realizes that in the moment and tells you as the parent. And then there are a few things you can do to try to mitigate that as the parent. And probably the most important thing you can do is to have your child write a short note to the interviewer and essentially throw yourself, throw your kid on the interviewer's mercy. Say, thank you so much for interviewing me. I really appreciate it. Unfortunately, because I care so much about your college or university, I was really nervous, and I don't think I did a very good job. And I apologize for that. But I do want to emphasize how much I care about the school and how much I would really love to be admitted there. Don't lay it on too thick. People can read between the lines on those. Parents shouldn't write it. But if kids sort of tell the truth and just say I was a nervous wreck and it's because I care so much and apologize for that, usually the interview, the damage that might have been done by that interview will go away.

View Robert K. Cooke, MEd's video on How to overcome a bad college interview...


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Robert K. Cooke, MEd

Upper School Director

Robert has been in K-12 education for thirty years; for sixteen years he was a high school history and social studies teacher, teaching subjects such as AP US History, Western Civilization, World History, Economics, and Anthropology. His school administrative career has been equally varied, serving as Director of Activities at a large public high school, and a Middle School Director and Upper School Director at independent (private) schools in the Midwest and California. Robert earned his Bachelor's Degree in History from Carleton College, and his Master's in Education from Claremont Graduate University. He is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Robert has served on school accreditation teams in the Midwest and California. He has two children, one of whom is an acting and English Literature double major at a large urban university on the East Coast, while the other is a high school junior in Los Angeles.


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