Interview tuition and mentoring
Why do top universities interview candidates?
Competition for entry to top UK universities is fierce and it is becoming increasingly challenging for them to identify suitable candidates to offer places to. Whilst outstanding examination results will be required (in the UK, IB results are released in July, with A Levels in mid-August), conditional offers will have been made prior to this based on a student’s UCAS Personal Statement and specialist pre-university assessment tests (if required).
As a result, the very top universities and performing arts schools will interview, to identify the best candidates for their courses.
What should I expect at interview?
No two interview processes are ever the same and the need for an undergraduate candidate to demonstrate academic achievement, engagement with the Super-Curricular and an impressive extra-curricular list of clubs, activities and achievements is key.
Oxbridge, Russell Group, G5, Meidal, Dentistry and Veterinary interviews are all very different in structure and usually involve a combination of course tutors and other academic staff.
Some creative and performing subjects may require a portfolio of work and involve an audition. Other subjects may require written exercises or a discussion of your areas of recent study.
Applicants can be informed of their interviews and the processes involved directly by email or through the UCAS hub. Whilst top universities prefer to interview face to face, online interviews may also be available, using Zoom or Teams.
How should I prepare for interview?
- The key thing to remember is that universities want to see the real “you”, so be natural.
- Do consider the sort of information about your achievements and interests that you want the university to know about, but do not over embellish. So, make sure that you are familiar with the content of your personal statement – they will refer to this.
- And do read up on the requirements and content of the specific course that you are being interviewed for. The university will expect you to be familiar with this, so prepare some great questions to ask them at the end of the interview (e.g. what sort of teaching styles are used to deliver the course? Do lecturers have particular specialisms? What are employability rates for graduates over the past 3-5 years? What were their career destinations / what higher courses did they progress to?).
- Plan what you will wear – smart professional clothes are advisable. If you are attending an audition, you may need to bring suitable attire and footwear to change into.
- Consider your posture, body language and expression.
- For Face-to-face interviews, in order to arrive early and refreshed, plan your travel arrangements and be clear on key locations and timings.
- If your interview is virtual, ensure that you are in a location with good Wi-Fi connectivity. You should also consider your background and mitigate for any disturbances.
- International students will need to consider differing time zones.
- If you are required to present a portfolio, remember to bring it with you. Virtual interviewees may have been previously asked to upload their portfolio or a recording of their performance.
- If you are a musical applicant, do remember to bring your instrument of choice.
- Pens, pencils, and a notebook are always useful to have to hand.
What will the university ask at Interview?
Universities want to find out as much as they can about you in a very short space of time. To achieve this, tutors will select from a list of pre-prepared questions – this allows direct comparison to other candidates.
Obvious questions are:
- Why do you wish to study your chosen subject at this specific university?
- How have your A Levels / BTEC / IB / or other results prepared you for this course?
- Have you undertaken personal research beyond the curriculum (Extended project Qualification or Super Curricular)?
- What is your current career pathway and how will our degree help you to achieve this?
- What are your interests and achievements (inside and outside of school)?
- Why should we offer you a place on this course?
Specialist subjects will pose questions directly related to that field and for vocational subjects, candidates must demonstrate a real “calling” for that course /profession.
So, think about these questions and prepare succinct answers which can be adapted.
How can Education Advisers help you?
Our specialist team of subject experts and recent graduates are well placed to support you with the journey ahead. Allow them to prepare you for the challenge of accessing top university courses with interview advice and guidance. We can run mock interviews and provide constructive feedback to help you be the very best that you can be.
Please contact Steven, our Senior Educational Consultant, at email@example.com / +44(0)1622 813870 to discuss how Education Advisers Ltd can support your pathway to university.