Is there one UK university you would love to study at? Or have you found the perfect course for you? Then getting the grades might not be enough. They may want you to attend an interview or submit your work to see if you are the right kind of student!

Don’t worry though, with a bit of preparation you can ace the interview and get into your dream university in the UK.

Why do some universities ask students to attend an interview?

There can be lots of reasons why a university will ask you to attend an interview, including wanting to assess how good your spoken English is; how committed you are to studying your chosen course and typically prestigious universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge, use interviews to select the very best students.

What if I cannot come in person to the interview

In this digital age more and more universities are conducting interviews online via digital conferencing services like Zoom and Skype. If you have been invited to an interview and cannot attend in person do ask if this option is available.

Things to do before the interview

It is important to prepare for an interview, as you will be competing against many other strong candidates.

Most universities will ask the same type of questions like: ‘why do you want to study the subject’ and ‘why do you want to attend this university’.

Review your personal statement because they are likely to ask you to expand on what you have said about yourself, your achievements, and your ambitions.

This is also an opportunity for you to ask questions. Make sure you’re prepared and have thought about these beforehand. Asking smart and well thought out questions shows the university you are interested in the course.

To best prepare these questions, look through the course guide and the university website. Also make sure you have read up on  latest developments in your field, you won’t be tested but it shows you are truly interested in the topic.

If you are asked to bring a portfolio of work, or send it before the interview, it is important you follow the guidelines when doing so. Creative arts courses will normally ask for examples of your work and will focus their interview questions on it.

Make sure your portfolio is well presented and marked clearly, and you can articulate your influences and how you went about creating the work.

One of the most important ways to prepare for a university interview is to sleep well. Getting a good night sleep will help you excel in the interview.

What to do on the day of the interview?

It is important to arrive on campus at least 30 minutes before the interview starts. Campuses can be big and are easy to get lost on. Arriving early will help you familiarise yourself with the place, no one wants to arrive late to an interview all stressed and flustered.

Make sure you have the right body language, whether the interview is in person or online. Don’t slouch in the chair, sit up straight and look alert. Never yawn or fold your arms, this will make you look bored. Always try to make eye contact and look alert when the interviewer is talking. Interviewers will learn as much about you through your body language, as through your words.

Remember not to be too overprepared on the day, and to act relaxed. They really want to get to know you and what you can personally offer their course. They may also ask unexpected and apparently random questions, and this is to see how well you act under pressure.

As well as the one-to-one interview you might be put into a small group with other hopeful students (your competitors) wanting to get onto the course. You might be given a task or be expected to contribute to a discussion. Make sure you perform well here and that you participate. Not saying anything will reflect badly on you.

How to dress for your interview

It is important to look presentable, but that does not mean wearing a suit if that is not something you would normally wear.

Universities will generally expect students to dress office smart or casual, even if you have an interview on Skype and Zoom, you will be expected to look presentable.

Feeling yourself, feeling comfortable is of paramount importance because it will help you perform better.

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