How to make a good first impression at your university interview

Submitted by grace.mccabe on Mon, 02/13/2023 - 16:08

After you have submitted your application, you might be invited to an interview with someone from the university to complete the application process. This will be the first time that your university will be meeting you face to face, so you should strive to make a good first impression. Here are some things you can do to make that happen.

Arrive on time

Arriving late can start the whole day off wrong. Not only does it give the university representative the impression that you are unorganised, but it can also leave you feeling stressed and ill-prepared. Spend some time before the interview working out how you will get to the site and how long it will take.

If on the day of the interview, you find that you are running late, contact the person who has been arranging your interview and let them know. Tell them why you have been delayed and explain that you’ll be there as soon as you can. Give a realistic time frame for your late arrival, too. Once you arrive, apologise, and then you can start the meeting off on the right foot.

Bring only the essentials

A few weeks before your interview, check what you need to bring to the interview. Then gather those items and organise things in advance so you are certain that you have everything you require.

Remember to bring two copies of your personal statement or college essay, a notebook and pen to record any important notes, some pre-prepared questions that you want to ask, and directions to and contact details for the interview location. You might not need all these things, but having them will show that you are organised and ready. Keep them in a folder or within easy grasp, so you don’t need to root around or, worse, upend your bag to retrieve them.

Arriving with exactly what you need gives a great impression of someone who knows what they are doing and is confident about the meeting. Feeling efficient will boost your confidence and underline that solid first impression.

Be polite to everyone you meet

As soon as you get to the campus, be polite to everyone you meet, not just your interviewer. This is important to remember whenever you are meeting someone for the first time, including a first date.

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Give the interview your full attention

People who feel nervous about meeting someone new often try to distract themselves by turning to their phones. But if your attention is on your phone when your interviewer comes to greet you, it can make you seem unprepared, anxious or, worse, bored.

Put away your phone and use this time to look over your résumé and review your questions. When the interviewer arrives, you will look prepared, confident and ready for the meeting.

Keep your phone on silent and tucked away so that you are ready to start straight away, and you won’t be distracted by messages. In the room, sit up straight and keep your gaze in the direction of the interviewer. You don’t have to maintain constant eye contact, which can be uncomfortable, but make it clear that you are listening to them and taking in everything they say.

Ensure that you ask questions back

Like a first date, you want to find a connection to help conversation flow so that your interview is more than a simple Q&A session. Ask questions of your interviewer and seek connections with them, such as what they love about the university or books you have read.

It’s always a good idea to prepare a good list of questions beforehand to show that you are interested and engaged with the interview.

Dress to impress

What you wear shouldn’t sway the final decision on your winning a place; however, it does help to make a good first impression. You don’t have to go as far as a full suit or business attire, but dressing neatly and appropriately shows that you are prepared and professional.

These tips are all great for a first date on Valentine’s Day, but also brilliant for your university interviews. It might even be the key to giving an excellent interview and earning your place at your dream university.


Just like on a first date, or a Valentine’s Day date, you should make a good first impression during your university interview to start you off in a strong position. Here are our tops tips to make a great first impression

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