The UK’s higher education is one of the best in the world and this is only further strengthened by the fact that their universities are pretty competitive in terms of admissions. Unlike universities in other countries, your admission is based on not just meeting their eligibility requirement, but also by cracking their admission interview conducted by the university officials.
Yes, that’s right! Upon getting your application selected, the university officials will send you a conditional offer letter. However, your complete acceptance into a UK university will be dependent on a mandatory admission interview that will be conducted over Skype. If you clear the interview, your complete acceptance into the university will be confirmed through a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) letter. This is required to apply for your UK study visa.
Now, with the mention of an interview, you must be feeling anxious. Fret not. Clearing your admission interview is not at all difficult if you are prepared for it and put out your confident self. In this article, you will learn everything about what you should expect from your UK university admission interview and I will also answer some of the most common questions you can expect in the interview. This applies to admission interviews conducted by few other universities around the world as well.
What to expect?
University admission interviews are conducted to decide between candidates who appear equally qualified on paper. While the duration and form of the interview differ from university to university, you can expect the same format. The interview is generally taken by the course tutor of your selected subject.
Normally, you will be asked standard questions to know you better and decide your capabilities, however, you can also expect a few tricky questions here and there to test your thinking as well. You can also expect questions related to your chosen field for them to understand your knowledge in it and how you may contribute to the university.
That being said, do remember that an interview is a two-way process. It also provides you an opportunity to know more about the university by asking the interviewer any specific questions you have about the university or the course you want to pursue.
Tips for your admission interview
Here are some of the common questions that are asked in a university admission interview and how you can answer them. Do remember that these questions do not have a right or wrong answer (at least most of the questions), or just one way of answering it. It is all about what the interviewer is looking for in your answer to know your intentions better and how you can possibly convince the interviewer.
Q1) Tell me about your self.
In spite of it not being a question, you will most likely be asked to talk about yourself to know you better. This is your chance to introduce yourself in a way that you stand out from the remaining applicants. This question is open-ended and can also be asked in a tricky way at times, like asking you ‘how would your friends describe you?’
Try to avoid cliches like how hardworking you are or other common sentences. Instead, talk about how passionate you are about the chosen field and talk about the projects (if any) you have done pertaining to it. You can also talk about your general hobbies, interests, or your personality traits, however, keep it brief and to the point.
Q2) What are your achievements or what achievement are you most proud of?
Talk about your most recent achievements like during your undergraduate college days. Your achievement can be both academic or non-academic, however, make sure that you connect your answer to your academic goals by talking about how it has affected you.
Don’t worry if you do not have big achievements. Big or small, what matters is how you have put an effort to achieve something and how great you feel about it.
Q3) Why did you choose this course/program?
Clearly, you would want to answer this question by talking about how much you enjoy that particular subject or how passionate you are about it. But, don’t just say it, provide reasons to back your statements as well. You can say how choosing this particular course will open paths to your dream career. Let the interviewer understand your excitement towards this field by talking about what inspired you to pursue a path in this field.
Do not provide shallow answers like talking about how much money you can make by studying it or how many job opportunities you might find in this field. This will make the interviewer doubt your academic goals as it shows that you are not academically inclined.
This question might also have a follow-up question to understand how deeply you know about the course you have opted for. You can go through the university website to know more about the course. Follow-up questions are:
Q4) Is this course available in India?
This can also be a follow-up question to the above question. You can answer this by saying either yes or no, depending on its availability in India. If your answer is yes, you need to back it up by explaining why you have chosen this course to study in the UK. You can say how generalized the courses are in India and that you are also looking for more practical knowledge in this field as opposed to just theory.
Q5) Why this university?
The interviewer not only assesses your passion for the chosen subject but also how committed you will be to their university. This question also provides you an opportunity to showcase your knowledge about their university.
In order to be able to answer this question, you need to know about the university and what it is popular for or if it is renowned for your chosen field of study. You can also talk about how the university has the best facilities for your chosen subject. Whatever you answer, it should project your interest in choosing that university. To know all this information, you need to do a lot of research about the university and must go through the university website.
Like I said above, the interviewer asks this question to understand how interested you are in their university and to decipher your intentions of joining them if given a chance.
Q6) What can you contribute to our university?
One of the key factors for a university to choose a particular student is to know what that student can offer positively to the university. This is the time for you to sell yourself by talking about your personality traits, strengths, and how the university will benefit from it. That does not mean, you should aggrandize yourself too much. Answer modestly and back each statement with examples.
Some of the things you can mention are your skills like being a good leader, organizing events, presentation skills, creativity, or even competitiveness.
Q7) What are your weaknesses?
While you need to answer this question as honestly as you can, you need to make sure that you project your negatives in a positive way. For example, you can say ‘I am too much of a perfectionist, that I sometimes spend agonizing hours to get things right’ or ‘I spend too much time studying that I hardly find time for other curricular activities.’
The whole point of this question is for the university to know if you have the zeal to succeed despite your shortcomings. Also, do not try to sound arrogant by saying that you do not have any weaknesses as it is not believable.
Q8) Why should we choose you or offer you admission?
The advent of this question most likely means that the interview is being wrapped up. So, now would be the time to recap all that you have already mentioned briefly. You can start with your strengths, move on to your professional goals, and end with how you can contribute to the university. However, refrain from trash talking or putting other applicants down by saying that you are better than them as it would make you seem arrogant and is unlikely to convince your interviewer.
While the above are the most commonly asked questions during a university admission interview, the interviewer might at times throw you a curveball to catch you off guard by asking a question you might not have prepared for. At times like that, all you can do is to answer the question honestly and professionally.
In addition to the above questions, you may also be asked some general questions related to :
UK’s geography and other generic questions: You need to know the basic geography of the UK like its popular cities and its capital, currency, and other information.
Reason to choose the UK over your home country or other study abroad destinations: You can answer this by talking about the educational standard differences between India and the UK or the unavailability of course options. You also talk about the advantages of studying in UK like its shorter course duration and world-renowned education system.
If you know anybody in the UK: You can answer the question frankly by saying yes or no. If it is yes, you need to be aware of all the details of that person and their whereabouts (address).
If you have applied to any other universities in the UK for the same program: The university officials expect any good student to be aware of other universities that provide the same program before finalizing one university. They need to understand that you have done your part of the research. In this case, you should also give reasons as to why you found this university better, like its facilities or tuition fees, etc.
Your funding options: The university will want to know how you will be making the payment. You can mention your sources like if your parents are sponsoring you or if you have applied for a loan or other valid sources with evidence. The financial standing should cover both your tuition fees and living expenses for your survival in the UK during your study time. Refrain from talking about your intentions of working part-time during study to cover your living costs as this would give the interviewer a wrong picture and might lead to your rejection.
Your plans to stay back in the UK after graduating: You can say that you would stay back if you find a relevant job wherein you can acquire quality work experience in the field of your study, within the UK’s 2-year Post Study Work Right duration. Refrain from talking about Permanent Residency (PR) or settling down in the UK for good.
Well, this pretty much covers most of the possible questions you can expect from your UK university admission interview.
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