hardest college interview questions

After you apply to your universities of choice, the admissions officers for those schools may ask you a series of unusual questions during the interview process. While these questions may appear strange, they help the college learn more about your personality, critical thinking skills and determination. Learning to answer these questions with confidence and sincerity can help you better prepare for your upcoming interview. In this article, we discuss why universities ask weird college interview questions and review steps on how to answer them, including a list of 16 sample questions and answers you can use as inspiration.

10 of the Toughest College Interview Questions to Prepare For
  1. Tell Me About Yourself. …
  2. Where Do You See Yourself in 10 Years? …
  3. Why Did You Choose Your Major? …
  4. What Can You Offer to Our Campus Community? …
  5. How Do You Define Success? …
  6. Describe Your Greatest Strengths. …
  7. What Are Your Weaknesses? …
  8. What Is Your Favorite Book?

10 of the Toughest College Interview Questions to Prepare For


hardest college interview questions

General introduction Interview Questions: What is this student like? Personal Qualities: evident initiative, communication skills, comfort with ideas.

  • Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • What experiences have you had with people who are different from you?
  • What would you like the Admissions office to know that might not appear in your application?
  • Academic and Personal Interests Interview Questions: What does this student like?

  • What do you most like learning about?
  • How do you learn best?
  • What is your favorite part of your school experience?
  • What topics or assignments have you found particularly intriguing?
  • Is there anything that you would change about your high school experience?
  • How do you spend your time when youre not in school?
  • Whats the biggest challenge youve overcome?
  • Penn’s resources: what they know, what theyve heard, what theyll love. What would this student be like at Penn?

  • Why Penn? How did you first hear about Penn?
  • What draws you to the undergraduate school/program to which you’ve applied?
  • What on-campus opportunities are you most excited about?
  • Share your Penn experience:

  • What questions do you have?
  • What question(s) didn’t I ask that you’d like me to answer?
  • Here are some additional interview questions that we believe can facilitate a great conversation between yourself and the applicant:

  • What is interesting to you about the University of Pennsylvania? What led you to apply?
  • What is your favorite subject, and why?
  • Who is your favorite teacher, and why?
  • What is your favorite book? Who is your favorite fictional character from a book? Why?
  • What is your favorite activity outside the classroom? It could be an extracurricular, a job, or any other ways you spend your non-school time.
  • What is your favorite memory?
  • What is your most vivid memory or experience that you have learned from?
  • If you had no internet and no phone for an afternoon, what would you do?
  • If you had 4 hours to do anything you wanted and did not have to account for it, what would you do, and why?
  • What is your favorite place to go to? What has been your favorite place—city, area, landmark, building, or another place of your choice—to visit? Why?
  • If you could go to dinner with any historical figure, who would that be, and why?
  • How do you respond to challenges? Is there a time that you didn’t get what you wanted, but learned a good lesson or came back stronger?
  • What’s something recently that you tried for the first time, and why? What did you learn?
  • Here are some actual video samples from our friends at Penn.

    Why are you interested in this school?

    While this question isn’t a surprise (in fact, you should expect to answer this question or a version of it in every interview you have!), it is the most important question you will have to answer, and for that reason, it’s difficult in its own right.

    What to say: While you can start by talking about broad factors that influence your decision (location, academic rigor, school community, and so on), be sure that your answer as specifically as possible. You should discuss several school characteristics that are exciting to you—and the more unique they are to the college, the better. The best way to come up with these detailed facts is to research a college ahead of time. You want to prove to the interviewer that you’ve really taken the time to think about what this school offers that other colleges do not.

    For example, if you are planning on majoring in biology, and this school as some Nobel Prize–winning professors in the biology department, talking about how it would be exciting to learn under them is a great piece of information to include in your answer. If the school has a specific extracurricular activity, academic requirement, or housing option that is really exciting to you and rare at other colleges, include this in your answer as well.

    What other schools are you applying to?

    Whether your interviewer is this direct or she asks a more general question like, “How are the schools you are applying to similar and different?” your interviewer is likely trying to gauge how interested you are in her school and how likely it is that you will accept a spot there.

    What to say: While college interviewers are often instructed not to ask this question—or not to let the answer affect the assessment of the student—the safest option is to answer in a more general way. Talk about what the schools you are applying to have in common and why this specific school stands out on that list.

    Here is an example of such an answer: “I’ve looked at a few mid-sized schools that have strong economics programs, extensive study abroad opportunities, and chances to get involved with intramural sports. I know I want to go somewhere that places a strong emphasis on academics and gives me lots of opportunities to explore my interest in business development inside and outside the classroom. One of the things that really stood out to me about XYZ College is your program that allows econ majors to spend a summer interning in China. It would be such a privilege to apply what I could learn in your economics classes as a participant in that program.”


    What is the hardest interview question answer?

    The most difficult interview questions (and answers)
    • What is your greatest weakness? Strengths-and-weaknesses interview questions are a given. …
    • Why should we hire you? …
    • What’s something that you didn’t like about your last job? …
    • Why do you want this job? …
    • How do you deal with conflict with a co-worker?

    What are the top 5 questions to ask an interviewer in college?

    Examples of Weird Interview Questions
    • How many basketballs can fit on a bus?
    • What two things, aside from food and water, would you want on a deserted island?
    • How many pizzas are ordered every night in the United States?
    • What would you do if you won the lottery?
    • Blue or green?

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