The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T +44 (0)1227 764000
Preparing for an interview at Kent is not just about looking good on the day but taking the time to do some research. Find out more about where you are going, what you want to study and familiarise yourself with some of the common question you might be asked.
Research and preparation
Do some background reading on the course, academic school and University to show your interviewers that you are committed to living and studying here.
Don't learn your answers by heart. However, preparing the main points will help you focus on what you want to get across.
Think of points you may want to make in the interview – prepare specific things you want to say or a subject you want to discuss.
Read widely around your chosen subject area and keep up to date with the current developments and news by reading the national press and any subject-specific journals. Some people find it useful to print relevant articles and take them to interview to refresh their memory.
In addition to questions about your current studies (make sure you re-read your personal statement), here are some questions you might be asked about your choices:
- Why do you want to come here?
- Why did you chose this course?
You should also think about what you have to offer the University, eg:
- What you would contribute to its community
- Your achievements and experiences
- Your future plans
Try to anticipate any questions you may be asked on the work you have submitted and your personal statement.
If possible, arrange to have a mock interview with a teacher in your chosen subject (if offered at your school or college) or someone that you are not familiar with.
The best preparation is practice, so get used to:
- talking about your chosen subject
- providing evidence to back up your opinions
- responding to unexpected questions
If your friends have been to interviews already, ask them about what it was like; what questions were they asked, and what tips they would give you.
What to wear
Wear the best quality clothes and shoes you feel comfortable in. This is important because the more comfortable you are, the less you will be affected by nerves in the interview.
At Kent, we recommend smart-casual wear for interview. Other applicants will be wearing clothes with different levels of smartness ranging somewhere from smart-casual to full-on suit - so whatever you end up wearing there are likely to be people who are both smarter and less smart than you.
Keep in mind you will not be penalised for making an effort, but a ‘scruffy’ appearance may have a negative impact on the interviewer.
What to take
- Copy of your UCAS form
- Copies of all submitted work
- The main University telephone number in case you need to advise them that you are running late.
On the day
- Make sure you get a good night's sleep and don’t stay up all night worrying
- Plan to arrive early - you will be more relaxed in your interview if you have had time to familiarise yourself with your surroundings
- Contact the University if there is a problem - especially if you’re going to be late or unavailable due to circumstances beyond your control. You should be able to rearrange the interview.
Dealing with nerves
Try this breathing exercise to control your nerves:
Breath deeply, letting your stomach expand. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Repeat this exercise four times:
- Breathe in, two, three, four.
- Hold two, three, four.
- Breathe out two, three, four.
- Hold two, three, four.
Make a good impression
Making a good impression is crucial and there are ways which your body language can support your answers:
- Always smile when you are introduced - it is difficult not to return a smile which makes it a very effective way to establish a rapport with your interviewer.
- Try and make eye contact with the interviewer and avoid staring at the carpet for long periods. If you find looking them in the eye difficult, try to look at the ‘triangle’ between the eyes and end of the nose.
- It is fine to gesture with your hands when you are being interviewed, but if you’re not sure what to do with them, clasp them in your lap.
- Try to maintain ‘open’ body language with your arms and legs uncrossed.