How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” in a College Interview

To better understand your qualities and how you might fit into the institution's community, college admissions offices frequently ask you to tell them about yourself. 

Your reaction aids their understanding of you and your leisure activities. This is typically the opening question a college admissions office will ask you as you move from casual conversation to the actual interview. 

The tone you set with your response may influence how the rest of your interview unfolds.

Put yourself in the interviewer's position before responding to the "tell me about yourself" question in a college interview. 

You can concentrate on the purpose of the question and come up with a logical response if you know why an interviewer is asking it. Because it aligns with the primary goal of the college interview—getting to know you—interviewers ask this question. 

An interviewer is interested in learning about you and what you could offer the student body. An interviewer can learn something about you that they would not have otherwise known if they let you talk.

The interview's main topic can be moved from casual talk to the "tell me about yourself" query. An interviewer prefers to establish the foundation before moving into challenging subjects. 

You might feel more at ease, and the interview may flow more naturally if you start with a conversational, open-ended question. 

Finally, an interviewer could use information from your response to shape the following conversation. 

Keep in mind that a successful college interview should resemble a fruitful discussion. Something you bring up in your answer may be an excellent segue into the next subject or give the interviewer a suggestion for the next topic.

Steps to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” in a College Interview

To prepare a response to this typical interview query, follow these steps:

Research the College or University

Research the college or university you are interviewing with before preparing your response to the "tell me about yourself" question. Find out if the school and your personality and hobbies are a good fit. Searching for the clubs they provide, such as a study abroad program, is one method to achieve this.

Begin with where you grew up

Consider introducing your response by describing your hometown and origins. You can then give a brief overview of your background. Explain how your prior experiences lead to your current interests to return to the present tense. For instance, you might have discovered your passion for marine biology when living near the ocean as a youngster since you enjoy fish and excel in science.

Reflect on your interests

Make an effort to connect your goods to your principal and college background. Inform the college admissions committee about your interests. This can include pastimes or activities you engage in outside of class. For example, tell them about how you bake pies for a local charity to earn money if you're studying culinary arts.

Share your aspirations for the future

In your response to the college admissions office, you can describe your intended major or study area. Tell them why you want to attend their college; if you know, they have one of the top medical school programs, mention it.

Pick a few personality traits and abilities

Share your top three personality qualities or skills that set you apart from other applicants to assist colleges in obtaining a better understanding of who you are. Think about your unique attributes when coming up with ideas. Perhaps you help your family with their alpaca farm or have played the trombone since you were ten. Try to relate it to the field of study you want to pursue. A person who wants to pursue computer science could emphasize their problem-solving skills and attention to detail.

Tips to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” in a College Interview

  • Keep it brief: When preparing your response to the question, "Tell me about yourself," avoid telling your entire life narrative and instead choose the essential details to help keep your answer brief.
  • Describe yourself in more detail than your resume allows: Think about revealing details that aren't on your CV, including extracurricular activities or hobbies.
  • Be ready for variations in language. The "Tell me about yourself" inquiry might be rephrased by the college admissions office to "Why do you wish to apply to our college?" Alternatively, "What is your best achievement?" Similar answers can be provided in response to these inquiries.
  • A friend of yours could describe you. Consider asking your friends or family members what qualities they would use to characterize you when developing your top qualities.
  • Practice repeatedly. To improve your response and feel more prepared for the interview, practice your interview responses several times, just like you did when you reviewed your submission essay several times.

“Tell Me About Yourself” Examples

Example 1

"I'm from Chicago, and I've been here all my life. I'm excited to start school in a new city because it will provide me with additional travel opportunities. I recently decided to attend college to become a quantum physicist since I enjoy my physics classes and am interested in the world's workings. I'm interested in attending Stratford University because my father attended there. I'm eager to learn more about your curriculum in quantum physics.

I'm currently active in my church's youth group. I accompanied them on a journey to the Dominican Republic last summer, where we assisted in constructing wells for rural communities. I watch children and occasionally walk dogs for my neighbors on the weekends. I'm excited to continue learning in a subject that fascinates me as my academic year comes to an end.

Example 2

My family and I frequently traveled to Philadelphia, where we frequented the history museum and the Liberty Bell. I was raised in a little town two hours outside of Philadelphia, but I've always wanted to live in a big metropolis. I want to become a history professor to spread my love of history to others. I would make a good history teacher because I am a strong public speaker.

I'm drawn to Chance University because it has a fantastic tutoring program that would let me gain experience instructing others while I'm in college. I teach middle school students at my local community center while studying historical events. In addition, I play goaltender for the field hockey team at my school, where I helped my team to a perfect season. The opportunity to experience city life and historical visit sites excite me.

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