5 Tips for Successful University Interviews Abroad: Essential Preparation for Studying Overseas

If you are planning on studying abroad at a university, it is important to prepare for the interview process to increase your chances of success. Here are five tips to help you prepare for your university interview:

  1. Research the university and program you’re applying to thoroughly to show your knowledge and passion during the interview. Base on my experience, I first submitted a general application stating my interest with the department and school. This included the following items below:

Some schools will respond within 3 months depending on when you applied or when the deadline is to apply for that particular school. Once you receive your interview schedule, you’ll receive a guide of how the interview will go. It’s either a group or an individual interview or both. Again, this will depend on each university.

2. Practice common interview questions and responses beforehand to feel more confident during the interview.

The 3 different interviews I had consisted both a Group Interview Test and an Individual Test. Preparing for the group interview test was moderately easy. I made sure a few days before the interview that I was using a computer that worked. I also checked all of its functionalities (including the built-in camera) and did a test run.

3. Consider the time difference and plan accordingly to make sure you’re well-rested and awake for the interview.

Base on my experience, one of the school’s I applied to conducted a group interview via Skype (plus an individual test). They scheduled a time based on an agreement with the entire group involved in that interview. My schedule for that group interview was at 3 am (pacific time zone) and it lasted for an hour. I admit, it was rough waking up at 3 am and I was half asleep while at the same time trying to put my best foot forward. I did my best. The individual test, on the other hand, had more flexibility and I was able to set it at a different time than the rest of the group.

4. Make sure your technology is working properly and you have a good internet connection to avoid any technical issues during the interview.

I downloaded Skype which was the program I used for the interview and tried a quick video chat with a friend to make sure that I had a clear background, that I picked a quiet room without any distractions and more importantly that all of the technical details were working properly.

During the Skype group interview. There were 5 of us on the video call with 2 instructors who organized the entire schedule. They informed us ahead of time via email that they would provide a creative brief for the entire group and as a group we would work together in solving the problem within a certain time frame (usually an hour). Unfortunately, I can no longer remember what the brief consisted of but, as a group, we all worked well together. Also, one thing to note which wasn’t revealed until later on. The instructors were able to see everything during our group meeting because they were set on visible so we couldn’t see them but, they could see us. Make sure you stay on topic and treat any group interview as a real interview. It’s definitely not the time to mess around.

At the end of the interview, what I think they were looking for was definitely how each individual worked within a group setting. Base on the fact that it was a group interview, I’m sure they wanted to see if we were all capable of working as a team, know how to collaborate or have the ability to provide ideas and feedbacks. As far as I know, all of us were accepted at this school.

The Individual Test

Unfortunately, I can no longer remember the exact exam details. However, I believe it was relating to previous work experience, personal goals and what you hope to achieve during your course work.

5. Dress appropriately and present yourself professionally, even if it’s just a Skype interview.

Preparing for my interviews also included making sure that my shirt was ironed, clean and appropriate for the call.

By following these tips, I hope this help your confidence and make a positive impression during your university interview abroad. Goodluck!

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