At this time of year, we start sending out invitations to interviews to applicants for courses where an interview is required. Below, our Student Recruitment Officer, Ysabelle-Graham-Smith offers some advice to help candidates overcome their interview nerves. You can find other blogs at https://www.qmu.ac.uk/campus-life/blogs/

Congratulations on being invited to interview!

If you feel a bit nervous about what to do or what to expect, that’s perfectly normal. Your interview is effectively an extension of your UCAS application. It’s a chance for admissions tutors to get to know more about you, and a chance for you to get to know the university.

Know where and when you’re going

It might sound obvious, but make sure you know how to get to Queen Margaret University, and how much time you need to get here. Leave yourself plenty of time so that you don’t feel rushed, and in case there’s some kind of unexpected delay. There’s no harm in being early. If you arrive early, you can use that extra time to prepare.

Check bus/train timetables, or plan your route and where to park if you’re driving.

Read the details in your invitation to interview – and make sure you’ve got the right date/time of your interview!

Check you’ve got everything you need

Read the details of your invitation to interview thoroughly, as it contains vital information about the day including the time, date, and location of your interview. Your invitation to interview will also contain details regarding any documents you may need to bring with you (e.g. passport).

Depending on the subject, you may be asked to bring a portfolio with you. The details will have been sent to you in your invitation to interview, so check what is required and give yourself plenty of time to put it together.

Try to feel (or at least look!) ready

Make sure you get enough sleep. If you can, try to have a good breakfast on the day, or lunch if your interview time is later in the afternoon. This will help you to relax and think more clearly.

As far as your appearance goes – the most important thing is to be comfortable. You don’t have to wear a suit or formal dress, for example, but try to look presentable. Some people might like to wear a blouse/shirt, or smart trousers/skirt, or perhaps a nice pair of jeans and jumper/cardigan.

If you think it would help, maybe you could ask a friend/family member/teacher/careers adviser to practice a pretend interview with you.

Be prepared

 An interview is an extension of your UCAS application, so make sure to have a look over your personal statement as there is a good chance you’ll be asked about some of it.

 Your interviewer will be interested in why you’ve applied for the course and will want to get to know you a bit. They’re not trying to trick you, or catch you out – but be honest! If you’re not sure about something, then it’s ok to say so.

 Make some notes about the subject area and what you find interesting about it. Check if there have been any exciting/controversial developments in the news recently.

 It’s ok not to have your whole life planned out, but think about what you might like to get out of the course, and from being at university, e.g., our student societies.

 If you have applied for a vocational course (e.g. nursing or physiotherapy), make sure to have a thorough understanding of the job or career that your will be doing upon graduation. Think about why you would be well suited for that job.

 Prepare some questions that you would like to ask your interviewer. These questions can be about the course or the university.

 Don’t be hard on yourself

 Be positive and proud of yourself. You have great potential to succeed.

 Make the most of your visit to the university

 Talk to student ambassadors, have a look around campus and have a look around the city. This will give you a chance to see if you can imagine yourself as a student here.

 Good luck!

 Quick tips

  1. Read your invitation to interview thoroughly. You need to know where you are going, what time your interview is, and what you need to bring with you.
  2. Read over your UCAS application, information on the course you have applied for and some general information about the university to prepare.
  3. Do some extra reading. Have there been any developments in your field? E.g. Any new research developments in
  4. Think about your future, do you know what you want to do with you degree? Do you have career plans?
  5. Dress formally but comfortably.
  6. Prepare questions to ask your interviewer.
  7. Use the interview as an opportunity to learn as much about the university as possible.
  8. Stay positive and calm.

Ysabelle Graham-Smith

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