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Four Ways Your Parents Can Help You Prepare for Your College Interviews

Four Ways Your Parents Can Help You Prepare for Your College Interviews

  • Student Tips
Joanna HughesApr 5, 2017

The college application process can be overwhelming. After all, filling out seemingly endless forms, asking for recommendations, taking the SAT, and writing a personal essay -- all while trying to keep your GPA up -- is no easy task. For some college applicants, however, one part of the process is particularly stressful. The interview. From fears about being hit with a question you can’t answer to concerns about crossing the line between confident and cocky, interviews can be tricky territory, making preparing for them a daunting task.

The good news? There’s an untapped resource (or two) standing right in front of you. Here’s a hint: You know them as “Mom” and “Dad.” Here’s a closer look at how the partnership of your parents can help you prepare for your college interviews.

Multiracial father posed with teenage son in a handshake.

1. They’re on your side.

You may not like everything your parents do. However, most college kids can agree on at least one thing: Their parents have their backs. When you ask your parents for help getting ready for your interview, you can do so with the confidence that they’ll give it their all. While friends and classmates may be distracted by their own schoolwork and applications, there’s nothing more important to your parents than, well, you. In other words, they’ll give 100 percent effort all of the time thereby increasing your chances of being adequately prepared. (Even better? They love you unconditionally so while you can rely on them to give you feedback, you can also expect them to be more constructive than critical.)

Mother Helping Teenage Daughter With Homework

2. They’ve been there.

More likely than that, your parents have experience interviews of their own -- whether for school or work. Additionally, they may also have experience on the other side of the table as the interviewer rather than the interviewee. This means they’ll be able to offer you unique insights into the interview process about what works and what doesn’t. They may also be able to give you actionable advice on everything from your outfit to your demeanor.

Father And Teenage Son Looking At Laptop Together

3. They’re a great source of information.

Your parents probably know you better than anyone. So if you’re having trouble crafting an answer to a practice question, they may be able to point you in the direction of a suitable answer. Because your parents know your likes, dislikes, goals and dreams, they’re also useful for helping you compile several interview questions of your own. (Remember, schools like when you ask questions as it shows interest and initiative.)

Plus, your parents are not only likely to have concerns of their own, but these may be of a different, more practical nature than the questions you come up with on your own. Getting a sense of what these are can help identify additional questions worthy of addressing.

One caveat on this note? While your parents’ questions may be appropriate for your interview, your parents are not. College interviews are intended as one-on-one conversations between students and interviewers. Beyond helping you prepare, your parents’ involvement should be minimal when the big day rolls around.

As one admissions officer told USA Today, “I am always impressed with students who come in on their own fully confident and prepared. Showing an admission representative that you are mature and can handle things without the help of mom and dad helps prove to them that you are prepared to be in a collegiate setting.”

Mother having a talk with her daughter.

4. They make great mock interviewers.

If you’ve never interviewed for something before, you’re probably experiencing some serious jitters about the prospect. Enlisting your parents to conduct a mock interview is a great way to wade into the pool as opposed to cannonballing into a real interview. Mock interviews should closely simulate the real interview process -- right down to the customary meet-and-greet handshake. You may feel silly, but wouldn’t you rather feel that way in a room with your parents as opposed to with stranger who potentially holds your college fate in his/her hands?

While it can sometimes feel like the entire point of your parents’ existence is to embarrass you, the truth is that they’re not so bad most of the time. In fact, they may have even devoted their lives to making sure you have the best life possible. Viewed through this lens, who better to enlist to help you in your time of need than your biggest cheerleaders, AKA your parents?

Joanna Hughes

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.