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Interviews, a Key Component to the International Application Process

The university interview can be an integral component of the application process, especially for students with aspirations of obtaining acceptance to a top-ranked university. The oral interview has always been a part of the application system. For international students, the interview has not always been as important as good standardized scores or rigorous coursework and this reality has been due, primarily, to location and issues surrounding physically being present during a face-to-face interview. Most universities have valued interviews, but it has not always been practical for a student to be required to fly into a different country to conduct an interview.

In the last five years, the technology to create long distance virtual connections has improved to the point of making the interview a more practical part of the application process, especially for highly desired programs and universities. This year the Branksome Hall Asia counselors have noted a definitive increase in the number of interviews being scheduled with our Grade 12 applicants. We believe this is because the ease of working with Zoom, Skype and Google Meet has allowed universities to be able to do far more interviews. Additionally, as the world grapples with the “new normal” of the Covid era, interviewing has become easier and more accepted. And as the test-optional movement gains more worldwide acceptance among application systems, it would make sense that universities begin to utilize interviews as a key component to the international application process.

This brings us to the point of how to prepare students for the potential increase in application interviews. Interviews can be quite scary for high school students and are particularly intimidating for students conducting an interview in their second language. The emotional pressure to perform is immense and parents can do a great deal to help minimize the stress created. Additionally, the IB program has quite a few components that prepare students extrinsically and intrinsically for this kind of interviewing experience.

As this topic is actually quite expansive, we will be splitting this topic into a few different entries over the coming weeks and will be providing hints and tips for students and parents to ensure successful interviews in their application process.


The Branksome Hall Asia University Counselors