Prep talk

Winifred Tan gets insider tips on how to tackle that admissions interview

Tip 1: Be yourself
Find out more about the course or programme you're applying for, either by reading up online or talking to your seniors, suggests NTU scholar Sharmaine Wong. And think about what you hope to achieve at university.

"The aim of the admissions interview is to determine whether you're qualified and ready to pursue the programme. It is therefore important that you be yourself, and not someone who you think will fit in," advises Prof Tan Ooi Kiang, Director of NTU's admissions office.

Tip 2: Be appropriately dressed
On the day of the interview, show up punctually looking smartly dressed, unless you want to give the impression that the interview is just a means to an end for you to land a spot in university.

"I once met an applicant who turned up in his soccer jersey so that he could rush for a soccer game after his interview," says Prof Tan, citing a negative example.

Tip 3: Speak confidently about your achievements
During the interview, answer questions succinctly and speak confidently. This is where it pays to know your "selling points".

But steer clear of reciting answers, cautions accountancy and business undergraduate Gabriel Chee. "Preparing for common interview questions is not about memorising a set of 'standard' answers. It's a way of spurring yourself to think about your motivations and reflect on what you want out of your university education."

"I was quizzed on why I wanted to study aerospace engineering and whether I held leadership positions in school," recalls CN Yang Scholar Chen Ningjia. "Some of my friends were asked to solve science questions."

Interview questions typically cover three aspects: your personality, technical knowledge and creativity and problem-solving skills.

Tip 4: Ask questions
As Sharmaine puts it, a good interview is "both interrogative and informative".

Interviewers will often take the time to guide you through the programme's expectations and address your queries, so use these opportunities well.

Explains Prof Tan: "Here's your chance to discuss your goals with your future mentors in a friendly setting."
Seniors say...