College Interview vs. Job Interview

December 07, 2016

If you’re like most people, the thought of going in for an interview probably makes you nervous. After all, you’ll be spending anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour or more being closely examined by one or more interviewers. Of course, interviews are also an opportunity to make a great impression and can make you stand out from the rest of the field.

If you’re getting ready to go in for an interview as part of the college application process, there are some distinct similarities and differences with job interviews that are worth studying and understanding. Unlike the somewhat generic essay prompts you’re forced to use when writing college application essays, an interview allows you to be your fluid and dynamic self.

Similarities Between Job Interviews and College Interviews

There are a number of similarities between a job interview and a college interview. Here are a couple:

  1. Perhaps the most important similarity between a job interview and a college interview is the importance of properly preparing for the interview ahead of time. You should be prepared for common types of questions that you might be asked based on the college or company you are trying to become a part of.

  2. Another similarity is that there is a significant advantage to researching the company or college ahead of time, so you can make meaningful insights and ask nuanced questions to the interviewer. Showing that you have a legitimate interest will make you stand out.

  3. Finally, it’s important to follow up with the interviewer the next day in order to thank them for the opportunity. Often, interviewers see a dozen people a day or more, so it helps to stand out in this way.

Differences Between Job Interviews and College Interviews 

Despite those similarities, there are also differences worth noting:

  1. When interviewing for a college, the interviewer will be looking for things like GPA, extracurriculars, volunteer hours and other education-related elements. On the other hand, job interviews are more focused on your experience. Put another way, having a degree is important for many job interviews, but your GPA won’t matter as much as the other relevant experience you have.

  2. Another difference is who you’ll be interviewing with. In a college interview, you’ll probably never see the admissions officer that administers it once you’ve been accepted to the school. On the other hand, the person you interview with at a job could very well be your boss, so it’s even more important to make a great first impression.

  3. Finally, it is imperative that you keep your social media pages clean when going in for a job interview. With a college interview, chances are they won’t be doing that level of research for every applicant—after all, they are going to be accepting hundreds, if not thousands, of students alongside you. For a job, however, they are probably only hiring for one or a few positions, which means they’ll have the resources, and interest, to do some background checks on you.

While there are significant similarities and differences between both college interviews and job interviews, both types will help prepare you for the other. Even if a particular interview goes poorly, the experience will be a learning opportunity for the next one. Ultimately, being prepared will help you land you in your dream college or, eventually, your dream job. Just make sure to keep working at it!

About The Author

AdmitSee Staff
AdmitSee Staff

​We remember our frustration with applying to college and the lack of information surrounding it. So we created AdmitSee to bring much-needed transparency to the application process! Read more about the team here.




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FeartheLee
Stanford ‘19


Accepted to Stanford, Williams, Brown, Pomona, Duke, Bard, Kenyon

Stanford 2019, creative writing and education. Full essays! "Lopsided," less-than-stellar numbers.
NU2018
Northwestern ‘18


Accepted to Northwestern, Emory, WashU, UMich

Hey everyone, I'm a current Northwestern student (Class of 2018, although I may finish up a little early) and I absolutely love it! Admissions really is a tough time, so try to keep your head up and don't be afraid to take chances.
beccapenn38
UPenn ‘21


Accepted to UPenn, Tulane, Elon , UNC

Student in the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business dual enrolled in the School of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School.
uhoh29
JHU ‘19


Accepted to JHU, Cornell, Northeastern, Fordham, UMD, Wisconsin, Temple

Junior Woodrow Wilson Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins majoring in English and Writing Seminars

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