So let’s get one thing straight - interviewers are not expecting to see ‘the finished article’. You are possibly as young as 17 at the time of your interview. But even if you are a mature student with a significant work history the reason why you are applying to do your university course is because there is a lot to learn, and you want to learn it.
In earlier blog posts I have spoken about the need to do your research and to prepare sufficiently for your interview. That is a must, for sure. But there are going to be gaps in your knowledge, and maybe you won’t yet be experienced enough to give a polished interview performance. In my opinion, therefore, one of the most effective things you can do to convince the interviewers that you still make a strong candidate is to show enthusiasm.
It’s a great thing, enthusiasm. It should be simple enough to display if you have done your research properly and are applying to a course that you really want to do. And, from an interviewers point of view, keenness can so easily give the impression that you will make a motivated student, who will be interesting to teach and who will complete the course with good results. At the end of the day, that is what they are looking for.
The problem lies in the fact that some people naturally have a more enthusiastic disposition than others. Some people are going to have to work harder in order to learn to project enthusiasm. Simple things you can do include smiling, head nodding, and leaning slightly forward in your chair, towards the interviewers. Also, being aware of the tone of your voice, and making sure it is not too flat. But a lot of it is about having the right mind-set. Before your interview, and as part of your preparation, it may be a good idea to write down a list of all things that you are looking forward to about the course and university in general so that you approach your meeting with a naturally positive outlook. Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewers as the end of your interview session as evidence that this is something you have put a lot of thought and effort into. But, perhaps most importantly, don’t be afraid to appear enthusiastic. Sometimes students worry that an enthusiastic approach at interview may make them look naïve or even, a little bit ridiculous. But, unless you take it as far as jumping from your seat and punching the air, chances are you won’t.
Enthusiasm is a great quality to have. Embrace it!
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