This page is intended to give students an idea of what to expect at a university interview and to advice them on how to successfully pass this process. It will do this by revealing the type of questions that interviewers are likely to ask and also by showing students how to respond them and what answers to give.

Interview sessions can typically last anywhere between 20 minutes to 1 hour. During this time applicants will be not only be assessed on the answers they give but will also be judged on their overall performance, personality and ability to unpick open ended questions.

Personal questions

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • Are you satisfied with what you have achieved academically so far?
  • What motivates you?
  • How do you feel about working as part of a team?
  • What are your career aspirations?

Questions about your abilities

  • How would previous tutors describe your work?
  • Describe what you would consider to be major achievements in your life?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Why do you feel you could be successful on this course?
  • Give an example of when you worked in a team?
  • Give an example of when you worked under pressure?

Questions about your hobbies and pastimes

  • What are your main interests?
  • How do you relax?

Questions about the university or course

  • Why do you want to study (the subject you have applied for)?
  • What has attracted you to the course?
  • Why did you choose this subject?
  • Do  you have any questions that you would like to ask us?

Unusual questions

  • Would you consider a person who risks their own life in extreme sports or endurance activities a hero or a fool?
  • Why should we offer you a place?


Show your enthusiasm
Try to appear enthusiastic, this can been seen as a positive sign by interviewers.

Question clarification
If you have not heard or understood a question clearly then do not be afraid to ask for it to be repeated.

Your voice
Maintain a clear voice when answering questions, mumbling and not giving clear answers can create an immediate bad impression.

Show off your knowledge of the university and course
One way to impress the interviewers is to demonstrate your knowledge of the course and university. You can do this mentioning that you have attended open days and met course tutors (give their names). Say that all of this research has confirmed to you that it is the place for you.

Tips when answering questions?

  • Try to give evidence to back up any answers you give.
  • Look for opportunities to praise the university i.e. ‘I have read so many positive reviews about your university / department’.
  • Avoid giving one word answers.
  • Avoid giving long rambling answers.
  • Try to create a relaxed two way discussion type atmosphere between you and the interviewer.
  • Consider your answer before replying.

Preparing for a interview

  • Practise by staging mock interviews with a friend. If possible do this in a room with a chair and table to make it as life like as possible.
  • Have some of your own questions ready beforehand. This is just in case you are asked if you have any thing you would like to ask the interviewer.
  • Turn off your mobile before you enter the interview room.
  • Make sure you arrive on time, do this by planning your travel route the day before and leaving early.
  • Read and revise your personal statement and application beforehand, just in case you are asked questions on what you have written in it.
  • Before the interview list your strengths and weaknesses and make a mental note of them.


Related academic links
University courses

Related interview links
Establishing a rapport with a interviewer
How to deal with nerves during a job interview
Identifying your skills
Interview questions and answers
Interview preparation
Interview tips
Typical interview questions
What to wear to an interview 

Graduate resources
Essay writing
Graduate internships
Introduction to graduate fasttrack schemes
Revision tips
Student accommodation
Student loan company
Study skills
UCAS personal statement

Student CV links
Graduate CV template
Student CV template
Student CV template example