In the application process of some university programs, you will have to do a personal interview. This is an opportunity for you to:
- learn more about your (possible) future university, teachers, other students and see how you feel there.
- show your best skills and leave a good impression.
If you are invited to an interview, it is a good sign that the university is satisfied with your application and that you are part of the next step of selection of applicants.
The atmosphere, the setting and the duration of the interview depend on the university. In most cases, you should be well prepared to answer questions about:
- Your motivation: Why do you want to study this field? Why did you choose this specific program at this specific university? What do you want to do in your professional life? What do you expect to learn in your studies?
- Your previous experience in this field: Did you already work or volunteer in this field or a similar one? How did you learn about it?
- General knowledge about the university, the city, the study program and the field of studies.
- Your opinion about current (i.e. political) debates that have to do with the study subject. You may also have to discuss specific topics with other applicants.
- Your personality: What are your strengths and weaknesses? Are you socially/politically committed? How do you work and learn best, alone and/or in teams?
- In some cases, universities will ask you in advance to prepare short presentations on specific topics, i.e. a (social/art) project idea that you want to put into practice.
- You may be asked to speak or understand languages that are demanded for the study program.
Here are some additional tips about the setting:
- Be yourself and answer the questions honestly. Universities want to get an authentic picture of their applicants and get an impression of their social skills.
- Try to stay calm, even if you are asked a lot of questions in a short time or difficult questions. It is fine to say that you don’t know the answer to a question, but are curious to find out. It shows modesty.
- It is not a problem to repeat what you have already said about yourself and your motivation in the written application. This is the chance to highlight some aspects and go into more detail.
- Take some initiative during the talk. Don’t answer questions too quickly. But also don’t start talking alone for a long time without paying attention to the reaction of the interviewers.
- Try to find students who have already passed the application period and are now enrolled. They can tell you more about the procedure of the interview and their own experiences. You may find them via the Fachschaft (students’ representation of the department).
- You can also go to the place where the interview will take place before the interview day, so that you already know where to go and will not be in a completely new environment.
- Ask some questions to show that you are interested. Ask also when you will hear back from them.
After the interview, be patient, it might take some time to review your documents and the interview. The university should let you know if they will accept you or not. If you haven’t heard back from them by the date they gave you, contact them.