Colleges and Universities


How to Prepare For a University Admission Interview

Date: Mar 30, 2016

Author: oiio

Have you been invited to attend a university admission interview, and are now feeling nervous and wondering how to prepare? Read our top 10 tips for university interview success…

1. Consider the type of interview you can expect 

University admissions interviews are generally either evaluative or informative. Evaluative interviews can be expected in order to gain admission to particularly prestigious universities such as Oxbridge. In this instance, your performance in the interview will be considered when the university admissions officers decide whether to offer you a place. Type of interview In an informative interview, you have the opportunity to find out more about the university, while the university also finds out more about you. In this case, the university admissions officers may be just as keen to impress you, as you are to impress them, because they want you to choose their institution. Of course, your university interview may include both evaluative and informative elements.

2. Think about how you can stand out

University admissions interviewers are likely to be meeting a large number of candidates, so you need to think about how you can stand out and leave a good impression. When interviewers ask you to tell them about yourself (a question that is likely to come up, in some form), try to respond with something memorable. This is your chance to convey your passion for your chosen subject, your future ambitions, and the qualities you possess that will ensure your academic success.

3. Re-read your personal statement admissions personal statement

The tutors interviewing are also likely to refer to things you’ve mentioned in your personal statement or application essay, whether it’s about a certain hobby or a claim about one of your achievements. (This is one reason why it’s very important to be honest!) Have another look at what you wrote and consider any related questions that might come up in the interview, such as questions about particular books you’ve referred to, or areas of academic interest.

4. Re-read the course information

It’s also a good idea to take a look back at the university’s prospectus or official website for full information on how the course is structured, what the entry requirements are and what optional modules are offered, amongst other guidance. This will help you show that you’ve researched the course thoroughly, and could also help you form some useful questions to ask the admissions officers – there is usually an opportunity to do this, even in a performative interview. Make sure the questions you ask haven’t already been covered in the published course information.

5. Plan some answers to common university interview questions Prepare questions

As well as ‘tell me about yourself’, it’s highly likely that you’ll be asked why you want to study this particular course at this particular university. If you’re studying abroad, your interviewer may also be interested in asking why you want to study in the particular country, and what attracted you to studying abroad. You should show your interviewer that you’re enthusiastic about your subject and very keen on their university; be as specific as you can.

However, while some forward planning is recommended, try not to overdo it! Allow your answers to flow naturally, rather than sounding too rehearsed. This is certainly easier said than done, but try to relax during the interview and be yourself.

6. Know your subject

You should be well-prepared to explain to your interviewer why you’re interested in your chosen subject, and outline your motivations for enrolling in your chosen course. In addition, you can demonstrate your interest by reading up on the latest news, research and developments in the field. You may be asked specifically about some of these issues, or you may simply be able to draw on them as examples.

7. Practice with a friend Interview practice

If this is your first proper interview or you’re simply very nervous, it might help to sit down with a friend or family member and do a practice run of the most common university interview questions. This should highlight any questions you need to go back to and think about again, or if you have a habit of saying ‘um’ too much!

8. Dress appropriately

Although university admission interviews are often fairly informal, it is much better to be dressed up than dressed down! Wear clothes you would wear for a formal job interview – something smart and comfortable, and you’ll make a good first impression.

9. Arrive early

If you’re attending an admissions interview in person (rather than via Skype, for example), make sure you know exactly where you’re going and how long it takes to get there, and allow plenty of time. You should aim to arrive around 10-15 minutes early.

Smile and relax

10. Take a deep breath, and smile! 

This is definitely easier said than done, but try not to worry too much. Remember that the university interview is usually not considered on its own when it comes to accepting you as a student. And also remember that the admissions officers have clearly been impressed with you so far to offer you an interview, so they’re seriously considering offering you a place. Even if you’re feeling terrified on the inside, force yourself to smile – it will make you feel better, and help to show your interviewers that you’re excited about the opportunity.
Follow these etiquette tips for international admissions interviews


Top 5 Jobs for Language Graduates (Not Translation!)

Date: Mar 30, 2016

Author: oiio

If you do a quick Google search of the top graduate jobs with a language degree, it would be easy to feel like you’d accidentally pigeon-holed yourself into being a translator or a teacher.

But if neither of these appeal, don’t fear! In the multinational, connected world we now live in, demand for language skills is increasing all the time. Nowadays, many companies with foreign offices, clients or commercial interests will specifically hire foreign language speakers, and will often consider fluent speakers favorably even for roles without a specific language focus.

Doing a modern languages degree will not only leave you with the impeccable language skills needed to get these jobs, but also a good understanding of different cultures. You’ll develop key softs skills, including a fine attention to detail and flexible communication skills.

Here are my top five jobs for language graduates – and not a translation in sight!

1. Account management Account manager

One of the consistent factors for a lot of the graduate jobs listed here will be that they’re client facing. Account management involves being a great communicator and brilliantly organized, identifying clients’ needs and making sure everything is delivered efficiently from your side.

These are the kind of skills you’ll develop doing a language degree, and which will be useful even if you’re applying to companies which operate in a single language. On top of this, your fluency will add another string to your application bow for any company that deals with foreign clients.

Your ability to communicate effectively across the whole spectrum of clients at the company will make your CV stand out, and that’s why so many multinational companies look favorably on foreign language skills when recruiting account managers.

2. Finance Career in finance

More and more, the world of finance is diversifying from its traditional talent pool of mathematics, economics and science graduates, recruiting from a broader range of academic backgrounds.

With any client-facing role, all large banks will be working multi-nationally, and so the ability to communicate effectively is seen as a huge bonus, as is the ability to liaise effectively with other offices throughout the world. Almost all job descriptions will name a foreign language as ‘highly desirable’.

In fact, Goldman Sachs claims to actively seek language graduates or native speakers for around 50% of its roles, and huge graduate employers HSBC and Credit Suisse both suggest a second or even third language will be a huge advantage in the application process.

3. Retail buying Retail buyer

A career in retail buying is all about being able to analyze trends, making good judgements and negotiating hard. As a result, language graduates can be in demand for buyer roles, due to their ability to communicate and work with suppliers throughout the world.

Whether you’ve got a passion for fashion, food and drink or stuffed animals, it’s a chance to use your knowledge of foreign cultures, as well as languages, to get ahead. Buying is all about noticing market trends and companies with an interest in foreign markets will want someone who has an understanding of that culture.

You’ll also get the opportunity to travel abroad to trade shows and fairs, where you can put your language skills to stellar use.

4. Social media Social media

A foreign language degree can be useful for all sorts of marketing jobs, but particularly social media, which is generally a role filled by a graduate anyway. Many companies will have an array of social media profiles if they are working across different countries, and your knowledge of the language and culture of a foreign country will stand you in good stead to be given a lot of responsibility quite quickly.

If you want to move into other areas of marketing or advertising, you’ll find that your language skills will be useful to converting your role. The chances are you’ll be taking on ad-hoc duties from a variety of departments, due to your specialism, which will provide a boost to your CV and an opportunity to prove yourself in areas you want to move into.

5. Spying Spy

If none of the above appeals, you can always be a spy. National agencies such as MI5 hire language graduates to join their foreign analyst teams. If you want to listen to and analyze intercepted messages (and pretend you’re James Bond), this could be the job for you!


Matt Arnerich


Matt Arnerich is the content writer at graduate recruitment agency Inspiring Interns. Matt writes about everything to do with graduate employability and how to get ahead in the competitive grad market. For the latest graduate opportunities, check out Inspiring Interns’ graduate jobs listings or, if you’re looking to hire a graduate, take a look at their innovative video CVs.


How to Answer Common Admission Interview Questions

Date: Mar 30, 2016

Author: oiio

If you’ve got a university admission interview coming up, you’re likely to be wondering how you can prepare, and what questions you’re likely to face. Read on for an overview of the most common university admission interview questions, and advice on how to answer them…

1. Why do you want to attend this university? 

This question is practically guaranteed to come up during your admission interview, and might be phrased slightly differently, such as “What made you choose this university?” This question tests your knowledge of the university and allows the interviewers to find out what motivates you. You should think about what makes you and the university perfect for each other – like a higher education love match.

Why do you want to attend

Don’t just talk about the location being pretty or the course ‘sounding good’. Try to give detailed, thoughtful reasons, by mentioning the department’s approach to your subject, or if it has particularly strong facilities for the course. Don’t mention things like the nightlife or costs, and don’t say anything that indicates that you didn’t really put much thought into your decision.

2. Why do you want to study this subject?

This question is very important, as the interviewers want to know that you’re genuinely interested in your subject and following it for the right reasons. Focus on how much you enjoy learning about the field, and show how it fits in with career goals or other aspirations – but without mentioning how much you expect to earn! Don’t say anything that implies you just went with what someone else suggested or picked the subject because you perceive it to be ‘softer’ or easier to get a place for.

3. What are you reading at the moment? What book are you reading

Especially likely when you’ve applied for a subject which involves a lot of reading (such as English literature), this question will hopefully spark a discussion between you and the interviewers. Here it will of course help if you’ve chosen some reading material which is in some way relevant to the course you’re applying for – so plan this in advance if you can! You might also be asked what book you’ve most enjoyed recently or what book has had a special meaning to you in some way. These questions don’t just let the interviewers find out if you’re a keen reader or not, but also give them some insight into your personality, and how genuinely interested you are in your chosen subject as well as other fields. It’s another chance to let your passions come through, and show off your potential as an engaged and independent learner.

4. How would your friends describe you?

This question again gives you an opportunity to talk about your personality – and it’s worth thinking about ahead of the admission interview. Although being ‘friendly, caring and a good listener’ is great, it’s probably not going to particularly impress the interviewers. Try and say something more memorable and meaningful, such as that you’re very determined or motivated; you’re a natural leader or a good collaborator; or you’re always keen to have a go when challenges come up. Be honest, but focus on highlighting your strengths. Try to back up what you say with examples, too.

5. What achievement are you most proud of? Achievement 

The interviewers might specify that they want you to talk about an academic achievement, but even if they don’t, this is probably a good area to stick to in your answer. You could talk about a prize you won during your studies, a test you did particularly well in, or a coursework project you were especially proud of. Try and mention an achievement which is quite recent, and talk about how it positively affected you.

6. What can you bring to the university?

This admission interview question invites you to sell yourself, and it can be tempting to exaggerate – but try not to go over the top! Remember to back up what you say with examples; you could mention activities you’ve been involved in at high school that show your contribution to the school’s community, such as a debating society or helping to organize an event. “Why should we offer you a place?” is a similar question, which might be asked at the end of the interview to wrap things up. In this case, you should summarize all the key points that make you an ideal student for the course, and for the wider university community.

7. What is your greatest strength (and weakness)? Greatest strength

This question comes up a lot in job interviews too, and the interviewer might ask for more than one strength or weakness. For the strengths part, as with the “How would friends describe you?” question, it’s tempting to give a clichéd but safe answer, like “I’m a hard worker”. But again, admission interviewers are looking for something more thoughtful, which is backed up with examples. The weakness side of the question can be difficult, but if you’re honest, and talk about a weakness that you’ve taken steps to improve on, then interviewers will be impressed by your self-awareness. 


What to Expect from Medical School Interviews (MMI Format)

Date: Mar 30, 2016

Author: oiio

This article is sponsored by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Applying to medical school can be daunting, so undertaking research to try and find out more about the process is very important and could give you a real advantage. Once you’ve sent off your medical school application form and your chosen schools have reviewed your information, you may be invited for interview.

Preparing for your medical school interview is almost as important as the application itself. If you are well prepared, the whole experience will be far smoother, plus you’ll benefit from the chance to visit the institution and explore its facilities, which you may not have had the chance to do if you are applying to medical school as an international student.

Many medical schools in the UK use an interview technique called multiple mini interviews (MMIs). Here at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) we are no exception, interviewing international applicants to our undergraduate medical program, MBBS, in December and March at our Preston Campus in the UK and in February at our offices in Mauritius.

What are multiple mini interviews (MMIs)? Medical school interviews

Multiple mini interviews are a new and fairer method of selecting students who are applying to medical school. In essence, the process means that each candidate moves around the room every seven minutes, talking to a different member of staff and completing a particular activity.

Here at UCLan, we have chosen the MMI method for our medical school interviews because we believe it gives everyone a fair opportunity to demonstrate the range of skills and attitudes they possess, as well as their desire to become a caring professional doctor. The MMI activities are designed to test both educational and personal qualities.

There are many applicants per place for medical school, and entry is highly competitive for medicine at UCLan. We want to select the best applicants. The MMIs are designed to reveal something of your personality and critical thinking skills. There is often no correct or ideal answer.

What do medical school MMIs involve? 

The UCLan MMIs involve 10 individual activities, each lasting seven minutes, during which there are two minutes to read about the activity and five minutes of interaction with an MMI assessor to do the activity. The assessor might be a scientist or clinical teacher; they could also be a patient volunteer or actor.

The MMI activities will see if you can “think on your feet”, rather than provide rehearsed answers. Ask the assessor if you do not understand the task.

During the MMIs you will move from one activity to the next until you have completed all 10 activities. So, in effect the entire medical school interview lasts 70 minutes. This can seem a long time, but this offers the school the fairest way to decide whether you should be given the opportunity to study medicine above other applicants.

At UCLan we have one MMI station dedicated to discussing your transferable skills statement, a document which we ask you to complete which lets you tell us about your experience of caring for others.

How is performance assessed during medical school MMIs?


At each MMI station your performance is assessed. The stations are all worth the same amount of marks and your overall total will be calculated and compared to that of other applicants. If you perform poorly in one station, don’t be put off – remember it is only worth 10% and you can recover by gaining a much better performance in another station. However, failure at four or more stations will mean an overall interview fail at UCLan.

No immediate feedback on your performance will be given. You are assessed against a range of criteria and also given an overall station performance score. Candidates are ranked according to their score. Feedback is provided after you have been informed whether you have been offered a place. You will be given your numerical score and that of the cohort average.

How can you prepare for medical school multiple mini interviews?

The MMI is difficult to prepare for – but look at the skills and attributes of a doctor listed on websites such as the General Medical Council and journals such as student British Medical Journal. Keep up to date with current news in the medical field, and review the types of dilemmas that health professionals have to consider.

And finally....

Don’t forget you’ve done really well to get this far. Keep calm and listen carefully. Read the instructions and make sure you know what you are being asked to do. Make sure you aware of the time you are taking so you complete the activity. Make the most of your medical school interviews, ask all the questions you have and take time to meet the staff and explore the facilities... Hopefully this will be where you study for the next five years! UCLan

About the UCLan MBBS program

The University of Central Lancashire’s MBBS program for self-funded and sponsored international (non-EU) students offers an innovative approach to medical education, with a state-of-the-art curriculum co-designed with local patients. Our facilities are some of the most modern in the UK and in a recent survey, 96% of our students rated their learning experience as good or very good.

Find out more about the UCLan MBBS


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