In today’s episode of “College Admissions Real Talk”, Dr. Legatt gives you the 411 on interview etiquette.

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VO: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk with Dr. Aviva Legatt, a podcast for students seeking to get admitted to top-tier colleges. Each episode will feature an important tip for your college admission success, delivered with candor and love. If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek inside the mind of a college admissions officer, this is your chance. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. So, what’s your dream school? 

AL: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk. This is Dr. Aviva Legatt, founder and Elite Admissions Expert at Ivy Insight. Today, we are going to be discussing the 411 on interview etiquette. Did you know that over 90% of what we communicate is nonverbal? This means that what we don’t say, how we carry ourselves, and what we project behind our words is actually much more important than what we say. Think about three different ways to say where you’re from. I’ll go first. (Three vocally distinct variations of “I’m from New Jersey”). As you can hear the first way I said it was kind of negative, the second way was overly enthusiastic, and the third way was friendly and warm. This is why it’s so important to come to the interview prepared to pizzazz. Check out my last episode on that. It should go without saying, but make sure you arrive to the interview a few minutes early so you can be completely on time for the interview. This means turning on your Zoom early, making sure your camera and microphone are set up correctly, and that everything is working properly. Another part about Zoom interviews is how you show up in terms of your overall appearance. If you’re on Zoom is not just about how you’re presenting what you’re saying, but how the room is presenting you. This is why you need to check your video and audio setup before the interview starts. Make sure that you have adequate lighting so you’re not too dark or too washed out. Make sure that your microphone is working and doesn’t have feedback. And if you’re using headphones make sure that they don’t distort the way your voice sounds. In terms of what you’re wearing, make sure it’s not a t-shirt or something wrinkled. Also, remember to wear pants or a skirt. This may be odd advice to you but I once sat in an interview where this actually happened. The person in the interview hot seat went to close the door to assure no noise got into the room, and that’s when we discovered that he was wearing boxers with no pants. It’s also important to make eye contact during the interview. It’s a little bit trickier to do this over Zoom. The way you can make eye contact when on Zoom is by pretending that the interviewer’s eyes are where the green light is on the computer. This is the light that notes that your camera is on. You can look at the interviewer periodically to see their faces when you’re not answering a question, but when you’re responding to a question, you have to make sure to look at that green light to make that oh, so warm and fuzzy eye contact. For the interview, it’s really important to remember that this is a conversation, not an interrogation. As such remember to smile and be yourself. I know it’s hard to be yourself when you feel like you’re on the spot, but you totally can be. I promise. And this is a small but important detail: test your Zoom link ahead of time. If the link is broken, make sure to let the interviewer know so that they can provide a new one. You don’t want to be caught with your tech pants down. If the interview is over the phone all of the advice above applies except for one point, which is a key point for the phone. It would look awkward if you did this over Zoom or in person, but believe me it works big time. Over the phone, smile big during most of the interview. It’s a weird vocal trick. I picked this up in my acting and voice classes. When you smile big, your voice sounds brighter and more enthusiastic. I’ll demonstrate for you. Here’s the not smiling version: I want to go to your college to study computer science. This is the smiling version: I want to go to your college to study computer science. You can hear from my voice that I sound much more engaged and enthusiastic when I’m smiling versus when I’m not smiling. It’s normal for interviewing to feel a bit awkward, but you can make it a wonderful experience for yourself and the interviewer by practicing and following this interview etiquette.

VO: College Admissions Real Talk is hosted by Aviva Legatt, edited by Stephanie Carlin, and produced by Incontrera Consulting. I’m Caroline Stokes and this has been your daily boost of college admissions insight. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222- 5762. For more information on Dr. Legatt and Ivy Insight visit www.ivyinsight.com. And you can pick up Dr. Legatt’s book, “Get Real and Get In”, at major retail outlets across the world. Insight out.