After passing the USTET, the next step before you could actually enroll is the scheduled interview. Not all courses require it, but if you are to take up Nursing, Tourism, Physical Therapy and the like, passing the interview is as important as passing the entrance exam. So here are some points to help you increase the chances of passing the interview:
1. Good grooming.
A lot of folks say that the way you look reflects your personality. It might sound cliché but it is actually true. As you take the fist step into the interviewing room and greet the panel, the first thing they notice is basically how you look. Hence, it is very important to keep yourself looking neat and orderly.
- Get a good haircut for the gents, be sure to leave off those emo or F4 styles behind, at least for the interview. Suit yourself a clean cut, that way you’d look professional and orderly. (Even if you’re not.)
- For the girls, kindly put your hair tied up neatly. May it be clipped or plainly tied up in a ponytail. Do NOT get your hair done like you’re going on a debut or wedding. I actually saw someone during her interview sporting that grand hairdo, we called her “salon girl” ever since. Luckily, I still see her around which means she passed anyway.
- For the guys, please do shave your facial hair. You don’t want to look like Mr.Suave on your interview day, do you?
- Put some make up on. Of course, that item is for the girls. You might also consider putting on some make up but please, do yourself a favor and spare yourself from heavy make up. Again, you’re not attending a debut. You’re attending an interview. I don’t advise the not-so-girls to wear make-up though. For the guys, just keep your face shine and perspiration fee and you’re good to go.
2. Wear something decent
By wearing something decent, I mean you should avoid being over or under-dressed. The rule is pretty simple, you just have to wear a simple top, simple pants, and closed shoes. You don’t really have to go to UST wearing a semi-formal attire. Also, please do consider that you are applying in a pontifical and Catholic university, therefore, the rules of conservatism apply. Do NOT wear micro-mini-skirts, slippers, plunging necklines, and ultra-high heels. Again, be simple.
3. Observe courtesy
Those simple words and expressions do really mean a lot. Don’t forget to greet the panel with your good mornings, good afternoons, etc. Be sure that you also include the magic words “po” and “opo” when talking to the panel.
4. Observe Manners
- Knock at the door before going inside the room.
- Wait for the panelist’s cue to tell you to sit down.
5. Maintain eye contact
This part is also very important. Maintaining eye contact actually shows how sincere you are to your answers. Even if you have award winning answers, lack of eye contact actually kills it. After all, the interviewers are looking for substance, not your answers itself.
Now who could not be convinced with an applicant that smiles a lot? Smiling actually shows how confident you are. When I was being interviewed, I still pulled on with the smiling thingy even though the interviewer is already asking me tough questions. Its like being in a beauty pageant, be graceful even if under pressure.
7. Know the course you’re applying
This is actually basic preparation for any interview which is know what you’re applying for. Know how your course works, its relevance, and how it can help the society in general. Do not also limit yourself with what you actually know about the course, so do your own research.
Say for example, BS Nursing. All the while, I though nurses were just “helpers” of the doctors. After researching, Nursing actually covers a lot of areas such as community health, pharmacology, and so on.
8. Be prepared for questions regarding yourself, your faith, your family and current events.
Since you are applying to the Pontifical Catholic University of the Philippines, expect questions that would pertain to yourself, your family and your faith. Some questions I was asked during my interview were “Describe your family.”, “How would you describe yourself?”, “How do you develop faith?”, etc. Brush up also on the different contemporary social issues such as premarital sex, divorce, etc. and be prepared with your stand regarding these. (Of course, you also have to know the Church’s viewpoint regarding these issues.)
More or less, you now have a sneak preview on how they formulate questions.
Knowing the current events may also help since some of the questions may require you to relate your answers to these topics. Also don’t forget to prepare your answer on the why-did-you-take-up-this-course questions, they’re inevitable.
9. Be consistent with what you say
This is self explanatory. Be consistent with what you say. Be firm with your stand and what you believe in.
10. Never admit that you were just FORCED to the course you applied.
This is one thing that could either make or break you. As much as possible, never resort to admitting that you were just forced to take up the course you applied in, unless of course if you want to fail the interview.
One of my professors who used to conduct interviews herself once shared that once an applicant shares that he was just FORCED to take that course up, she automatically fails the student. Of course, they have to prioritize the ones who are really interested in the course and those who could pursue with the challenges the course has to offer.