For some, maybe a lot of universities, the usual screening procedure involves meeting the qualifications, filling out an application form and passing the entrance exam. Both Manila Science High School (MaSci) and Quezon City Science High School (QueSci), however, have a little extra step in the form of a face-to-face interview with the prospective student.
Unfortunately, the interview topics can literally be anything under the sun, so it’s not humanly possible to formulate a specific, all-encompassing strategy well ahead of time. Nevertheless, here are some guidelines to keep in mind when going for those interviews.
You know those MMORPGs that everyone and their mother seems to be playing these days? You could take a cue from those and use it to your advantage during the interviews. Try to role-play and put yourself in the shoes of the school staff member interviewing you. What do you think he or she would ask? What replies would be good to offer? Experiment, rehearse and have some fun with this one.
When you formulate answers to possible questions, try to keep the answers short and sweet. Give enough information to clearly and adequately answer the question thrown at you without lapsing into a speech or monologue. The interviewer can always ask follow-up questions to probe further.
While adequate preparation is always a good thing, keep in mind that you’ll still need to adapt to possible speed bumps in the middle of the interview proper, as we’ll see shortly.
During the Interview Itself
The first thing you need to do is to actually be on time for the interview. Hate late? So does the person who’s waiting for you. By coming early or on time, you’re sending the interviewer a clear message that you respect his or her time.
Moreover, show the interviewer that you’re actually interested in studying at MaSci or QueSci. Maintaining friendly eye contact throughout the session is a good way of doing this. It shouldn’t be much of a problem if you’ve practiced often enough in front of a mirror or another person.
What do you do if the interviewer throws a question at you that you never anticipated? Simple: you keep calm. Take a deep breath and answer the question as best you can. Avoid using “uhs” and “uhms” as much as possible, as these don’t make you sound very competent.
Instead, you can “stall” for time by saying something like “That’s a good question. Here’s what I think…” You may also opt to pause for around three seconds before replying to breathe and quickly think things through. Again, don’t overdo this, as it will sound contrived and artificial. Try mixing things up for better results.
As a person who’s been through a number of interviews in my young life, I’ve observed that most interviewers, regardless of affiliation, look for similar attributes in any interviewee: competence, calmness under pressure and the ability to express oneself clearly and succinctly, among other things. Polish up on these qualities and it will be very, very difficult for them to say no to you.
Finally, don’t forget to pray beforehand and entrust everything to God. It’s His grace that will help keep your mind clear and alert while you’re on the hot seat.