Do you want to study abroad? Are you hoping to secure a significant scholarship or study grant? Studying overseas requires a lot of planning and preparation which can be a complex, time-consuming and expensive undertaking. StudyOverseasNow.com are overseas education consultants that specialize in providing expert advice throughout the consultation and application process. We help students secure the best scholarships at the highest-ranked universities. Book a FREE Consultation with an experienced education & career counsellor to find out what overseas study options are available.
It’s increasingly common for universities and visa officials to conduct a telephonic or video interview as part of the application and visa process. Most videos and phone calls will be recorded and included in your visa file, be conscious of this. Preparing for an interview is crucial. An interviewer will need to observe several things prior to making a decision, these include:
- Your understanding of the university
- Your understanding of the course selected
- A clear explanation as to the study destination you have selected
- Verbally authenticate the documents you have submitted as part of the application process
- An assessment of your English language ability will take place throughout the interview
- Future intentions once you graduate
- Synergy between what you have stated in your Statement of Purpose / Letter of Intent and what is communicated throughout your interview.
Failure to articulate your reasons for studying overseas; particularly in the areas mentioned above will lead to an application or visa refusal.
Following COVID-19 industries pivoted from an in-person mode of delivery to an online focus. This switch allows universities and visa officials to receive ‘real-time’ information about a candidate. In addition, it allows observations to be made in ways not possible through the paperwork. Interviews are an opportunity to showcase your soft skills and describe how you intend to add value to your chosen university. The interviewer will make continuous assessments based on the soft skills you demonstrate, these include:
- Communication skills
- Presentation skills
- Critical Thinking
- Time Management
- Evidence of teamwork & Leadership skills
In this blog, we highlight important tips you can follow to make the interview process successfully.
Ensure your location allows a clear and uninterrupted use of the internet. Having poor internet connectivity can result in communication barriers which will delay your application and raise unnecessary questions about your application.
Ensure the lighting in your room is appropriate and the battery on your laptop is fully charged. Avoid using a handheld phone at all costs. Your laptop should be on a stable surface and facing towards you. Your face should be 8 – 10 inches away from the screen at all times.
Make sure your phone is on silent and the notifications on your laptop are silenced. You might be required to share your screen during the interview so clearing your tabs and removing any unwanted documents or sensitive items is recommended.
Every university and visa office has a specific software package they use. In most instances, Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meets will be the platform of choice. These platforms require users to download software which allows them to integrate their microphone and webcam within the meeting. This can take time and should be completed prior to the meeting. Please note, all online platforms work best when a physical headset is used, this will allow you to communicate with ease and clarity.
Treat your interview virtually as if you were attending a physical interview at a large multinational company. You should wear attire which reflects your desire to gain admission. Avoid casual clothes like shorts and a T-shirt. Wearing a formal shirt and tie is advisable for men and the equivalent for women. Wearing a work uniform if you are already employed in an industry like medicine, engineering or a related field is acceptable.
Selecting an appropriate background for your interview to take place is important. Avoid noisy and congested areas and have a plain or neutral background with adequate lighting.
Most laptops and online meeting platforms allow students to integrate a virtual background or filter when using their webcam. In most cases having no background or filter is the correct option. However, downloading a publicly available backdrop for the university you intend to gain admission into could develop an immediate repour and demonstrate your genuine intention to study.
Being late to an interview organised by a visa official or university is unacceptable. You will be provided with an interview time and date in advance; every effort should be made to arrive at the digital meeting at least 5-10 minutes early.
It’s perfectly acceptable to have notes to refer to in your meeting, demonstrating you have planned for the interview shows good intentions. However, you should not read from a script or sound robotic in your responses. Humanise the interview process and refer to your previous studies and work history where possible.
Make sure you have a brief introduction planned. Starting the meeting with a digital handshake or similar gesture will be welcomed by those interviewing you. Trying to be different in your approach can sometimes help to provide it is appropriate. Remember, those interviewing you are likely to have several appointments that day, being memorable is important.
Having extensive knowledge about the university you have selected is important and demonstrates you have conducted the necessary research to justify the investment you are making in your education. Topics include throughout the interview process include the following:
- The university’s overall ranking
- The subject-specific ranking for your chosen qualification
- The units you are hoping to enrol in
- The specialisations offered at the university
- The clubs and societies you hope to join
- Famous alumni
- Information about the area and city where you will be studying
- What makes the university unique or different
9) Final Advice
To ensure you have the best chance of success follow the final tips below.
- Practice with a friend or family member prior to the interview taking place. If this is not possible record yourself and make improvements where possible.
- Make sure you have something to eat and drink prior to your meeting.
- Invest in a headset and appropriate attire for the meeting
- Don’t talk too much. Let the interviews lead in their questioning
- Be mindful of delays in internet connectivity.
- Thank the panel for their time and offer your contact details should they wish to discuss any matters in more detail.
I hope you found the information in our blog useful. StudyOverseasNow.com are overseas education consultants that specialize in providing expert advice throughout the consultation and application process. If you would like to study abroad and hope to secure a significant scholarship or study grant Book a FREE Consultation with an experienced education & career counsellor to find out what overseas study options are available. We look forward to helping you start your journey to a brighter future!