Preparing for Your Barnard Interview: A Timeline

Preparing for Your Barnard Interview: A Timeline

College interviews can be informative (an opportunity for you to learn about the school), evaluative (an opportunity for the school to learn more about you), or a combination of the two. The interview can provide an opportunity for candidates to bring life to their applications, while giving the Admissions Committee another glimpse of who you are that might not be seen in other components in your application. Please note: Interviews at Barnard are completely optional. If you choose not to interview, you will not be penalized in any way.

The application process as a whole can be daunting and challenging to organize, but it’s important to stay prepared and focused throughout the entire journey. The interview process is no different. Below is a timeline to help you prepare for your interview in a timely and organized fashion.

4-6 weeks before:

  • Schedule your interview before making travel arrangements. At Barnard, interviews can be booked online and are available on a first come, first serve basis. Often, we have more demand for interviews than we have spots available so be sure to book as soon as possible. Make sure you book the interview and receive a confirmation email before booking travel (planes, trains, hotels, etc). Note: If you don’t receive a confirmation email from us, feel free to call the Office of Admissions to confirm your interview slot.

  • If you are unable to travel to campus, now is the time to arrange an off-campus interview with a trained alumna interviewer in your local area. Note: Alumnae interviews take place between mid-September and December and are available only to students who live outside the tri-state metropolitan area (New York [New York City & the boroughs, Long Island, Westchester & Putnam Counties], New Jersey, and Connecticut).
  • Once interview is confirmed, book your flights, trains, car rentals, bus tickets, and hotels as appropriate.

2-3 weeks before:

  • Start preparing for the interview by reflecting upon your high school experience. Think about the subjects you enjoy and why you enjoy those particular disciplines. Reflect upon your clubs/activities, personal pursuits, goals, etc. The Admissions Committee will see your list of courses and extracurricular activities, but your interview is your chance to tell us why you took those classes or joined those organizations. Taking the time to reflect will make your interview responses more polished and thoughtful.
  • Do some research (peruse our website, read our blogs, check social media platforms) and come up with a list of questions to ask your interviewer about the college. This is your opportunity to learn about Barnard through the lens of someone who knows the institution incredibly well!

1 week before:

  • Consider organizing a mock interview with family members and/or friends. Here’s a sample list of questions an interviewer may ask you:
  1. Tell me about your high school and the academic culture/environment.What do you like and dislike about it?
  2. What would you change about your high school, if you had the chance?
  3. What classes are you most/least looking forward to this academic year?
  4. Which class or school project has engaged you the most and why?
  5. How would your family/friends/teachers describe you?

1 day before:

  • Lay out your outfit for the interview. There’s no need to wear a suit or something incredibly formal, but make sure you are neat and appropriate in your appearance.
  • Get a good night’s rest -- being sleep deprived and dealing with (normal) interview jitters is a terrible combination!

The Day of the Interview:

  • Eat a good breakfast!
  • Leave plenty of time to get to campus. Check the trains to see if there are any delays. (

  • Arrive 10-15 minutes before the interview is set to begin. This window will give you time to use the restroom and get settled before you begin.

  • Avoid being late at all costs, but should you be late, call the office to let them know!

After the interview:

  • Email your interviewer and thank them for their time. You may also ask follow-up questions, should you have any. 

Best of luck! 

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