Carol Ciriaco, Co-Editor of Latinos in College
I walked into the crowded Starbucks, dressed as nicely as I could so as not to look ridiculous among the coffee and tea drinkers in weathered jeans and printed tees (I opted for a plain, well-fitted, and neutral-toned blazer, scarf, pants, and boots), and looked around nervously. I felt my heart thump its irregular rhythm as I searched for a young Asian man wearing a tie. This is it, I thought. Years and years of envisioning my college interview had finally come to an end.
In a matter of minutes, I would meet my alumni interviewer and the moment I had stressed over since I first set my heart on attending college would no longer be a mere figment of my imagination.
As it turned out, I had nothing to be anxious about. I had been so worried that the interview would be scary or awkwardly formal that I forgot that my interviewer would be a human being- someone like myself who knew how to laugh, smile, and give advice. I had forgotten that they had gone through the same process and that they were there to get to know me and to vouch for me as I applied for acceptance into one of my dream universities: Harvard.
Since I had prepared for my interview by making charts that included all of my extracurricular activities, awards, and community service (with descriptions of my roles and an estimated count of hours per week dedicated to the activities), I made it easier for my interviewer to get a sense of who I am. Another thing that helped me with my interview, which was really a conversation regarding my hobbies, ethics, and reasons for wanting to attend the school, was being myself; I left the nervousness behind as soon as I met my interviewer and let my bubbly and driven personality show through. I was confident as I explained my passion for helping Latinos graduate from high school and college, as I talked about my strong connection with friends and family, and as I stressed my commitment to my educational career; my mind was clear, my thoughts were collected, and my integrity was obvious.
So for all of you out there who are worried about taking that next step towards going to college, don't be! The whole college interview process is not as scary as everyone makes it seem, I promise. Just make sure to discuss the qualities you have that make you a unique student, including the fact that you're a Latino who's trying to beat the stereotype and make a name for yourself in this country, dress for success, and really let the interviewer see you for the amazing and intelligent person that you are. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your upcoming interviews, feel free to ask; I'd love to help you guys out in any way possible!