My Overseas University Interview Preparations.

Alright, there seem to be a misconception that moving abroad is as easy at it looks or that I spent most of my time traveling around without hard-work involved. WRONG! In perspective, I can understand why people would assume this because my posts on Instagram alone captures a joyful, inspiring and fun side of me whilst traveling. Well, traveling IS all of that, although, it doesn’t mean I got there without preparation. One of the most important things about the process of being accepted at a university is the interview process. Each one of the schools I’ve been accepted to had an interview process requirement which means, waking up at 1-3am to have a Skype interview with an instructor(s) abroad. Fun, right? This is how it went….

Before the interview, I submitted a general application stating my interest with the department and school. This included:

  • a cover letter (or a motivational letter/essay)
  • resume (or cv)
  • portfolio
  • letter of recommendations

Some schools will respond within 3 months depending on when you applied or when the deadline is to apply for that particular school. Once you receive your interview schedule, you’ll receive a guide of how the interview will go. It’s either a group or an individual interview or both. Again, this will depend on each university.

Base on my experience, one of the school’s I applied to conduct a group interview via Skype (plus an individual test). They scheduled a time based on an agreement with the entire group involved in that interview. My schedule for that group interview was at 3 am (pacific time zone) and it lasted for an hour. I admit, it was rough waking up at 3 am, half asleep while at the same time try to put my best foot forward but, I did my best. The individual test, on the other hand, had more flexibility and I was able to set it at a different time than the rest of the group.

The Group Interview Test

Preparing for this group interview was easy. I made sure a few days before the interview that I was using a computer that worked. I checked all of its functionalities (including the built-in camera) and did a test run.

First, I downloaded Skype which was the program I used for the interview and tried a quick video chat with a friend to make sure that I had a clear background, that I picked a quiet room without any distractions and more importantly that all of the technical details were working properly.

During the Skype group interview. There were 5 of us on the video call with 2 instructors who organized the entire schedule. They informed us ahead of time via email that they would provide a creative brief for the entire group and as a group we would work together in solving the problem within a certain time frame (usually an hour). Unfortunately, I can no longer remember what the brief consisted of but, as a group, we all worked well together. Also, one thing to note which wasn’t revealed until later on. The instructors were able to see everything during our group meeting because they were set on visible so we couldn’t see them but, they could see us. Make sure you stay on topic and treat any group interview as a real interview. It’s definitely not the time to mess around.

At the end of the interview, what I think they were looking for was definitely how each individual worked within a group setting. Base on the fact that it was a group interview, I’m sure they wanted to see if we were all capable of working as a team, know how to collaborate or have the ability to provide ideas and feedbacks. As far as I know, all of us were accepted at this school.

The Individual Test

Unfortunately, I can no longer remember the exact exam details. However, I believe it was relating to previous work experience, personal goals and what you hope to achieve during your course work.

In the end, both of exams were equally important but, I focused a lot more on the group exam due to the fact that it required collaboration on the spot. My mantra (and this is possibly different for everyone), the better you prepare ahead of time to anticipate possible questions that would be asked during the interview, the better you can answer.

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