This week College Coach checks in with our friends at Fortuna admissions to get their top tips for college interviews by Skype.
- Make sure the space behind your camera is clear and uncluttered.
Film yourself against a plain wall if possible, with any larger shot of your room in the background clean and organized. (There should be no passing people, animals, or distracting piles of laundry in view.) Video is just as much about what you see as about what you hear.
- Make sure your face is well-lit.
Set up a test beforehand to ensure your lighting is strong – not too bright or too dark. You may want to try moving your screen to different venues in your home to secure the best light.
- Ensure excellent sound quality.
Seek a quiet space and use headphones if needed (this can cut unexpected background noise). Make sure your microphone is working properly and computer settings are updated for audio. Speak at your normal volume and pitch – your voice should be clear and easy to hear. Your voice should be the only one that’s heard in the interview.
- Test your Internet connection beforehand.
And by all means, make sure the link works before you attempt to open it at the time of call!
- Don’t be tempted to read from hidden notes.
It’s fine to jot down thoughts to share, but do not read full sentences off a pre-prepared script. The interviewer can tell if you are reciting, which will undermine your authenticity.
- Maintain eye contact.
Eye contact is very important – while it is tempting to look at yourself on your screen, be mindful to engage the interviewer by looking at the camera instead. Have good posture. Smile – but not too much. Imagine that the face of a friend is on the other end of the camera.
- Seek opportunities to fuel the conversation.
If you are participating in an interview and cannot read the body language of the interviewer, use the name of the interview and other affirmative language, e.g. “Great point Joanne!” This can really help to make a connection with the person on the other side of the screen.
Read more about college video interviews on the College Coach Insider blog at blog.getintocollege.com.