This is a guest blog post written by Suzanne Shaffer, who counsels parents in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation. Her blog offers timely college tips for parents and provides parents with the resources necessary to help their college-bound teens navigate the college maze. Her expert college advice articles and guest posts can be found at numerous sites related to the college admissions process. You can also find her on Twitter (@suzanneshaffer) and Facebook (parentcollegecoach). Her college advice has been featured on Huffington Post, Yahoo Finance and U.S. News College. She is an author and contributor for The University Parent Guide to Surviving Freshman Year and College Bound and Gagged. She is the parent college coach expert for Smart College Visit and TeenLife Media.

College interviews are stressful. But with a little preparation and some positive action, you should be able to ace the interview and place yourself on the college’s “accepted” list.

Do the Research on the College

Most college students go to a college interview without a solid understanding of the college and what it offers for students. Make sure to take time to surf the college web site, social channels, blogs, etc. in order to have efficient knowledge of the college.

Dress for the Interview

The question about what one should wear will have an affect on your first impression. In other words, if you do not get dressed for the college interview and take it seriously, you can’t expect them to take you seriously.

Find a way to stand out

Admissions officers interview multiple candidates every day. Find a way to stand out. Ask a thoughtful question. Engage in conversation. Exude confidence. All of these factors will help you create a positive impression.

Be yourself

This seems like an obvious piece of advice, but admissions officers want to get to know you. They don’t want to see a version of who you think you should be, but hey are looking for someone that will add to their freshman class. Be yourself and give that that someone. Your essay should be an extension of the interview as well. Seek help if necessary, but don’t pretend to be someone you are not.

Ask Your Own Questions

A successful interview is not about just sitting in a room and giving prepared answers to the admissions officer’s questions. This is a great chance to learn more about the college and its environment. Prepare a list of thoughtful questions before your interview and find the right moment to ask them.

Follow Up 

Don’t forget to follow up after the interview. Ask for a business card and send a personal thank you note when you return home. This will keep you on the admissions officer’s radar.

Finally, interview at the colleges in which you are a “perfect fit”. These colleges will see you as an added value to their community and be more likely to offer you admission.