Top questions you may be asked at a Sixth Form interview
In this article, we’re going to learn more about what to expect in a Sixth Form interview and the kind of questions that you may be asked. We also share some of our top tips on how to make sure your interview is as successful as possible.
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What happens in a Sixth Form interview?
A Sixth Form Interview is a short meeting with someone from your prospective Sixth Form college which gives them the chance to find out more about you, and you to the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about your intended course or courses.
A successful interview will result in you officially being offered a place at the Sixth Form to complete your A-levels, or equivalent qualifications.
Remember, the interview isn't only for the Sixth Form or college to establish whether you'll be a motivated and community-minded student, but also a chance for you to make sure that it is the right fit for you.
At Kings, our collaborative approach is centred around finding appropriate study plans and solutions for each student’s individual circumstances and ambitions, to ensure them the best possible chance of success.
What should you wear to a Sixth Form interview?
Most Sixth Form interviews are designed to be relatively informal, but it’s still important to create a good first impression, and dressing smartly will do just this.
A ‘smart casual’ dress code is probably best advised; of course everyone is entitled to their individuality, but it’s probably best to avoid any outfits that are too outlandish, unless of course you are applying for a Fashion related programme!
What questions can you expect during your Sixth Form interview?
It's important to remember that the interview is an ideal opportunity to benefit from the Sixth Form's expertise and experience in helping students narrow down their options and create the best study plan. Ultimately, they are here to help. In this sense, it can be helpful to think of the interview more as an individual study consultation than a test which requires you to perform.
The questions you are asked at your Sixth Form or college interview will of course vary according to the interviewer, but these are common interview questions that you can expect to encounter at this stage. Try to relax and be yourself, listen carefully to the questions and ask if you don't understand.
Question #1: Why are you interested in attending this Sixth Form/college?
Interviewers will always be keen to hear why you have selected their 6th Form as a prospective place for study, particularly if it is independent of your current school. They will want to see that you have done your research about the school/college, and given proper thought to its suitability for your goals and needs.
The kind of things that they may expect to hear could relate to good results, a mature environment, a personal approach and focus on helping you achieve your ambitions, specialist UCAS advice, and having access to a thriving enrichment programme with varied extracurricular activities.
If you have visited the Sixth Form as part of an open evening, be sure to mention that.
Question #2: What subjects are you interested in studying and why?
This kind of question will assure the interviewer that you have given good thought to your subject choices. It may be that your primary reason relates to enjoyment (in other words, they are your favourite subjects) rather than any specific long term plans, but the main thing they want to establish is that your motivations are clear.
Remember, if you are not yet sure of your final subject choices, Sixth Form colleges will be able to offer specialist advice, considering any university pre-requisite subjects whilst also keeping your options open. Take advantage of their expertise, be open to their advice and do feel confident to ask any questions you may have.
Question #3: What kind of professions/fields do your family work in? Do they support your potential aims?
Finding out what parents and family do can really help understand your influences – it may be that your decisions are entirely independent of anything your family do or have done, but it's always useful to know about any family members (or other people for that matter!) who have influenced or inspired you and helped form your passions.
Understanding whether your potential study choices will have the backing of those around you is also very important, largely to ensure you'll have the support that you need to study at Sixth Form level, and beyond that at university.
Question #4: Do you already have some universities in mind?
This question helps give an idea of where you are in your thought process/research and the type of degrees and universities you are considering. It will give the Sixth Form an indication of your ambitions, and preferences in terms of areas/distances from home. At Sixth Form colleges like Kings, specialist UCAS advising and support is a very important part of the study programme so if it is still unclear at this point, there will be plenty of help on hand.
Question #5: What’s your biggest achievement to date? What are you most proud of?
Whilst this might sound like a very general question, the idea is most likely that you'll relate your answer to something within the realm of education — whether it's academic or extracurricular. It could be, for example, that you have captained one of the sports teams, that you have been elected president of the Student Council, that you have starred in a school play, or simply that you have achieved a better grade than anticipated in one of your subjects at GCSE.
Whatever the answer, it will hopefully demonstrate to the interviewer your particular areas of strength and characteristics. This can also help with the advice they provide you about your study plan and possible degree and career options.
Question #6: How would your teachers/friends/parents describe you?
Some people can feel awkward or embarrassed when it comes to talking about their qualities — wither good or bad, so phrasing a question in this way can make it easier for them to find the right adjectives.
Whilst honesty is of course always important, this type of question gives you an ideal opportunity to highlight your best traits, which could, for example, be that you are determined, extremely motivated, a good team player, punctual, excellent at meeting deadlines and good at working in a team.
It does however also give you the opportunity to identify areas where you might like to develop. At this point, no Sixth Form expects you to know and be able to do everything.
Question #7: What can you bring to our Sixth form/college?
Most Sixth Form colleges strive for a diverse student body in which each student feels a sense of worth, no matter what their specific skills or interests. They also want to make sure there are plenty of opportunities for academic enrichment, for example through student-led initiatives such as community events and charity fundraising.
These types of activities not only provide enjoyment, but also hone important transferable or 'soft' skills that can be useful to highlight in UCAS applications, therefore those students who are willing to get involved are very attractive to future Sixth Forms.
Question #8: What do you enjoy doing outside of school?
Your prospective teachers and principal will definitely be interested to hear more about you as a person, and what you enjoy in your spare time. Establishing more about your personal attributes/aptitudes and how they might apply to your future studies can a very useful exercise all-round – especially if you are not yet sure of your final subject choices both at A-level and beyond.
It's also important to bear in mind that universities are generally looking for students with a deep and genuine interested in their subject. Sixth Forms will usually be looking for what evidence there is to back that up from activities outside of class and how they can help build on that for your university application. This is particularly important in some areas, such as Medicine, where an understanding of the role/function of medicine and the health care profession is really key; really understanding what a doctor does and current issues in Medicine (or your other subject areas of interest – Economics, Politics etc).
Explaining more about your pursuits outside of school will also give them an idea of how you are likely to balance work and social time.
Question #9: What are your long term goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This type of question is designed to show that you have really given thought to where and what you want to study could lead, in other words, that you have a rough idea of your future career plans. If, for example, you would like to become a doctor, this explains why you are pursuing A-levels in Maths and Sciences, and your keenness to undertake medical work experience placements during Sixth Form.
Bear in mind however that if you don’t know exactly what they want to do yet, don't worry! It can be good to have a broad idea of fields which you are (or aren’t!) interested in, but part of the reason of coming to a good Sixth Form is to open your eyes to the wide range of opportunities available and then explore more the ones you are interested in, giving increasing focus to those of most interest for your university applications. This way, you can be sure to make really informed choices about your futures – your degree, your university and beyond that your possible career.
Remember, whilst specialist subject knowledge and skills are important - particularly for very vocational fields - so-called 'transferable' skills such as resilience, and communication can be just as important, and a good Sixth Form will always recognise that. The world of employment is changing and will continue to do so, and it is unlikely you'll hold just one job for your whole life. So, don’t stress, keep your options open and do what you enjoy!
Question #10: Do you have any questions you would like to ask?
It’s always good to have a few questions that you would like to ask to show that you are really interested in this Sixth Form, and of course to ensure you know exactly what you can expect if you are offered a place and that it will be a good fit for you.
As referenced already, it can be good to show that you have done some research – for example it could be that you have seen details of previous students who have progressed to study a subject you are interested in on the Sixth Form's website. In this instance, you could ask the interviewer to tell you more about their experience at college and how they supported them.
Whether it relates to the teaching, the staff, the facilities, or the course content for each subject, don't be shy when it comes to asking questions. The more information you have, the better.
Top tips for a successful Sixth Form interview
This may be the first interview that you have ever had so here are some top tips to help you prepare for a successful college or Sixth Form interview.
Tip #1: Make sure you prepare
Sixth Form interviews are not generally intended to catch you out or put you on the spot. You can expect a friendly atmosphere, designed to make you feel at ease and able to be yourself.
That said, you should still prepare thoroughly to ensure you create the best possible impression. Make sure you have done adequate research about the college or Sixth Form, either through open days or via the website, and thought about questions you may be asked, and also questions that you may want to ask the interviewer.
Tip #2: Arrive in good time
Make sure you know how long your journey will take and allow extra time for traffic if you are travelling by car or public transport. Arriving late, even if you can explain why, is not the ideal start!
Tip #3: Remember your documents
Remember to take any documents you have been asked to provide along with you, certificates for example. You may also want to take a copy of your application form, in case you want to refer to it during your interview.
Tip #4: Think about body language
Remember to smile, make plenty of eye contact, and look as if you are interested! Slouching or yawning do not generally give the impression of a motivated and enthusiastic student!
Tip #5: Be honest
If you are desperate to secure a place at your chosen college it may be tempting to exaggerate or embellish potential grades, but this is never a good idea. Make sure you are honest about you are likely to achieve, and remember if you don’t get the required grades to meet the course, the college/Sixth Form may well be able to offer you an alternative course that will still lead to the same future path.
We hope that this article has helped you understand more about how to prepare for a Sixth Form interview.
At Kings, we offer a range of Sixth Form programmes, including a standard two-year A-level course and a one-year A-level for students of, exceptional academic ability. You can also join the programme for just the final A2 year if you have completed the first year of A-levels or equivalent at another school.
We also Art and Design Foundation for those students who are planning on taking an Art related degree.
We cater for both day and boarding students at our four UK colleges, which are located in Brighton, Bournemouth, London and Oxford.
If you’re ready to apply, or would like to receive more detailed information about the Kings A-level courses, or about our colleges in the UK, get in touch today.
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