Happy New Year everyone!
So you’ve narrowed down the universities you want to go to, you’ve completed your application forms and you’ve passed the skills test. Now they’ve invited you to interview- DO NOT PANIC. Taylor Cornes, our trainee teacher from the University of Worcester, is back with some great advice for surviving and thriving in university interviews.
The journey of getting to University is made up of different stages: attending open days, choosing the University you wish to study at, completing an application form, and for some courses – mainly Primary Teaching – being interviewed.
The content of each interview varies between Universities, but for Primary Teaching they follow a similar structure. In addition to passing your skills tests, you might be asked to sit a numeracy or literacy test. In the numeracy test, the University is mainly checking to see if your capabilities align with their expectations. This is the same for the literacy test, but some Universities also check for quality of handwriting to ensure that it is legible – as clear handwriting is crucial in a classroom.
For me personally, I got very worked up at the thought of sitting these tests, and the pressure I put on myself, in hindsight, was completely unnecessary. My first tip therefore would be to remain calm and relaxed, and do not let the nerves get the better of you. The whole purpose of a University interview is for members of staff to see the person behind the writing, they want to know you, but this is made difficult if you are extremely nervous.
My second tip for surviving a University interview would be to do some reading around educational changes. This does not mean sitting for hours on end with a stack of newspapers – the internet and apps are useful tools, but you might be asked to discuss any changes within education during your interview, so it is better to be as prepared as can be. One important aspect to remember is that the members of staff who interview you do not want to hear a regurgitated news article; they want you to have your own opinion – and don’t forget you can be critical.
More often than not, at a University interview for Primary Teaching, you will be asked to share any experiences you have relevant to your career choice. Utilise this time and tell the interviewers what you have been up to, what you have learnt from it, and how it will help you in your professional practice as a teacher. Interviews are brilliant for expanding on any points that you have made in your personal statement, and you might be questioned by the interviewers so make sure you are ready.
Professionalism is key when attending interviews for this particular career, you not only need to look the part but try to carry yourself in a way that would portray an individual who was committed to teacher training. Do not be afraid to ask any unanswered questions you might still have – the interviewers don’t bite and have probably been asked the same questions many times before!
The two University interviews that I attended were both positive experiences, and hopefully, after following my advice, you will feel the same.