Tough Interview Question - Why did you choose to attend this college?

Why did you choose to attend this college?

Similar interview questions:
What influenced your decision to attend here over other universities?
Were you accepted to any other colleges?
Do you feel you made the right decision to go to school here?
If you had not attended here, where would you have gone to college instead?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
The interviewer is looking for your decision criteria for why you attended this college instead of others. It is also an opportunity for the interviewer to probe whether or not you have any issues with your college.

The best approach to answering this question:
While you may have spent the last several years bashing your college, the professors and the administration, now is the time to put that all aside and take on a positive view as a soon-to-be alumnus. The ideal answer shows not only your original decision criteria, but also backs it up by talking about what you learned while attending there. And then go beyond the academic reasons to build out your total candidate package development.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"I had several options on where to attend college and decided to attend at _____ based primarily on the academic reputation for my major. After college, I was able to compare my college experience very directly with other new grads who started at the same time as me. I was able to see what they had learned and, more importantly, not learned in college. At that time it became clear to me how well prepared I was for doing my job after graduation compared to my peers graduating from other colleges. While I was productive very quickly, others required more remedial training to come up to speed. This starting differential also gave me an opportunity to lead some of our internal training classes, as well as become involved with on-campus recruiting for our future hires…"

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"I was attracted to _____ based on both its academic reputation as well as knowing several others from my high school whom I respected attending here ahead of me. _____ has lived up to its academic reputation and more. I have found opportunities for personal growth and development not only academically, but also to expand beyond classroom knowledge. Most of my professors in my major have real world experience outside of academia and it shows. The professor for the capstone class in my major was instrumental in guiding me to an internship this past summer which greatly expanded my professional experience…"

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"Well, I applied to several universities, but I got turned down at all of the others, so _____ was the only one that accepted me. So that made the decision an easy one for me."

Remember to answer each interview question behaviorally, whether it is a behavioral question or not. The easiest way to do this is to use an example from your background and experience. Then use the S-T-A-R approach to make the answer a STAR: talk about a Situation or Task (S-T), the Action you took (A) and the Results achieved (R). This is what makes your interview answer uniquely yours and will make your answer a star!

Further review: know the answers to these 100 Common Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

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