5 best tips to ace your student visa interview

best student interview tips
If you are applying for a student visa, you can read on to find five of our best student visa interview tips. Source: Justin Tallis/AFP

Are you an international student preparing to study abroad? Chances are, you might be organising the documents you need for your upcoming student visa interview or searching for the best student visa interview tips. If you’re feeling nervous — that’s normal. After all, a student visa is an important document you will need to enter, study and work in a foreign country legally. 

ApplyBoard, for instance, reported that their student applications are booming. From March to October 2021, applications to study in the UK rose by more than 300%, Canadian applications grew by over 200%, and US applications spiked by 750% from March to October 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, it said.

So, before you head on to that interview, here are five tips to prepare yourself fully: 

best student interview tips

According to the 2020/21 statistics from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, 605,130 international students pursued their degrees in the UK. Source: Eric Feferberg/AFP

Best student visa interview tips: What to take note of

1. Create a good first impression

Like any interview, the first impression matters. A student visa interview is similar to a job interview — it is essential to set expectations right from the get-go. Here are a few ways you can have a great first impression on your interviewers:

  • Dress smartly (or formally) as if you are going for a job interview. Never underestimate the power of exceeding expectations. 
  • Be punctual. 
  • Greet the interviewer and introduce yourself with a firm handshake. Studies show that this exhibits confidence and will start your interview on a positive note. 
  • Be polite with the visa officer. Do so professionally if you need to object to a question or statement.

2. Plan for success

As Thomas Edison puts it perfectly, “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” Doing your research before the interview allows you to deliver accurate, concise answers and resolve any doubt in the interviewer’s mind. We recommend you to be well-verse with the following:

  • The city you are planning to move to 
  • The university you will be studying at and your course
  • Your living expenses such as tuition fees, accommodation fees, and cost of living
  • Your budget and funding plans 
best student interview tips

Research shows that we hear 20,000 to 30,000 words over a 24-hour period. Source: Maynor Valenzuela/AFP

3. Practice active listening

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this tip. Active listening allows us to understand the full context of words in a conversation. In a student visa interview, apply active listening by paying attention to the questions and keeping your answers short and to the point. Essentially, you want the interviewer to understand your decision to study abroad.

If you struggle to understand a question by your interviewer, don’t hesitate to ask, “Can you please rephrase the question?” or “Can you please talk slowly?” if you cannot keep up with the interviewer’s speed or accent.

4. Be yourself

You don’t have to sell yourself or overstate your qualifications during a student visa interview. At this point, you would already have your acceptance letter, which is an important document you will need for your visa application process. Here, the visa officer is verifying your intentions of studying abroad — so just be yourself.

5. Ensure that you have all your documents

Last but not least, proper documentation is critical to winning your student visa battle. It is a complicated process, but we recommend checking the relevant government websites of the respective countries you’ll be studying for a document checklist. There, you’ll find all the essential documents to prepare for your upcoming student visa interview.