Sample Interview Questions

Ideally, your interview will glean insights about the following qualities of the applicant: 

  • Intellectual curiosity

  • Openness to ideas

  • Concern for others

Senior Interviewers suggested the following interview questions, organized by theme. Do not feel obligated to use these, but they may stimulate interesting discussions.  Feel free to add your own!



  • Reflect either on something that doesn’t come as naturally (i.e. English class for the STEM kid) or a particularly difficult experience in the thing you love (i.e. a tough acting role, mastering a new piece, an obstacle in research). 
  • Tell me about influential person in your lives (teacher, coach, etc.).
  • What has made you stick with an interest for years?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • What do you hope to gain from your undergraduate experience?

The Theater Buff

  • What are some of your favorite roles? What is it like for you when you are performing on stage? 
  • Is there a character you’d really like to play?  Is there a show you’d really like to direct?
  • What can theater offer that other performance forms don’t? What are its possibilities?


The Voracious Reader

  • What books do you recommend?
  • Can you remember a really great discussion from your English class?


The Writer

  • What do you like to write?  Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry?
  • Do you have favorite subjects you like to write about?  Why?
  • Where do you gather your subject matter?  What inspires your writing?
  • Have you had a chance to share your writing with an audience? 


The Politician (MUN, Debate, Campaigns)

  • What is it about debating/politics that you enjoy?
  • Is there a cause that you feel particularly strong about? 
  • (MUN)  Is it difficult to represent countries or resolutions you don’t personally agree with?
  • (MUN) What role does the UN play?


The Volunteer

  • What kind of community service do you do?
  • What is a memorable experience from a community service project?
  • How has participating in community service changed your perception of the role of the individual in the community?
  • Why do you help others?


Visual Artist

  • What is art to you?
  • Why does art matter?
  • Do you create art for yourself or for an audience? What aspects of your life have influenced your art? 
  • Is there a particular style that inspires you?


The World Traveler

  • Tell me about some interesting places you have visited. Can you talk about cultural differences you observed?
  • Has traveling influenced the way you react to your own community/home?


The Mover

  • How have your transitions affected you?
  • What was it like adjusting to a new community/school?


The Musician

  • What kind of role does music play in your life?
  • Which composers do you admire? What do you like to play?  Sing? Why this instrument?
  • Talk about some favorite concerts/performances.
  • How do you imagine yourself getting involved with music at Yale?


The Scientist/Mathematician

  • Tell me about competitions you’ve entered. Tell me about your research.
  • What type of lab work are you involved in?
  • Is there something in current events or the forefront of technology that has caught your attention?
  • What aspects of chemistry/biology/physics/etc. are particularly interesting to you?


The Athlete

  • What is your role on the team? Any good stories/memories?
  • What do you like about individual/team sports?
  • Do you like your teammates?