Preparing for a Successful Admissions Interview

General Overview

It is important to take time to prepare for a successful interview with the Childhood Education Admissions Committee. This web page has been created to answer some of the questions you might have.

Completion of your application should be taken seriously and prepared with care. It is important to remember that not all applicants are admitted. Although meeting academic standards make you eligible for an interview, meeting or even exceeding these standards does not guarantee admission. Admission into the CHED/ELEL programs is competitive. This is because there are more eligible applicants to the program than space to accommodate.

Filling out the application

  • Take time to complete the application thoroughly. Your application must be completed fully and a degree track must be selected.
    • B.S.E. in Elementary Education OR M.A.T. in Childhood Education.
  • You will need to complete a pre-requisite degree sheet and label all courses you have taken as well as those you are currently enrolled in. If you are taking summer classes, please mark those as well.
  • You should have Praxis Core scores or qualifying ACT, SAT, or GRE exemption scores submitted to Teacher Education in all three content areas. Scores should be sent to the Arkansas Department of Education as well as the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. KEEP A COPY for yourself.
  • You must submit a copy of your UA transcript. This does NOT have to be an official sealed copy.

  • Letter should be addressed to the Childhood Education Admissions Committee.
  • Give this letter careful thought. This is a chance to express yourself through writing. Do you have someone who you trust to read your letter for content and grammatical errors?
  • Letter should include, but not be limited to talking about your experience with children, your desire to be a teacher, and your academic and professional accomplishments.
  • Your letter should be typed and should not be longer than two pages.

  • Liking children is necessary, but is not sufficient as the only reason you indicate for your desire to become a teacher.
  • Relate your own experiences with children and young adults and how these experiences have shaped your desire to become a teacher.
  • Think about specific goals you would like to accomplish as a teacher and be able to verbalize these goals in the interview.

Our program is built upon the Scholar-Practitioner Model and people who teach children should enjoy learning and school activities related to learning.

Your leadership ability, as well as any experiences you have had dealing with conflict and problem-solving in human relationships, all reflect your potential as a teacher. The interview panel will be looking for evidence of these qualities.

Tips from Experienced Interviewers

  • Dress professionally in a way that communicates to the Admissions Committee you believe this interview is important. You want to be remembered for the interview, not for anything else.
  • Locate your room prior to the interview and plan to arrive early.
  • Be yourself. People who try to put on a false front usually come across as insincere.
  • Be positive and upbeat. Teachers need to be optimists and believe they can make the world a better place.
  • Be expansive rather than brief in your answers. Answer questions openly and honestly.
  • Make eye contact with your interviewers.
  • Do not take your cell phone to the interview. This may be a distraction for you and the Committee.
  • Be friendly, not disagreeable. If you treat the committee members with antagonism, they are likely to evaluate you in the same frame of mind.
  • Try your best to be relaxed and natural.

Characteristics of Good Interviewees

  • Communicate that they take the process seriously
  • Appear poised and confident, but not overconfident
  • Are positive and optimistic
  • Speak clearly and answer questions fully without prodding
  • Answer questions directly and specifically
  • Appear relaxed and friendly
  • Communicate in a genuine sense that teaching is important and that teaching is what they have chosen to do with their lives.
  • Display good listening skills
  • Provide evidence they can relate with people different from themselves
  • Exhibit creativity under pressure
  • Exhibit an engaging personality
  • Communicate well thought out ideas for wanting to be a teacher

Suggestions for Appropriate Dress

For Men:
Always Sometimes Never
Collared shirt Neck tie Denim
Slacks Polo shirts White socks
Belt Jacket Tennis shoes
Dress shoes Wrinkles

For Women:
Always Sometimes Never
Dress Tights Short skirts
Slacks Leggings Low cut tops
Skirt Makeup "club wear"
Dress shirt Heels HIGH heels

Structure of the Interview

  • Total time of the interview is usually 45 - 55 minutes.
  • Usually three Childhood Education faculty members comprise the Admissions Committee from both CHED and ELEL programs.
  • You will participate as a member of a group interview.
  • You will be asked a series of questions.
  • You will be asked to make some closing remarks.
  • You will be given an evaluation sheet to complete when the interview is concluded.
  • The interviewers will mark sheets to evaluate your interview.

Sample Interview Questions

Questions during the interview will be focused on the Scholar-Practitioner Conceptual Framework. At this point in your admissions process, you are not expected to be knowledgeable about teaching methodologies or classroom behavior management. All questions will allow you to base your answers on what you know at this time in your academic career.

  • They access, use, and/or generate knowledge
  • They understand, respect and value diversity
  • They are knowledgeable about teachers and teaching, learners and learning, schools and schooling

  • They plan, implement, and model best practices
  • They communicate, cooperate and collaborate with others

  • They understand, respect, and value diversity
  • They make decisions based upon professional standards and ethical criteria

  • They are developing professionals and lifelong learners

Questions you may be asked

  • "Tell us about yourself" (Give information such as where you live, do you work, where you grew up, etc.)
  • "Why did you choose teaching?" (Indicate why you chose this path in college)
  • "Have you ever had experiences with children? What did you learn from these experiences?"
  • "What benefits are you looking for when you become a teacher?" (This might be personal benefits, such as job security, compatibility of teaching with raising a family, or respect for community, etc)
  • "Describe an instance in which you led others."
  • "Can you describe a circumstance when you had to be creative in a situation that could not be resolved easily?"
  • "With a day off and money not an issue, what would you do?" (This question may be asked to determine if you have hobbies and to determine if you are a well-rounded person)
  • "Is there anything you would like to ask the committee?" (Try to listen to what the committee members say; draw a question from their comments)