College Interviews, Part 4: How to answer the dreaded “What are your weaknesses?” question

Post By: COYD Staff

college interviewAnother interview question that is difficult and possibly the most dreaded question of all is “What are your weaknesses?” It seems like a lose-lose question for any interviewee but if you really understand the question and understand why an interviewer would ask such a question, this question could actually give you an opportunity to show some of your greatest qualities. Below are few things to consider when tackling this question:

1. Know the reason why they ask this question.

Usually college interviewers ask this question because they want to see if you are constantly evaluating yourself and to see if you are self-aware. They also want to see if you are teachable and flexible and have the humility to admit your weaknesses.

2. Talk about a real weakness and how you overcame it.

Share an actual weakness and walk through the steps you took to overcome it. This is a great opportunity to show your problem-solving skills and your self-discipline.

3. If they ask you for a current weakness, be honest!

If they ask you for a current weakness, be honest with them. Once again, I believe self awareness is a strength. Remember a college interview is different from a job interview. College is a learning institution so they are looking for students who are ready to learn and grow. If they can see willingness for self-improvement, they’ll also see maturity, humility and a teachable spirit which are qualities needed for success in college, your career and in life.

4. Don’t evade the question.

Like all psychologists tell their patients, the first step is admitting you have a problem. Unless you are Superman, all of us are a work in progress and we all have problems. No one expects you to be perfect at the age of 17. If you can’t even think of one weakness or you try to evade the question, the interviewer will think one of two things: 1) you don’t have enough self-awareness to know your weaknesses 2) you have too much pride to admit your weaknesses.

5. Weaknesses to stay away from.

I’m a workaholic.
I’m a perfectionist.

Unless these are actually huge weaknesses in your life and you have specific stories to prove it, don’t even go there. If they are true weaknesses, make sure to share how they have negatively affected your lifeself and show how you are overcoming them.


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