Candidate Weekend Tips for Chinese Nationals

Yida Ma

Outside of NYU Shanghai Welcome Center

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s Candidate Weekend for NYU Shanghai will be held virtually. Candidate Weekend is a unique admissions evaluation process for Chinese nationals applying to NYU Shanghai. And although it’s being held online this year, the purpose remains the same. Candidate Weekend will allow the school to evaluate the comprehensive quality of students while giving students an opportunity to have a deeper understanding of NYU Shanghai. It is a two-way evaluation and selection process. Here, I want to share some tips about how to prepare for the upcoming virtual Candidate Weekend.

Read all of the Candidate Weekend Instructions Carefully

Prepare your Mindset for the Interview

As far as Candidate Weekend tips go, the first and most important tip for preparing for Candidate Weekend is to carefully read the instructions once you receive the full schedule. The instructions include information regarding timeline, deadline, notes and rules, so it’s highly important that you pay close attention to every single sentence. 

If you take time to review the schedule and have a firm grasp of what it entails, your participation in Candidate Weekend will run smoothly. You’ll get ahead of any technical problems and familiarize yourself with the interface. This will set you up for success and make sure you don’t miss an important deadline for Candidate Weekend.

Prepare your Mindset for the Interview

Prepare your Mindset for the Interview

If you’ve read the schedule for Candidate Weekend, you already know that it is composed of three parts. The Duolingo English language test, online individual interview, and a Meet NYU Shanghai Live Webinar. 

The preparation for the Duolingo English test is relatively simple and straightforward. You can take practice tests for free to get familiar with the interface and task types before taking the actual test. The Meet NYU Shanghai Live Webinar will provide you an opportunity to hear from and engage with leadership and current students directly. Here I want to focus on how to prepare for the online interview.

Doing a one-on-one interview with an admissions officer conducted in English may sound intimidating, but there’s no need to panic. We want you to succeed and will not ask questions meant to trip you up. The admissions officer just wants to know you and communicate with you on an equal footing.

So, don’t let stress affect your interview performance. Think of this interview as a video chat with a new friend. This friend is very curious about you and wants to hear about your insights and thoughts. All you have to do is relax, organize your thoughts, and show this new friend who you are.

Prepare Your Interview Environment, Including Network and Hardware

Prepare Your Interview Environment

One more tip for your online interview is that you should test the computer and internet used for the interview. If you use a laptop or iPad, please charge it beforehand or plug in the power cord. You can use some video call software to test whether the computer’s video, audio, and network runs normally. It will also show if the sound and picture effects are satisfactory. The interview time is limited. Don’t let your interview time be delayed or shortened due to hardware or network problems.

This is a video interview, so ensure you are in a quiet and tidy space. You may have been amused by the story of the “BBC Dad.” His live interview was interrupted by two cute babies’ entering the room. In order to avoid such a scene, tell your family in advance about the interview. That way, you’ll prevent unexpected entry or loud background noise.

The admissions officer will not judge you for the cleanliness of your room. However tidying up your interview space and choosing a clean background will show your interviewer that you value the opportunity. It can also help the admissions officer focus on you and what you are saying rather than being distracted by too many background details.

Preparing Your Answers and Being Interviewed in English

Preparing Your Answers

Many students have asked us how to perform well in the interview with admissions officers. As an admissions officer, the answer to this question might sound cliché. But it comes from the bottom of the heart: Just be yourself.

When facing a question, don’t guess what kind of answer the admissions officer expects to hear. Admissions officers have extensive interview experience, and your disguise may be uncovered” under detailed follow-up questions.

NYU Shanghai is an inclusive, diverse, and equal community. Everyone is encouraged to be themselves and express their true thoughts and opinions. We want to see the uniqueness and strength in each candidate, and also hope that the addition of new members can bring more vitality and dimensions to our community in terms of life experience, ways of thinking, and vision. Therefore, don’t presuppose the admissions officer’s preferences and shape yourself into a certain category.

Interview questions have nothing to do with professional or academic knowledge, and there are no standard answers. Admissions officers just want to learn about your curiosity, leadership, communication skills, learning ability, adaptability, team spirit, and other comprehensive qualities, so you should try your best to present your true self in your answer.

Of course, the prerequisite for all this is to have a high level ability to communicate in English. This is the same as the comprehensive quality, which is accumulated and gained over a period of time. From now on, what you can do is to listen more and talk more every day. You don’t need to worry about whether your grammar is correct, whether the words used are advanced, and whether the accent is authentic. The most important thing is to get used to and dare to express your thoughts and ideas in English, and let the admissions officer know clearly what you think.

The Selection Goes Both Ways

The Selection Goes Both Ways

Candidate Weekend is a two-way process. But all in all, don’t think of it as an exam. Here are the three things you should keep in mind that will go a long way.

Students should come with the aim to gain information and discern for themselves whether NYU Shanghai is right for them.

Grasp the opportunity to show yourself, enjoy the process, and finish it with a relaxed mind. No matter what the result is, you can use this opportunity to know yourself better and be more fully prepared for the future.

Finally, if I have to share one more tip for preparing for Candidate Weekend, it is to stay safe by taking some simple precautions during this special period: keep exercising, maintain a strong body and positive mind, and show the best and truest you during your interview!