If you’re a younger job applicant, many of the job interview questions you will face will be about college. After all, college represents a very big part of your resume. You won’t have as much real life experience, you won’t have as much knowledge. What you have is your college experience, and so companies are going to ask you questions about skills and talents that are relevant to the job, but which also relate back to college.
Adapting to change is one such question, and one of potential behavioral questions about adapting to change is the following:
Behavioral Interview Question: How would you describe your transition from high school to college? Did you face any particular problems? How did you handle them?
There are a lot of potential answers to this type of question. Often you’ll be asked questions about change management that require you to show off how easily you adapt, but in this case the answer is going to be slightly different:
- Acknowledge There Was a Challenge – College/University is very different than high school. You’ll want there to be some type of challenge. High school can be harder as well, at least emotionally, but you don’t want high school to sound like the hard part and college to sound easy. Share some sort of challenge that you faced entering or in the early stages of college, so that you’ll be able to share what you did to adapt.
- Talk Up Your College – Try your best to say something good/great about your college. Keep in mind that the employer wants to be impressed by your entire academic background, and your college experience is a big part of that.
- Share Your Process to Success – As always with any question that seems to speak negatively about something of your past, it’s important that you follow up with what you did to change for the future.
“I was always good at written tests. But in college, tests are the entirety of your grade, meaning that there is no buffer to improve your grade should you struggle on a particular test. Given that this University also had one of the top business schools in the nation, I could tell right away I couldn’t get away with cramming and would have to come up with better study habits. I remember in one of my biology classes, the tests were notoriously difficult, so in order to adapt I spent the entire semester trying to figure out exactly what I would need to do in order to learn and thrive academically. After dedicating every day to learning how to study for that class, I learnt what study habits worked best for my own memorization and learning, and the rest of acclimating towards college life became much easier.”
Of course, you have to be prepared for them to ask you follow up questions (in this case, what those study habits were), but if you can show you adjust to change and take it as an opportunity to talk up your background, you’ll impress the employer.
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