Uni interview preparation (graphic design) for shy, inarticulate DD(17 Posts)
DD has just finished AS levels and is hoping to study Graphic Design at uni. The application process usually involves an interview and discussion of her portfolio.
She's OK with people her own age - shy, but has close friends and a busy social life. No special needs that we're aware of, and she's fairly average academically. However, at the moment she CANNOT speak to adults. If one of my friends, or even her grandparents, asks her what A levels she's doing, she'll laugh nervously and look at me to answer. When I refuse, she'll say 'I don't know ...' and then there'll be a long pause before she replies. That's for easy questions when she knows the answer perfectly well. In parent/teacher meetings, she's painfully tongue-tied. I dread to think how she'll cope in an interview, discussing her artistic influences, why she's interested in that uni, etc.
We have a few months to get her ready for chatting with admissions tutors. I think the school offers a mock interview or two, but my feeling is that we need more drastic action than that. Anyone got any ideas? Can you get private tutors to help with that sort of thing? Any extra curricular activities I could suggest to her that would help with verbal confidence (and that there's a remote possibility she'd agree to do)?
Does she have a job? My dd is a year older and has got much better at speaking to adults she doesn't know simply because she has to at work (she works in a cafe). Conversations with customers are obviously usually limited to 'lovely day isn't it, two cappuccinos and a slice of carrot cake please', but it has made a big difference to her confidence.
Singing lessons? May sound silly but helps a lot with confidence and public speaking. Had made a huge difference to my daughter who wouldn't even stay on her own with the teacher to begin with.
At AS level age I find this odd. Surely she must come across adults all day every day. Teachers, friends parents, older family members, shop workers, etc
Has she never had a job? If not I suggest it's something she looks into asap. If it I suggest you start taking her places where she has to deal with adults. Anywhere she needs to ask a question. My
I thinking getting a job as suggested above is a great idea. She will be forced to talk and gradually become more at ease. You cannot tutor someone to speak because it is fear that's stopping her from speaking. So think, 'what can I do to get her speak to people outside her comfort circle on a regular basis?"
Can she go out with one of your friends or a relative (Aunty or something) perhaps to a cafe or to do some shopping? Make up some excuse like its a treat and see how she is? Also perhaps start socialising with her and other grown ups. So have bbqs or other activities (church?) where there are grown ups and maybe brief someone to see if she'd talk to them.
If she can't or doesn't want to take a job, perhaps she could volunteer for a charity. Doing the till for a couple of hours on a Saturday would be great. Or grooming dogs in a dogs trust sort of thing. Does she have any hobbies? Can she take a younger sibling out for a few hours and see how she is? She will have to interact with people say to buy a drink or lunch? Get movie tickets?
Don't forget the interviewers will come across shy students all the time and will try to get the best out of them. Also do you think your presence might inhibit her in the circumstances you've described - parents evenings etc?
Thirdly, if she's got her portfolio, then much of the conversation will probably revolve around that and her personal statement. DS had a number of portfolio/ interviews this year - he was nervous but came out of them having enjoyed them because the admissions tutors were interested in what he had to say.
I wouldn't worry and would leave it up to her. Making it an 'issue' isn't going to help. I'd also have a bit of confidence in the Uni interviewers. They will be used to dealing with all sorts of students. They are looking for potential not the finished article - it's not a job interview.
I'd suggest splitting up when you go to open days, perhaps, suggest she goes to the taster sessions or subject talks on her own and don't worry if she is quiet when you are around. It might still be useful if you go as you can help her organize her thoughts and talk things through with her.
A lot of Mumsnetters think parents shouldn't go to their DCs Uni Open Days but I went to quite a few with my DC because THEY wanted me to. It was much easier logistically and they liked having my opinion. I was always extremely careful not to get too involved or to give my own opinion too freely. We always split up during the day.
Thanks, everyone. Yes, she does have a job, in a shop. She manages to answer customer questions about where things are, I think, but is usually 'tidying' rather than on checkout, so not a huge amount of interaction. Good thinking about days out with people. Maybe just a regular dose of 'you and X are going to spend the afternoon together' and force her into one-on-one socialising. I feel sorry for anyone I persuade to take that on, though - she's such hard work with everyone, and comes back complaining about what inane questions they ask her! If there are more people, it just doesn't work - she runs away and hides, or lets her younger siblings talk for her. With teachers, she's OK once she knows them and if she likes them - but usually gives the first impression of being grumpy and uninterested before she feels able to open up a bit.
Singing - yes, I think that would be GREAT. She actually has a lovely voice ... but she's never agreed to it so far when I've mentioned the idea. I'll try to persuade her again, though.
Contrived days out with well meaning adults don't sound like a bundle of fun to me. . If she has got herself a job then surely she is capable of a Uni interview.
I'd also suggest a bit of practice of the most predicatble questions - why this subject, why this course? And make sure she's got something to say about anything she writes on her UCAS statement and the work in her portfolio.
Get her to actually practice walking into the room, smiling, saying hello, keeping eye contact and talking with an upbeat tone of voice about a piece of her work.
Even if she has to rehearse her answers in front of a mirror it's easier to talk confidently in interview if you know roughly what you are going to say, than if you have to think everything up on the spot.
I would encourage her to write out a script of the kind of thing she would say about her portfolio, plus other obvious questions like what attracted her to the course and the uni. Not to memorise but to have in her head as back up. Then I would say 'I have every confidence in you' and leave her to it. It sounds to me like she falls back on others when they are present. Maybe when she is alone with an interviewer - and if it's what she really wants to do - she will find her voice.
Write a list of possible questions. Such as tell me about your specialised interest, tell me about what area of graphics you like best, what influences you, why this uni, etc.
Then. Between you write out the answers.
Then rehearse as if for a play, learn the script. You asking the questions, dd answering them. Yes she will still be shy and nervous but if she's prepared then she will feel less nervous.
I work at a uni with a graphic design degree. They come across all sorts of personalities and temperaments. I imagine they'll mainly look at the portfolio, which will also give your DD something to talk about rather than more general, open questions. If the work is good, she'll be ok!
Have a look at LAMDA tuition. Google LAMDA teachers- they do all the skills she needs- she doesn't have to do exams etc but it could have a massive impact. Also volunteering over the summer.
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