How to survive the dreaded Westminster Interview..

If you are reading this, you have to admit to yourself that you are afraid. Afraid of what?..I hear you asking yourself. Well..you have applied to Westminster University and found yourself in the position of attending an interview either for the BA Public Relations course or for the other courses. Nonetheless, you are here and still afraid.

I remember when I was invited for a group interview at Westminster University and I was terrified at the thought of being in a room full of people, competing in a way, against me, for a position on BA Public Relations course. What was I going to say? What was I going to do? What was I going to wear? Would I make it there on time? Will the interviewers be tough? I did not have a clue, you could say I was clueless or maybe uninformed. Take your pick, but I know that is how you are feeling. I remember Googaling for hours trying to find an answer, but all I encountered was people trying to give me tips such as: “practice, practice, practice interviewing; dress to impress; check out the people/company/university which are interviewing you; etc…blah blah blah. Dear Internet 2.0, I am a student, I am lazy, afraid, busy,horny and in the mood to party, and let’s not forget the fact that I need to piss off my parents every second of the day, so…that is already a job in itself. I just don’t have the time to do all those things. Well…I am here to tell you that you don’t really have to do all those things. You cannot practice for an interview, as you cannot practice for a football match. Okay…maybe not the best analogy, but what I was trying to say was that in football, much like in interviews, the unexpected can happen. Of course, you can train, practice, engage, pursue, learn, take your pick again from the Synonym Master…but can you ADAPT?

When I went for the BA Public Relations interview last year, Simon and Trish were there to interview us. Of course, I am talking about Merlin and Miss Independent. But let me start the story from the beginning, so that I dont become one of those bloggers who talks too fast. Hiss!

Ahem (clearing throat)…My interview was scheduled on a dark and gray day, at around 5 o’clock. I am not exactly sure of this, because my head is filled with PR matters, nevertheless, for the purposes of this story, let’s assume it was 5. I arrived in Harrow, at Kenton Station at about 12. Well…I thought I would make a head start but boy that was a head start! I arrived at the University and having been guided by that security people to the actual reception/small room/ not enough chairs! I was relieved and happy. But I wasnt really, because now I had to think about the interview. Aaaah…make it stop! What? says the little English voice in my head. It doesn’t matter, you never listen anyway. So, I decided to go outside for a cigarette. Well…that did not go accordingly to plan, as I did not have any. SEE! this is where you have to adapt!? Anyway…I decided to go into “Town”, but I took the wrong turn and ended up in a small pub asking if I can use the toilet. I saw a shop!..says the little voice. I go to it, open the door and asking the shopkeeper to give me a 10 deck of marlboro lights. Well, I am happy now. Cash or card? Card. Beep, Beep goes the little machine and I apparently have no money. No money, No cigarettes, and No interview for hours. Why did I not take some money with me? Because I forgot. I followed the tips on the internet and ended up worrying about what I was going to wear. White Shirt? Red Shirt? Don’t ask me what I wore, because for the life of me I cannot remember. It was something along the lines of Jeans, flat shoes, a shirt and a jacket. I think I looked PR enough, right? Well..Now I had to go back to the actual reception/ small room/ not enough chairs! and relax. I didn’t really. It was nerve racking watching the clock tick, second by second and then smile as more people were coming in for the same interview. I then decided to have a conversation with the Lady who was in control of this reception. She was a sport, Lol. But enough of this. I have an interview. After the herd had gathered, some early, some late, we were greeted by Merlin with a hello and a how are you today?…Nervous? No…half scarily answer from the herd. We walked through The Street (as it is called) and we were taken to the elevators. Well…that was awkward. Complete silence. Of course, Merlin could smell the fear and was smiling all the way to the top. I remember someone attempting to have a conversation, but that was short lived. Him how are you? Fine..How are you? Not bad…BING! Doors open and we are then guided through a corridor to a room. Quite small I might add again, the room that is. What is with these small rooms? Are they purposefully trying to make us scared? We all sit down and take our jackets/coats off. Merlin was not joined by his other half Miss Independent, therefore he decided to give us a talk about Public Relations and Westminster University. The atmosphere was quite tense. People were not relaxed. It was like a Hunchback Convention/Introverts. After a few minutes we were fine. We were asked questions and we answered them to the best of our abilities. Jolly good! … says the English voice in my head. Wait..who’s that? It’s Trish Evans. Now it all begins. They are here, we are here…let’s do this. Amber?..Here!; Matthew?..Here!; Philip?….Philip?..Here! Phew! I almost blew it. It was fine though, so I assumed. Now they start firing questions at you. Who are you and tell us your interests? Well..I had a plan to say that I like surfing, but I forgot about it. I think I said : “My name is Philip, I am 18 years old and I like basketball, movies and girls”. Hmm… That answer is debatable. It provoked some laughs from my fellow competitors, but the PR Duo were smiling and noting everything down. Did I say something wrong? Aaaahh…okay, do not panic! I said to myself. It’s all good. Why did you choose to study Public Relations? I wish I could have said girls, but I said something like: “Well…I am interested in Sports PR and I am eager to learn about this profession”. I said more stuff obviously, but I cannot remember what it was. The questions stopped and the scenarios ensued. What would you do if you worked in Public Relations and you had to work for a tobacco company, selling cigarettes to children under the age of 18, in an undeveloped country? Wow…O____o !? I would! I said proudly. Why?…because it’s a job, not a crime. Yet, this is debatable. The scenarios evolved into: Let’s assume that you work in PR and you have the chance to get to the top but that means that you have to reveal a secret told to you by another PR friend, would you do it? I said: Yeah!.. but what I meant to say was: ” No!” I thought that that was the answer they were looking for. Let me tell you something, At University, there is no right or wrong answer, there is only a debate. And that was that. We put our coats/ jackets back again and us students left together feeling confident that we did the best we could. And we did.

Some of us prepared for the interview, some did not. What happened was the unexpected and we had to adapt. We were all afraid but gradually began to build confidence in ourselves and in our responses. There is no right or wrong, no preparation or preparation. There is only you and Merlin and Miss Independent and a couple of other students around you, feeling the same way that you feel. It is natural and everyone has to go through it at some point. I hope that my experience has taught you something. I hope that you, Yes You!, who are reading this and asking yourself : “What is this blog?”, just be YOU! Don’t be someone you are not. And as for the preparation of the whole interview, screw it! You are young and adventurous only once. Interviews are meant to test who you really are, not who you are trying to be. That they will teach you about it in classes and lectures every day from 10 o’clock until 4. I have no more advice, other than, go forth, go crazy and be You!

Peace and Love,

W.S.P

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About westminster0spin0doctor

I am a Public Relations Undergraduate Student at the University of Westminster. I enjoy Blogging about my PR experience at Westminster University and also PR practitioners/campaigns/news/debates in the "real world".
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22 Responses to How to survive the dreaded Westminster Interview..

  1. Well said Great information, keep up the great work!

  2. Ems says:

    Very interesting reading! I’ve been offered a place on this course at Westminster and I’m still deciding whether I want to make it my firm or insurance. Just wondering what’s your first year timetable like? teaching here sounds good, but how come the course hasn’t been recognised by the CIPR? and can you take a year out for a work placement after the 2nd year?

    • Thank you! Our timetable is quite relaxed to be honest, at times its hectic, but you develop to enjoy it . Essay’s every week, presentations almost every two weeks and group and independent work from time to time. There are also pop quizzez. Timetable is as follows: three days a week attending classes and the rest its free time. woop woop I hear you shouting. To answer your second answer, Westminster University PR does not recognise CIPR because they do not believe in their definition of PR or something along the lines of. To answer your third question, I think you can take a year out. I believe this applies to almost every University. It is entirely up to you if you want to come to University of Westminster to study Public Relations, I am not going to try to convince you…but personally, I love it! I have to research for a presentation tomorrow, but I wish you all the best and hope you will follow the rest of my posts. W.S.D

  3. Ems says:

    I think I will make Westminster my firm anyways.. just need to make sure I’m making the absolute right choice. I’m loving the fact that its only three days a week though haha. I’m choosing between Westminster and Greenwich because I want to stay in London to do a PR course, and whilst I’m more keen on Westminster.. I heard the PR course at Greenwich is CIPR approved. I’m glad to hear you love it there, I will continue to read your posts so I can get a feel about the course and prepare myself for the world of PR!

    • I think you are making a good choice. Wow…coincidentally, I chose Greenwich as my second choice but chose Advertising and Marketing. I was not aware that they have a Public Relations course. Maybe I did not research properly. Dammit! I will try to post more interesting experiences here, I have a lot to share with fellow PR wannabes. The world of PR is limitless and you will find some information that you never knew before!

  4. Cassie says:

    WOW AWESOME! Thanks for this…I have been asked to come to a group interview tomorrow for a radio production course and had no idea what to expect from the interview, so this is a great help!

    • Hey Cassie! Glad I could be of service. I heard that the Radio Production Course is pretty cool, so I am sure that once you get accepted and you come to Westminster University, you will thoroughly enjoy it. Westminster University and the Harrow Campus (not to exclude the other campuses) are really cool. You definitely will not regret joining this University. I hope my post about the interview helped and I hope that you may pass this to other people who also need a little bit of guidance and laughter to guide them past the “Dreaded Interviews”.

      Thank you for taking the time to read my Blog and to post a comment. I hope to keep you up to date with the world of PR, which is fascinating and hope to include some Radio references along the way, to interest you and my other fans.

      Thank you again and good luck with everything!

      Peace and Love,

      W.S.D.

  5. Aidan says:

    Hello, What a great blog you have totally calmed me down about preparing for my interview on Wednesday ^_^ I am applying for the radio production course and I so desperately want to go to this university.

    Thanks for writing this
    Aidan

    • Thank you so much Aidan, I am glad I brought a little bit of excitement with this Blog and I hope your interview will be successful. Actually, I know it will be, if you read this Blog, you should not have any worries whatsoever! If you expressed your desire to join Westminster in your interview, I am sure that they will pick up on it and realise that you are passionate about what you want to become in life. I am always here to help with everything, so if you have any questions or queries about anything and everything, W.S.D. is here to save the day!
      P.s. thank you for taking the time to post a comment and thank you for reading my Blog. Keep yourself updated by subscribing to my email!

      Thank you again.

      Peace and Love,

      W.S.D.

  6. matt says:

    thanks for this ive been very worried for my interview tomorrow “Radio Production (P312)” and this has helped a bit i just hope mine goes the same way.

    • No worries, I am here to help. I hope my article has made you a bit more relaxed when it comes to interviews. Do your research, relax and be yourself and all will go well. Westminster University is a brilliant university and I heard that the Radio Production course is a very good course. Rest assured, you made a good decision. Cheers for posting a comment and if you need further help, do not hesitate to contact me. W.S.D

  7. Pingback: “Surviving the dreaded Westminster Interview…”

  8. bowenleely says:

    Hi blogger,
    I really like your style of writing awesome!! and yes I’m going to have an interview at westminster soon with the journalism course! after reading your post I feel more confident and i just need to be true to myself thanks for the sharing
    And i hope you can keep writing your awesome blog and keep sharing 🙂

    • Hey fellow blogger,

      Thank you, I had a look at your fashion blog and I thoroughly enjoyed it aswell. Make sure you mention your blog in your journalism interview at Westminster University. With that kind of work, you can only impress! I am glad you feel a bit more relaxed about your interview. The journalism course here is very good, great, experienced professors and good students. I will definitely keep writing on this blog, but at the moment I embarked on another project called StudyPR.co.uk.

      Thank you again for you kind and inspiring words. Hope you keep posting gorgeous pics of outfits every day on your blog, don’t give up!

      p.s. be yourself in the interview and you will do just fine 😉

      W.S.D

  9. bowenleely says:

    Thank you for more tips and information of the interview. I just went to your StudyPR.co.uk it is very professional but please don’t forget this blog too because I’m very enjoy reading your blog!!! Looking forwards to your blog:P
    xxx

    • I have not written on this blog for more than a year, but it is your words and others which have asked me to keep writing that make me interested in reviving WSD. You have been more than kind bowenleely. p.s.if you need some much needed coverage for your blog, please email studypr with a good fashion PR story and I will make sure to post an article with your name, picture and a link to your blog. Stay tuned for future posts, thank you again :). W.S.D

  10. bowenleely says:

    Thank you for offering me the coverage I am being really excited with it now…I will try to write a fashion PR story and then email to the studypr asap:)
    xxx bowenleely

  11. bowenleely says:

    Hey, I just had an interview today at Westminster. But I don’t think it goes well but anyway I just want to say thank you for your help. I have start writing my blog again so come and have a look when you have time:D
    bowenleely.

  12. Juju says:

    My interview is tomorrow, and i must say I feel SO MUCH BETTER after reading this !

    Thank your for sharing your experience!

  13. I just like the helpful info you provide on
    your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here frequently. I am fairly sure I’ll learn
    lots of new stuff proper here! Good luck for the next!

  14. Abbie says:

    I have my interview tomorrow and I am really nervous.. but this post has calmed me a little. 🙂 The only thing I am REALLY worried about is the scenario questions… I don’t like being put on the spot haha. Oh well. Let’s just hope it goes OK. 😛

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