Answering the “Tell Me About Your Educational Background” Interview Question
- Understand how to connect your educational history to the role for which you’re interviewing.
- Know why employers ask about your educational background.
- Be prepared to answer other frequently asked interview questions about your education.
Most interns and entry-level employees don’t have a ton of actual work experience, so many interviewers focus on their educational background instead. How you perform in school can say a lot about how you’ll perform in a new role. In fact, the more education you have, the more likely your income will be higher and the less likely you are to be unemployed. Highlighting how your education and relating it back to your job is a pivotal question to answer in a job interview. In this guide, we’ll tell you what education-related questions to expect and how to answer them.
Crafting Your Answer: A Step-by-Step Guide
We understand that it can be a challenge to formulate the right response when asked about your educational background, especially when it needs to resonate with your potential employer’s expectations. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to help you construct an impactful answer:
Step 1: Identify Relevant Aspects of Your Education
First, take stock of your educational journey. List down the key courses, projects, extracurricular activities, internships, or certifications you’ve attained. As you do this, think critically about which aspects are most relevant to the role you’re applying for. For instance, a course on data analysis would be significant if you’re applying for a data science position.
Step 2: Understand the Job Requirements
Go through the job description in detail. Highlight the skills, experiences, and qualifications the employer is looking for. Some of the required skills might not be explicitly stated, so try to infer what might be useful based on the nature of the job.
Step 3: Draw the Connection
Now that you know what aspects of your education are important and what the job entails, the next step is to draw a connection between the two. This step is crucial because it shows the employer that you’ve done your homework and understand how your educational background makes you a fit for the job. Describe how specific courses, projects, or extracurricular activities have equipped you with the skills necessary for the role.
Step 4: Practice Articulating Your Answer
Once you’ve structured your response, practice delivering it. Remember, communication is not just about the content but also the delivery. Practicing will help you ensure that your answer is clear, concise, and confident.
Step 5: Review and Refine
After practicing, review your response. Ask yourself, “Does this answer accurately represent my education? Does it demonstrate how my education prepares me for this role?” If the answer is no to any of these questions, refine your response until it does.
Follow these steps, and you’ll be well-equipped to answer questions about your educational background in a way that not only highlights your qualifications but also shows how you can add value to the company.
“Tell me about your educational background”: Sample answers
Like any “Tell me about yourself” question, a great response is all about connecting your qualifications and experiences to what you can do for the employer. Here are three strong example answers for “Tell me about your educational background.”
Example 1: Accounting internship
Example 2: Entry-level event planner
Example 3: Software developer role
Tips on talking about your education
Here are some general tips for discussing your education during an interview:
- Keep it relevant and recent. Highlight aspects of your education that relate to the job and company at hand. Likewise, recent events are more applicable, so stay away from anecdotes about high school.
- Education = work. If you’re interviewing for an internship, it’s unlikely anyone will ask you about your work experience. If they do, it’s fine to discuss your academic experience instead.
- Don’t repeat your resume. The employer already knows where you went to school from your resume. This question is your opportunity to connect your education to the job by focusing on specific coursework and relevant details.
- Extracurriculars and certifications count. Activities and clubs are a huge part of a person’s education, so be sure to highlight any relevant extracurriculars to the interviewer. You can also mention any additional certifications or online courses, if applicable to the role.
Other interview questions about your educational background
Interviewers ask a variety of questions about your educational background. In addition to, “Tell me about your educational background,” here are seven of the most common ones.
- How does your education relate to your career?
- Why did you choose your major?
- How does your major relate to this role?
- What classes have you taken that relate to this internship/job?
- Why did you choose to attend [name of school]?
- Tell me about a course or project that helped you succeed professionally.
- What types of extracurricular activities do/did you participate in? How do these relate to your career goals?