What was your interview like and how did you think you performed?

My interview was conducted in a group setting with three other prospective students and two SMU professors. Generally, the professors were very friendly and tried to engage us all in conversation. I felt that they were trying to mirror the SMU classroom setting.

I was quite confident of most of the things I said during the interview. I also enjoyed positive interactions with the other two candidates. I had some mixed feelings about my overall performance, however, because at one point of the interview I was caught off-guard by the questions and thus did not deliver the best possible response I could have.


What do you think is the objective of having these interviews?

I think the interviews help both SMU and prospective students alike assess their suitability and adaptability towards SMU and their preferred discipline. Through the interviews, we as potential candidates get the chance to experience being a part of a group task and discussion, which is similar to SMU’s learning and assessment style.

The interviews are also a chance for the professors and prospective candidates to get to know each other better. It is a great opportunity for candidates to ask any questions they might have about the school or discipline.


What do you think the interviewers look for during the interview?

I think the interviewers are looking for prospective students to share their thoughts openly, so that they have an idea of who they are as individuals.


What tips do you have for prospective students?

I think prospective students should not be afraid to voice their concerns during the interview. Instead, they should take it as an opportunity to initiate a group discussion. They should also remind themselves that it is a group effort, and not drag others down in order to make themselves look better.


In your opinion, is there anything in particular that prospective students can read up on or study prior to the interview, to better enable them to participate in the discussion?

The questions in my interview mostly pertained to the current affairs at that time, e.g. “What is a pressing social issue in Singapore that has come to your attention?” As such, I think it would be greatly beneficial to be aware of current affairs and happenings. Not just in Singapore, but around the world.

During my interview, we were each asked to cite a major social issue in Singapore, and the rest of us were supposed to respond to their views in addition to expressing our own. I talked about income inequality in Singapore and how it is often inevitable that some people are left behind in society, as well as possible policy measures that could alleviate this social problem.

The interviewers then proceeded to ask questions specific to the issues brought up, such as policy suggestions or possible legislation that we thought could help resolve the social problem(s) being discussed. Although it required a slight bit of legal knowledge, it did not require in-depth technical knowledge on any particular topic or subject. For instance, I was asked to come up with a policy to address the issue of income inequality. I remember mentioning that to narrow the income inequality gap, there must first be a policy or law in place to prevent discrimination so that people have equal access to education and opportunities. This was based on what I had learned during GP (General Paper) classes in JC.

As you can see, it was quite useful having these ideas and knowledge at the back of my mind. When familiarising themselves with current affairs, it would be good for prospective students to form their own opinions as well.


Has your experience in SMU shattered any misconceptions you had previously?

I think one common perception I’ve heard is that SMU attracts more extroverts than introverts because of the school culture and the learning style, which seemingly require a certain level of courage and aggression. However, this can be regarded as a misconception because the students selected comprise a range of personality types. In my experience, the culture at SMU enables a lot of introverts in SMU to actively speak up and voice their opinions during seminars.

Verna Goh Shilei, Year 3
School of Law
Bachelor of Laws (LL.B)
SMU Sports Union, Deputy Marketing and Corporate Communications Director
Raffles Junior College