While many highly selective colleges are quite straightforward with applicants that alumni interview evaluations aren’t a big component of a student’s case for admission (and they’re telling the truth about this!), we’d like to point out that colleges can do a better job of screening their alumni interviewers. And while this is nothing new and it should thereby come as no surprise, some of the things that alumni interviewers do and say is absolutely ridiculous.
Some months ago, we wrote about an alumni interviewer for Harvard. If Harvard knew some of the things this interviewer was saying this past admissions cycle, we suspect they would not allow him to continue to represent their school. But Harvard isn’t alone. Far from it. Over the years, we’ve heard about alumni interviewers who tell applicants that they don’t think they’ll get in (most schools don’t even share grades and test scores with alumni interviewers so how on earth would they know?). We’ve heard about alumni interviewers who recommend the great places for first-year students to buy alcohol (while underage). We’ve heard about alumni interviewers who make racial remarks. We’ve heard about alumni interviewers who interview students alongside three other alums without ever even warning the student it was a group interview. It’s all, well, quite commonplace. And that is most regrettable.
We fully understand that alumni interviews are as much to satisfy alumni and make them feel as though they’re a part of the admissions process as it is to gauge if a student is right for a particular university. The vast majority of alumni get this too. But that doesn’t mean that colleges shouldn’t spend more time training their alumni interviewers on what they should — and should not — ask and what they should — and should not — say. It’s in the best interest of these colleges that are often being poorly represented and it’s in the best interest of the applicants to these universities.
Agree? Disagree? We’re curious to hear from our readers so post a Comment below to share your thoughts on alumni interviews.