College Admissions Interviewing

College Interviewing, Interviewing for Colleges, Ivy League Interviews

While the Princeton college interview in “Risky Business” may have been before your time (if you’re a high school student), let it be a lesson. College admissions interviews that don’t go by the playbook don’t necessarily turn out badly for the applicant.

College admissions interviewing season is almost upon high school seniors. If you haven’t yet had a chance to check out our video, sneak a peek at this video on college admissions interviewing. It should give you a good idea of what not to do! The “New York Times” ran an article yesterday on “The Choice” asking if college interviews really matter. The piece stresses how college alumni interviewers often aren’t trained, how they can ask questions out of left field, and how they carry little weight in the college admissions process.

We beg to differ. Does the alumni interview carry as much weight as the SAT? Of course not. Just because you hit it off with an interviewer doesn’t mean you’re going to get into their alma mater. It doesn’t even mean that interviewer is going to give you a good review. Who knows what they’ll write up once you leave their house, coffee shop, or where ever you happen to meet.

But it’s still a component of your application and what an alumni interviewer writes up can often confirm what a college admissions counselor may think. If they think you have little intellectual curiosity based on recommendations and your essays, the alumni interviewer can confirm that. Sometimes, what a student says on their alumni interview can even on its own lead to a denial. You just never know.

And we want to address two other points made in “The Choice” piece. A student thought it was weird to meet at the alumni interviewer’s home. Why is that weird? Where do you want them to meet you? At the shoe store? At Bloomingdale’s? Alumni are busy. They work. They’ll meet you at their workplace, their home, or a coffee shop. Don’t be so picky. Don’t let it get to you. Everyone is dealing with the same thing here.

Lastly, let’s say that an alumni interviewer asks you a question out of left field like asking you to “sing a Miley Cyrus song.” We admit that’s weird. But unless you’re absolutely offended and think your answer will ruin your chances of admission, why would you bother reporting this to the institution? Later in life, when you have a bad job interview, you don’t then go and get the job interviewer fired. Besides, reporting it to the institution may well make you come across as a complainer.

Check out this newsletter on college interviewing and let us know your thoughts on college admissions interviewing by posting below!

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1 Comment

  • Anna says:

    I’ve heard conflicting information with regard to alumni interviews. I’ve heard that the interview reports are rarely read or they are all reviewed, or that admission officers simply toss the applicants they feel don’t have a shot rather than contact an alumnus to interview them valuable time of an alumnus (this to me sounds more realistic for some reason)

    If interviews don’t carry much weight then why bother…I mean what is the point? I can’t see why an admission officer would contact a busy alumnus to interview a candidate then not read the report.

    Would love to hear back. Thanks.

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