Many colleges over the years have done away with on campus interviews by college admissions counselors and/or selected current students. Instead, many colleges — and in particularly the highly selective universities — have turned almost exclusively to alumni interviewers. Alumni interviewers can range in age from fresh out of college to well into their 90’s but what unites them all, typically, is a love for their college.
Some alumni choose not to interview for their highly selective college because they find it disheartening that so many of the students whom they interview get denied admission. They’re surprised and sometimes even angered that a student they gave a glowing review wouldn’t earn a spot at their alma mater. Just because a student interviews well and the alum happens to like this kid doesn’t mean he should get admitted. The alumni interview is a small piece of the highly selective college admissions puzzle.
Maybe it’s narcissism. Maybe it’s an unfamiliarity with the highly selective college admissions process. Maybe it’s misplaced anger. Any way you cut it, college alumni interviewers are a valuable tool for admissions offices. They are (ideally) salesmen for the college. They rave to prospective students why they should attend their alma mater. They have passion. And they’re in your neighborhood…it’s not like you typically have to travel far to see them.
We just don’t understand why college alumni interviewers get upset if their interviewees don’t get in. The interviewers don’t necessarily know the students’ test scores, their grades, what their college essays and recommendations are like. And that’s not even all of it. Take a chill pill, alumni interviewers. Your highly selective college is just that — highly selective. That means not everyone gets in. That means most don’t. That means the students you interview probably won’t either. And it’s certainly not a reflection on you!
Check out this newsletter on what applicants shouldn’t do on alumni interviews.