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The Ivy Coach Daily

January 9, 2015

Interviews with Alumni

It’s alumni interviewing season. Don’t attend an alumni interview unprepared. It may not be the single most important component of one’s candidacy to a college but it’s a component nonetheless.

It’s the season for alumni interviews! For those applicants who applied Regular Decision, your cell phone might be ringing off the hook with interview requests. No, you’re not Kim Kardashian. Alumni of the schools you applied to are just fulfilling their obligation to their alma maters by reaching out to you to schedule your interview. When you do receive this call (or email), it’s very important to be extremely polite. If the interview wants to meet you on Tuesday or Wednesday at 5 PM, don’t say, “I have soccer practice. Can’t do it then. Would 8 PM work?” It’s great that you proposed an alternative and all but you’re a high school student. Your biggest obligation is soccer. The alum might have a spouse, kids, a job, a mortgage…all things that you don’t have to worry about. So the alum’s schedule takes priority. If you have soccer practice, miss it. It’s as simple as that.

As for the alumni interview, it is true that the alumni interview is not the most important component of one’s candidacy to a given university. It is true that one of the main functions of alumni interviews is to satisfy the alumni, to make them feel as though they’re involved in the admissions process, in selecting the next batch of students who will attend their alma mater. But make no mistake — just because it’s not the most important component of your application to these schools, that does not mean that what you say on these interviews and how you act doesn’t matter. Because it most certainly does.

We have just about every question that alumni pose to applicants. We’ve aggregated them over the course of years. And the vast majority of times, students don’t answer these questions in the manner in which they should. As an example, when a student is asked her favorite book, she should certainly not reply “The Great Gatsby.” Everyone and their third cousin knows that this F. Scott Fitzgerald book is required reading in high schools across America. Demonstrate that you read for pleasure instead! There are so many traps on these alumni interviews and indeed giving bad answers or coming across as conceited among so many other things can lead to a negative evaluation. And that negative evaluation is absolutely factored into admissions decisions.

If you’re interested in interview prep, fill out our free consult form and indicate that you’re interested in alumni interview prep.

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