The Ivy Coach Daily

November 9, 2014

A Word on Alumni Interviews

Alumni interviews have been around for a while. Remember the alumni interview featured in “Risky Business”?

It’s college alumni interview season! So if you pick up the phone (or if a parent or pool cleaner picks up the phone in your home), be sure to be nice. If that alumni interviewer asks if you’re available next Thursday at 4 PM to meet him at Starbucks for an interview, don’t say that you have basketball practice. Don’t say that you’re busy. Their time is more valuable than yours. You’re only in high school. Get over yourself. And don’t go unprepared into that interview. We regularly prep students for alumni interviews. We’ve aggregated just about all of the questions alumni interviewers at highly selective colleges — like the Ivy League colleges — have asked students over the years and we make sure that our students know how to answer these questions. If you’re interested in interview prep, fill our our free consultation form today and indicate that you seek interview prep. You don’t want to prep the day before the interview. You need what we tell you to be able to sink in and we’re going to likely give you direction on research that you have to do before the meeting.

Alumni interviews are not the most important component of an application to a highly selective college. In some ways alumni interviews are as much to satisfy alumni — to make them feel like they’re a part of the process of choosing their alma mater’s next class — as they are to evaluate students. But they do count. Those evaluations are reviewed and sometimes one thing that a student says in an interview can confirm something that an admissions officer thought — and lead to rejection. Oh, and as for evaluative vs. informational interviews (i.e., Dartmouth College is “evaluative,” while Cornell University is “informational”), it all pretty much means the same thing. The only thing you should really take note of is if a school mentions that interviews are “strongly recommended.” That means something! For instance, Haverford College says this about alumni interviews: “Interviews are generally available beginning in the spring of your junior year through early January of your senior year. If you live within 150 miles of the Haverford campus, we strongly recommend that you have an on-campus interview. If you live further than 150 miles from campus, we recommend that you interview on campus if you can, but alternatively, you can request an interview with an Alumni Volunteer near your home.” Notice the words “strongly recommend?” We thought so.

So start prepping now for your alumni interviews. We conduct our prep via Skype so that we can see how you sit, what your nonverbal behavior is like, how often you make eye contact, and so much more. Don’t waste this opportunity to present yourself in the best possible light to the college of your dreams. And don’t blow this chance by saying something dumb. And so many students say dumb things in these interviews. They just don’t realize it. These dumb comments come out in our prep sessions all of the time. Indeed that’s precisely where these comments should come out…and not during the actual college alumni interviews!

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