We get SO many questions about interviews that we’ve decided to consolidate some of our advice. Interviews are not the most important part of your application, so above all else: RELAX.
This is a question we get often, and we want to start by debunking a theory about touring colleges. A lot of students and parents think that they’re touring colleges in order to make a grand impression and to demonstrate interest in that particular school. And that is not the case.
By the time kids get to the interview, there are so many strenuous, variable parts of the operation, that they are usually just ready to assert control over what they can—namely, the essay and the interview. While we fully understand the desire to work hard at an area of the application where you can exert some effort with the objective of producing a result, unfortunately, no matter how much you put into the interview, it’s just not going to have much bearing on your admission. While essays can make or break an acceptance, interviews are also an exercise in you getting to learn about the school.
There’s a lot to think (and stress) about when it comes to preparing for a college interview, but your outfit doesn’t have to be one of them. At the end of the day, the interviewer is not there to judge your outfit. They just want to get to know you a little better and put a face to the application.
Although we’ve written in the past to give you a run-down about on-campus interviews and if you should schedule them, we thought…hey, it’s spring. You might need a refresher as well as a guidebook on where they’re even an option and if you should start thinking about these elusive on-campus interviews. Here we go:
There are so many components to the application process, it can be hard to determine exactly the right recipe for success. Campus interviews are certainly the most interactive piece of the application puzzle, but are they right for everyone?
The alumni interview is something that some, not all, schools offer. It’s a topic that we get a lot of questions on, from how to coordinate your interview and what to say to what to wear. Regardless of how much you’ve prepared for any individual school interview, though, it’s worth discussing. But how important is it, really?
Once you submit your application, many colleges will pair you with an alumnus or alumna for an “Alumni Interview.” These interviews occur in coffee shops in person, sometimes they happen in college and university clubhouses in your town, or they might even happen over Skype. For help preparing for your Alumni Interview, refer here. This post is all about the follow-up--namely, the thank you note that you will send to your alum interviewer explaining how appreciative you are and how great it was to speak with them. We’ve outlined a general thank you note below, but it will be crucial to insert some specifics.
An alumni interview is an offering that not all schools have. But if they do, you should take advantage of the opportunity. You’ll meet with the interviewer and have an opportunity to highlight your accomplishments, ask questions, and find out more about the school. More than anything, though, it’s an opportunity to get some face-to-face time with someone who has direct contact with the school. It’s your job to give a positive impression. It’s important to demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm about the school, but it’s also a balancing act.
In addition to sending in your applications, some schools will offer the opportunity for you to have an interview. These college interviews usually take place with a student, professor, or an alumni of the school.
Most colleges offer some kind of interview as part of the application process. These are conducted in a variety of ways; some are on campus with an admissions officer, some are in your local coffee shop with an alumni, some are via Skype. These interviews tend to be relatively informal and offer the admissions office a chance to get to know your personality. An interview will probably not make or break your chances of getting in, but it can add one more dimension to your application, and ensure that you’re not a psychopath.