Does the college interview really count?

Application Process

Our Counselors Answered:

Does the college interview really count?

Claire Law

Does the college interview really count?

If the interview is “evaluative” it does. If it’s just “informative” it does not make a difference. For example, you may talk with an admission counselor because you have additional questions about the college but no notes will be make in your folder.

Tira HarpazFounderCollegeBound Advice

Does the college interview really count?

It depends. Some schools have an interview that is strictly informative in nature and it generally does not count. Other schools have an evaluative interview and reports are submitted to the admissions office. However, regardless of the type of interview, you should be polite, dress appropriately, don’t chew gum or check your cell phone during the interview and have questions about the school that show you’ve put a little thought into them. If you are rude, obnoxious or unprepared, it is entirely possible that an interview will have a negative impact on your admissions chances.

Mike KentFounder / DirectorCollegeMax Counseling

Does the college interview really count?

Everything counts! Not only does the interview give the college a chance to learn about you, but you will learn about the college as well. Whether you are meeting with an admissions officer on campus, or an alumni interviewer locally, you are helping them to form an impression of you (just like you are forming an impression of them). Most colleges that recommend an interview really do it to help the applicant gain perspective, not to stress them out. That said, while there are many factors that go into an admissions decision, sometimes that little bit of perspective that comes from an interview helps to shine a light on getting to know you better.

Mike KentFounder / DirectorCollegeMax Counseling

Does the college interview really count?

Everything counts! Not only does the interview give the college a chance to learn about you, but you will learn about the college as well. Whether you are meeting with an admissions officer on campus, or an alumni interviewer locally, you are helping them to form an impression of you (just like you are forming an impression of them). Most colleges that recommend an interview really do it to help the applicant gain perspective, not to stress them out. That said, while there are many factors that go into an admissions decision, sometimes that little bit of perspective that comes from an interview helps to shine a light on getting to know you better.

Heather TomaselloWriting CoachThe EssayLady, LLC

Does the college interview really count?

Yes, but maybe not in the way you’d imagine. The college interview is only one piece of the whole big picture as admissions counselors weigh your application. A prospective college also considers your high school transcript, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, admissions essay, and other parts of your application in order to make their decision. How they weigh each component varies from university to university. The interview is only one piece of the puzzle. What if you are nervous, arrive late, or spill your water all over the lap of the interviewer? Rest assured, a bad interview will not ruin your chance of gaining admission, when the other pieces of your application reflect a strong candidacy. However, a good interview can help tip the balance in your favor. It offers a university the opportunity to get to know you in a personal way and sheds light on areas that standardized tests cannot.

Mike KentFounder / DirectorCollegeMax Counseling

Does the college interview really count?

Everything counts! Not only does the interview give the college a chance to learn about you, but you will learn about the college as well. Whether you are meeting with an admissions officer on campus, or an alumni interviewer locally, you are helping them to form an impression of you (just like you are forming an impression of them). Most colleges that recommend an interview really do it to help the applicant gain perspective, not to stress them out. That said, while there are many factors that go into an admissions decision, sometimes that little bit of perspective that comes from an interview helps to shine a light on getting to know you better. Mike Kent CollegeMax Counseling [email protected]

Mike KentFounder / DirectorCollegeMax Counseling

Does the college interview really count?

Everything counts! Not only does the interview give the college a chance to learn about you, but you will learn about the college as well. Whether you are meeting with an admissions officer on campus, or an alumni interviewer locally, you are helping them to form an impression of you (just like you are forming an impression of them). Most colleges that recommend an interview really do it to help the applicant gain perspective, not to stress them out. That said, while there are many factors that go into an admissions decision, sometimes that little bit of perspective that comes from an interview helps to shine a light on getting to know you better. Mike Kent CollegeMax Counseling (818) 519-5279

Kris HintzFounderPosition U 4 College LLC

Does the college interview really count?

Interviews are offered at elite private institutions, such as Ivies, and small liberal arts colleges that take a holistic approach to admissions. Most interviews are conducted by alumni who represent the school regionally, since admissions staffers are busy reading applications. They are typically optional, non-evaluative, and offered throughout the country so as to not require long distance travel for applicants. If admissions says the interview is non-evaluative, then it is non-evaluative. Positive comments from the interviewer certainly add a nice little halo effect, and certainly, a disastrous interview would raise red flags. But I would not lose sleep over college interviews.

Rebecca JosephExecutive Director & Foundergetmetocollege.org

Does the college interview really count?

College interviews count in several ways. They all show your demonstrated interest in a college. For some campuses, interviews are evaluative–that means they count. The interview writes up a report that goes into your file and is considered by the admissions committee. Other colleges have informational interviews where you meet with a student or admissions rep but the interview is just to help you learn more about the college and does not count in the formal admissions process. No matter what, you can write about interviews in your college specific essays and even start email dialogues with people your interview directs you towards on the college campus. YES, they do count.

Reecy ArestyCollege Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & AuthorPayless For College, Inc.

Does the college interview really count?

it has been a pass/fail, make or break situation for years!

Pamela Hampton-GarlandOwnerScholar Bound

Is Interview Significant?

Yes, it is not pleasurable to prepare for hundreds of interviews and they have no relevance in the decision process, so yes remember they do count, everything about the application process is really important and should be taken seriously.

Erica WhiteCollege & Career CounselorMiddletown High School

It depends…

There are two types of college interviews… Evaluative interview…this one counts!! If you interview well, you are more likely to be accepting. If interviewing is not your strong suit, I would steer clear of the interview if it is optional. Informational interview ..this one is more for you to get to know the school better and will not effect your chances of being accepted. But, you still always want to put your best foot foward.

Laura O’Brien GatzionisFounderEducational Advisory Services

Does the college interview really count?

You should always treat the interview as if it does count. Sometimes interviews are simply informative and sometimes they are evaluative. Take the opportunity to introduce yourself, to demonstrate your interest and to learn more about the college. At the least, this will be good practice for a later internship or job interview. At the most, the evaluation could help you when your file is being read in the admissions office.

Keith BermanPresidentOptions for College, Inc.

I was actually asked this question DURING the Yale interview

Yes, the interview counts. YES. Some schools even have cutoffs on the interview score (yes, they are scored) in order to admit someone early. Essentially, the interview is a way to evaluate the two key areas of applicant evaluation: intellectual ability and personality. Having written the official interview reports at Harvard and Yale, I can say in no uncertain terms that the interview was a lynchpin in some students being admitted and others not. I created an iPhone app (http://entoview.com/entoview-college.html) to help students to learn and practice college interview technique, and a funny article about the pet peeves I had as an interviewer: http://www.iaam.com/magazine/magazine/The-5-Pet-Peeves-of-the-College-Interviewer#.TsWA__KVpkY, if these are useful references for you as a reader.

Bill PrudenHead of Upper School, College CounselorRavenscroft School

The Interview: More Relic than Relevant

The importance of an interview depends upon the school and the type of interview. Alumni interviews are in reality more about alumni relations than admissions. They help keep the alums involved and feeling a part of things, but ultimately have little real impact on the application process. In contrast the interviews that are often a part of scholarship competitions can be critically important to those selection processes. Meanwhile, interviews with members of the admission staff either on campus or when they are visiting schools can be valuable, but they are sometimes aimed less at learning about the student than about giving the applicant a chance to learn more about the school. In the end, for a vareity of reason but primarily because of the vast increase in applications, the interview, which one played an important role in the admissions process, has pretty much been related to a side bar status.

Trevor CreedenDirector of College and Career CounselingDelaware County Christian School

Does the college interview really count?

It really depends on the college. If it is required then yes, it will count. If it is recommended then I am going to say yes, it will count as well. If it is optional, then I will say that it will not count that much. Now, it may all depend on how you interview. If you interview well and that person is really excited about having you attend that college or unversity, they may really put in a good word for you and that interview just played a more important role. Most of the time, colleges will answer this question directly if you ask them and let you know if the interview means much in the admissions decision.

Trevor CreedenDirector of College and Career CounselingDelaware County Christian School

Does the college interview really count?

It really depends on the college. If it is required then yes, it will count. If it is recommended then I am going to say yes, it will count as well. If it is optional, then I will say that it will not count that much. Now, it may all depend on how you interview. If you interview well and that person is really excited about having you attend that college or unversity, they may really put in a good word for you and that interview just played a more important role. Most of the time, colleges will answer this question directly if you ask them and let you know if the interview means much in the admissions decision.

Reena Gold KaminsFounderCollege, Career & Life, LLC.

Different colleges use the interview in different ways.

At some colleges, the interview is a part of the candidate’s file; at others, it is not. Most schools are upfront about letting you know whether the interview will be used to make an admission decision. Because of the volume of applicants, the school’s inability to meet requests for all interviews, and the fact that some students are unable to arrange an interview, most schools now offer the interview as a informational opportunity for the student. In other words, it’s a chance for a student to meet with someone who is knowledgeable about the school and ask some basic questions and get a general feel for the school.

Benjamin CaldarelliPartnerPrinceton College Consulting, LLC

Does the college interview really count?

Yes.

Tam Warner MintonConsultantCollege Adventures

Does the college interview really count?

College interviews are generally relaxed and meant as “get to know you” sessions, as much for you as for the college. This is your opportunity to ask questions as well. The interview is not a decisive factor in admissions, it is what is known as a “tip” factor, meaning it could tip the decision in your favor, or not in your favor. Some universities are interested in your character and your integrity. A great interview, where you and the interviewer “hit it off” can help your cause.

Margaret TungStrategistYale University

Does the college interview really count?

The truth is, it’s hard to say and really depends on the school you’re applying to. I would say any of your Tier 1 schools–the top 50 in general or the top 5-10 schools in areas of specificity–probably view the interview as, “we’re interested, now does the person match the application and would the applicant fit in at our school?” So yes. At Tier 2 schools–it’s probably more informational and beneficial to you–in a way, do you, after meeting and talking with the interviewer, want to go to the school? In either case, it’s a great opportunity to show that you’ve got personality, that you’re interesting, and that you really want to go to the school in question.

Chuck SlatePresidentCollege Advisors,LLC

Does the college interview really count?

There are some schools that do what is called an “evaluative interview”. They count the interview –or rather the scoring and comment sheet which the interviewer used toward their admissions decision. Other schools do what is called “informational” interviews. These are more like question-and-answer sessions. And are not supposed to count toward the admissions decision. They include large doses of the students questions about the school. I ususally advise my families to simply abstain from any interviews (you never “have to” interview) until we have coached them on the interview. This first coaching session is about an hour. Then we leave them with a set of questions to rehearse. They practice maybe 2-3 hours over the course of a week or so and then we get back and “mock” an actual interview which I then “grade” and provide feedback on. This way they are ready for any interview–evaluative, informational, or in-between. Don’t forget, admissions people are human beings. Most people will “pull” for the kid who shows they know who they are and what they want. So at least in one sense you can make EVERY interview count.

Reecy ArestyCollege Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & AuthorPayless For College, Inc.

Does the college interview really count?

It has been a pass/fail, make or break situation for years!

Kristina DooleyIndependent Educational ConsultantEstrela Consulting

Does the college interview really count?

The answer is both “YES!” and “It depends.” Soem schools will offer what are called “informational interviews” that are meant to serve as an opportunity for you to ask questions about the application process and the school in general. These types of interviews are not used by the admission staff to make decisions about applicants, but instead serve as an opportunity for prospective students to learn more about the school. Schools that have required interviews or “strongly suggest” students interview will absolutely use the interview as part of their decision making process for applicants. The extent to which the interview is weighed in the decision making process varies from school to school.

Suzanne ShafferOwnerParents Countdown to College Coach

Does the college interview really count?

Yes. It’s a key factor in your offer of admission. Colleges need to know that you are interested and excited to attend their school. Non-interest and lack of follow-up afterwards could mean they will find another applicant who demonstrates interest. Why would they offer you admission if you’re just applying for the sake of applying.

Suzanne ShafferOwnerParents Countdown to College Coach

Does the college interview really count?

Yes. It’s a key factor in your offer of admission. Colleges need to know that you are interested and excited to attend their school. Non-interest and lack of follow-up afterwards could mean they will find another applicant who demonstrates interest. Why would they offer you admission if you’re just applying for the sake of applying.

Suzanne ShafferOwnerParents Countdown to College Coach

Does the college interview really count?

Yes. It’s a key factor in your offer of admission. Colleges need to know that you are interested and excited to attend their school. Non-interest and lack of follow-up afterwards could mean they will find another applicant who demonstrates interest. Why would they offer you admission if you’re just applying for the sake of applying.

Scott Herrmann-KeelingCollege Counselor

Does the college interview really count?

Usually it does, yes. But looking at the website for information on how an interview is handled is a wise idea. Some schools don’t offer interviews at all. Others only offer informational interviews, which don’t actually count in the admissions process. A few schools require them, in which case you bet your bippy they count. Many schools, though, will recommend that you interview if possible. Schools in the latter group recognize that not every student is able to interview. Those who can, though, can make a difference for themselves in the application process. In general, it’s a good idea to interview if you’re at all able to. A strong interview can help an admissions committee make a decision about a student who’s on the cusp of being admitted.

Helen H. ChoiOwnerAdmissions Mavens

It Counts (but not that much)

A college interview doesn’t have as much weight as your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and essays, but a good interview can help your application stand out. On the other hand, if you have a really terrible interview, will that negate your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and essays? Probably not. An interview is a great setting for you to get to know the school and for the school to get to know you! The school wants to know if you would be a good roommate, classroom participator, community leader, etc. They know all about your academics and activities already — now they want to know about the person behind the numbers. So — if you’re nervous about an upcoming interview, relax. It won’t make or break your chances, but it can certainly provide a great venue to show the school what a great person you are and that you are genuinely interested in attending that school. Why else would you be putting yourself through this? Right? Right.

Brian D. CrispFounder and PresidentCrisp Consulting + Coaching; Burton College Tours

Count On It!

Interviews are becoming common in the landscape of college admissions. The question Crisp Consulting + Coaching often hears is “Do these interviews really matter?” The answer is yes but the weight of the interview varies with each school. The Ivy League and other highly-selective schools will offer interviews and consider these interviews to some extent in their admission decisions. . Some schools are relying on interviews to better understand an applicant and to convey the positive aspects of their institution. As applicant pools are continually growing, smaller schools such as Carleton College, Haverford College and Wake Forest University strongly encourage the admission interview. These schools utilize the interview to determine the candidates strengths and interests in attending. Forgoing an interview could cost you the price of admission. Admission interviews are becoming more integral to acceptance and preparing for these interviews is as critical as grades, test scores, activities and essays. Plan on every aspect of the interview as a strategy for college admission success.

Brian D. CrispFounder and PresidentCrisp Consulting + Coaching; Burton College Tours

Count On It!

Interviews are becoming common in the landscape of college admissions. The question Crisp Consulting + Coaching often hears is “Do these interviews really matter?” The answer is yes but the weight of the interview varies with each school. The Ivy League and other highly-selective schools will offer interviews and consider these interviews to some extent in their admission decisions. Many schools are relying on interviews to better understand an applicant and to convey the positive aspects of their institution. As applicant pools are continually growing, smaller schools such as Carleton College, Haverford College and Wake Forest University strongly encourage the admission interview. These schools utilize the interview to determine the candidates strengths and interests in attending. Forgoing an interview could cost you the price of admission.

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

It is on the menu

it is commonly used as tool and access to admissions. Yes, it counts especially in a close competition such as limited seats for the same high school with many applicants.

Nina BerlerFounderunCommon Apps

Does the college interview really count?

I have conducted college interviews for my alma mater, Brown University, for over 20 years, I can say with conviction that the interview is not the main criterion used by colleges to assess candidates. However, every student should come to his or her interview armed with questions for the interviewer and give every indication during the interview that he or she knows a bundle of information about that target school. Interviewers can tell right away whether the student knows about the school and has genuine interest. If I interview for Brown and the student brings up other colleges and does not know about Brown’s unique curriculum, I am sometimes doubtful of his or her interest. I have all my students answer a number of questions before they go on interviews an always carry a short list of questions for the interviewer. Fewer and fewer admissions officers give interviews on site now, but that does not mean a student should not put his or her best foot forward with alums.

Peggy WallaceFounderMaking Conversation, LLC

Does the college interview really count?

They do, if you are ready to give your best impression. It starts by understanding your communication style. Then, identify their communication style so you can be “in sync” with the interviewer. Avoid appearing distant or unprepared or providing memorized responses. Just be your genuine self. Establish rapport. Open doors by winning with words. Develop responses which are thought out ahead of time, not the “automatic” or “right” response, but your personal best answer. If you communicate effectively with confidence and ease, your answers will persuade the interviewer to become your advocate with the school.

Peggy WallaceFounderMaking Conversation, LLC

Does the college interview really count?

For some schools, the college interviews have been renamed as “informational meetings.” Those schools are recognizing the reality that in any interview, especially the college one, is a compatibility session. Do each of you have all the information necessary to make sure it’s a good fit? Most selective schools are assembling classes, not just those who scored 2400 on the SAT. Even if the interview is optional, taking the effort to pursue it provides the school with demonstrated interest, a factor that can work in your favor during the selection process. By doing the interview, at a minimum, you show the school just how enthusiastic you are. In the best case, you make a fantastic impression on someone at the school. A study of 1540 colleges and universities showed the weight given to an interview is only somewhat less than the weight given to work/extracurricular activities. Over 37% indicated that it was of considerable to moderate importance, while 33% said it was of limited importance.

Peggy WallaceFounderMaking Conversation, LLC

Does the college interview really count?

Yes, as you need the occasion to “toot” your own horn, in a nice way. At some point in your life you will have to reconcile yourself to the fact that with new people, in new experiences, at new jobs, people may not know all that much about you ahead of time. It is a good idea to practice this life skill in a positive environment – the college interview. You just won’t be able to convey the same information using just the application.

Peggy WallaceFounderMaking Conversation, LLC

Does the college interview really count?

Yes, if you are properly prepared and know yourself well enough to know what information you wish to convey and how to express it. Using a brief story about a personal experience, you can successfully convey a problem or situation you faced, the obstacles and challenges in your way, what actions you took, how the results panned out, and, of course, what you learned from the experience. Plus, a third-party saying something about how wonderful you are lends credibility to your message. If you had the choice to get another recommendation viewed by the college, why would you avoid it?

Peggy WallaceFounderMaking Conversation, LLC

Does the college interview really count?

They’re definitely important, even if you’re shy. It’s actually fairly common. People who conduct interviews for schools are used to the fact that some kids are shy. About 40% of the US population declare themselves to be shy. But remember that schools want a variety of students with a variety of personalities. If you are shy, interviewers will likely be quite patient with you and give you time to get comfortable. Remember, they want to meet you and find reasons why you might be a good candidate. They want people they interview to get in! It becomes a source of pride.

Scott Herrmann-KeelingCollege Counselor

Does the college interview really count?

Usually it does, yes. But looking at the website for information on how an interview is handled is a wise idea. Some schools don’t offer interviews at all. Others only offer informational interviews, which don’t actually count in the admissions process. A few schools require them, in which case you bet your bippy they count. Many schools, though, will recommend that you interview if possible. Schools in the latter group recognize that not every student is able to interview. Those who can, though, can make a difference for themselves in the application process. In general, it’s a good idea to interview if you’re at all able to. A strong interview can help an admissions committee make a decision about a student who’s on the cusp of being admitted.

Nancy MilneOwnerMilne Collegiate Consulting

Importance of the Interview

The college interview really counts if they say it does. Some schools make it a requirement for admission. Other colleges will make it optional (read: mandatory if at all possible for you). The interview is a chance to add another dimension to your application, to demonstrate interest, so grab the opportunity if it becomes available. There is also the difference between the evaluative and informative interview; make sure you know what one you’ve signed on for. Interviews can be conducted in person, phone, skype, with an admissions rep, alum, student; it just depends on the college.

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Depends

According to Oxford, yes. According to Tufts and Princeton, no. At the NACAC conference in New Orleans in September, Tufts and Princeton were represented on the dais of a seminar regarding the Admissions Interview. Both institutions stated that the interview will not tip in one direction or the other an applicant’s chances of being admitted. Oxford University disagreed vehemently, stating that in their admissions process, the interview is the most important part of the application process. After the applicant’s academic record has been reviewed and is determined to be sound, an interviewed is scheduled. They conduct 22,000 interviews over 10 days, and the interviews are conducted by faculty. Oxford made it very clear that they do not approve of the American use of alumni in the interview process. The reason they do not approve of this strategy is that no one should ever allow a young person to meet in private with a stranger, even in a public place. In addition, they stressed that alums do not necessarily understand what is needed from the interview, even if they have been prepped. So my opinion is this: If you are going to aim for the Ivies, or other schools that require interviews, play their game and play it well. Note that some institutions, such as Swarthmore, have specific ideologies that they look for in students in addition to academic excellence. But the fact is, if you share their ideology, that information should be apparent already from the academic and interests/activities you have presented with your application. It should be apparent from everything that you submit with your application that you and the institution are a good fit. But never, ever be intimidated and agree to meet with an alum for an interview. And don’t believe that the interview will make or break your application.

Nicholas Umphrey

How heavily does a college interview impact your admission?

In general, the more selective a school is, the more the interview counts. Ivy league schools and those that are comparable in their selectivity often do alumni interviews. These interviews tend to be very informal and my students tend to enjoy them. They can take place at school, your home, or at Starbucks. Other smaller and more specialized colleges such as art schools tend to weigh the interview heavily. Each school has different requirements.

Helen Cella

Does the college interview really count?

Sometimes, depends on the school

Marjorie ShaevitzAdmissions expert, author, speakerwww.adMISSION POSSIBLE.com

Interviews Can Make a Difference

Usually lasting between 15 minutes to an hour, a college admissions interview is a meeting between an admissions person and a prospective student. Usually there are three kinds of interviews: 1) the on-campus interview with an admissions representative, 2) an off-campus interview with a local alumnus or alumna, or 3) an online Skype interview with an admissions rep or alum. Very few colleges require interviews; some colleges recommend them. Still others offer them only to legacies (a son or daughter of a graduate of a college). Many colleges, in particular, large public universities and some private ones, don’t offer interviews at all. The truth is that it is very difficult to “blow” an interview. Unless you’re extremely shy and/or are completely unprepared, you only gain from having an admissions interview. Admissions interviews are not a “make or break” aspect of admissions. However, interviews with admissions people are potentially “worth more” than alumni interviews. If nothing else, you can learn about a college AND you might “click” with an interviewer, who then becomes your advocate during the final selection process.

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