How does the interview work?

Application Process

Our counselors answered:

How does the interview work?

Ainsley Parker
Regional Director of Admissions University of Pennsylvania

How does the interview work?

Here is my video response to the question.

Nancy Meislahn
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Wesleyan University

How does the interview work?

Here is my video response to the question.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

How does the interview work?

For schools where the interview is optional, the applicants need to contact the admissions office to request and schedule an interview. For schools where the interview is mandatory, the admissions office will contact the student to set up a time and place.

Suzan Reznick
Independent Educational Consultant The College Connection

It is up to you to arange for an interview!

No colleges require interviews and many large schools just do not have the man power to handle interviewing the thousands of students who might wish for one. Smaller colleges, who are more focused on holistically reviewing students and building a congenial freshman class want to interview potential students. It also offers admissions officers a chance to convince students to apply. When you call a college to ask for the times of the information sessions and tours, that is the best time to also inquire if the college offers interviews and if you could schedule one at that time. Many schools only offer alumni interviews with folks who live in your community. While they may not "count" as much as an on campus interview- it still shows colleges that you are serious about applying.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

The Process

The interview may occur in person, via phone, skype, on campus, or off campus. You may be interviewed by an admission representative, alum, or student. Arrive on time, offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, dress business casual, and send a thank you afterward. Be prepared for their questions by thinking about your responses. Don't sound scripted, but be sure you have a chance to include points not covered in your paper application. When they ask you for any questions, make sure you are prepared with ones that you couldn't find the answer to on your own. The interview is an opportunity for both you and the school to determine if the "fit" feels right.

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

verification process

interviews are required by many selective colleges as part of admisisons process. however, if it is conducted on campus, the admisisons counselor will ask the questions and provide the notes for the student's file. if it is conducted outside the campuse in most cases, someone else appointed will ask the question, that's the tricky part. Interview has little impact on college admissions in my view, however, students should prepare for the interview with resume and practice.

Corey Fischer
President CollegeClarity

How does the interview work?

Most colleges do not require interviews and many do not even offer them, but if you can have one it is usually a good idea. It shows significant interest in a college and gives the admissions office a face and a personality to put with an application, in addition to giving you an opportunity to have your specific questions addressed. There are a few different types of interviews: Regional—Admissions Representatives travels to a city & schedules appointments, usually in a hotel suite. Alumni—Alumni conduct interviews in their home region for their alma mater. They are trained representatives, but you also need to bear in mind that they do not make admission decisions. On-campus—Normally conducted by an Admissions Officer, though you could also be seen by a current student (senior). Usually, they are individual but some colleges do group interviews. Don’t think there is safety in numbers with this method though. They take note of how you interact within the group—do you dominate, do you participate appropriately, or are you a statue? Phone/Web—If a college requires an interview and distance/time does not permit you to do one of the above options, a college may offer the opportunity to do a phone or web interview. The term interview is rather misleading these days. While it used to be a time when students were “grilled” it is much more humane now. It is usually viewed as a conversation…the sharing of information. While they won’t ask you what you are going to do to contribute to world peace, they will expect you to be able to talk about what is important to you and why you are considering their institution. Usually you will meet with the admission officer for about 20-30 minutes and then your parents will be brought in too, so their questions can be addressed. Be respectful of your parents, they are a part of this process & decision, too. Even if you are tired of traveling with them, or think they are asking embarrassing questions, refrain from the “Oh, Mom’s” or rolling the eyes. You don’t want the interviewer to get a bad impression of you. They are all quite used to talking with students and parents and chances are your parents won’t ask them any questions they haven’t answered many times before.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

How does the interview work?

You should contact the college admissions office via email and ask to be interviewed. Sometimes this will take place before you actually send the application to the school, sometimes it will take place afterwards. If possible, try to have the interview with an admissions officer at the school but if it is not possible, you may be able to have one on Skype. Some schools also conduct interviews locally using their alumni network. The interview is your chance to demonstrate interest in attending the school and to provide a personal perspective to your application file. You will meet (either face-to-face or virtually) with your interviewer and be asked various questions about your interests and activities and why you want to attend the school. in turn, you should have a chance to ask questions about the college.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

The Interview: Different Approaches with Different Goals

Schools offer a range of interviews and their value and purpose vary as well. There are alumni interview, there are staff interviews and there are campus interviews. They can be a part of the application process or they can be a part of scholarship competitions. Some are aimed at learning about the applicant while others are simply opportunities for an applicant to learn more about the school. Some schools do not do them at all while others offer plenty of opportunities. In the ever changing landscape of college admissions, interviews are one of the most variable aspects of the process.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

How does the interview work?

An interview can happen in several different environments, your school, a coffee shop, or the college itself. Admission officers give the interviews that mean the most to the admission committee. Alumni interviews can vary from meeting with someone wonderful and meeting with someone who is not very nice. When you can interview with the college admission counselor, do it!