Is a college admissions interview necessary for an international student?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

Is a college admissions interview necessary for an international student?

Francine Schwartz
Founder/ President Pathfinder Counseling LLC

College Interviews and International Students

International students should follow whatever the protocol for the schools they are applying to. Schools recognize that it may be difficult for international students to have an in person interview and can possibly arrange for phone interviews. Many interviews are informational verses evaluative, which are required. I believe that if an interview is offered students should take the opportunity to have that face to face contact with the admissions staff or representative. Schools often track a student's interest and an interview definitely is a plus in that regard. Francine Schwartz Pathfinder Counseling LLC

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

The Scoop on Interviews

The ability to interview is a skill that will be useful throughout your precollege, college and professional life. But is it necessary for your candidacy at a U.S. college? Those interviews help students learn more about the college and help the college form a more solid picture of you as a candidate. If you plan to be visiting the college, contact the admissions office to see whether you can be interviewed on campus during your visit. Some schools do this, even using student interns if an admissions rep is not available. Alternatively, many top universities use alumni networks in order to interview students in their home countries. Whether or not this is possible depends on the college. If you apply but don't hear from anyone about an interview, send an e-mail and see if an interview is possible. The same interview advice applies to all students: be prepared! Show the college how much you have researched its opportunities. Come armed with questions. The interview may not be the most important factor in evaluating your candidacy, but it is still helpful.

Tyler Burton
President Burton College Tours

First read about the college's interview policy.

Not every school will grant interviews. Students should read the college's interview policy and make a choice about interviewing based on the college's policy. If your English language skills are excellent and the school will interview students on campus, off campus with alumni or via skype then I recommend seeking an interview.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

Admissions Interviews

Interviews are an excellent way to demonstrate your interest in a particular school. Admissions offices realize that it may be difficult for an international prospective student to travel to the campus for an interview. You should contact the international admissions officer for your location via email and ask if it is possible to arrange an interview via Skype. Another possibility may be with the local alumni network. Again, these arrangements are made through the admissions office.

Cynthia Ferguson
Independent Educational Consultant In2College

Not required usually, but a good idea

With Skype and other modes of electronic communication it is a good idea to set up interviews with each college you are interested in. Some may require this, but most probably just suggest it. This is as much to get your questions answered and to get a feel for each institution.

Kristina Dooley
Independent Educational Consultant Estrela Consulting

Interview Options for International Students

Whenever I begin working with an international student I always let them know that I highly encourage them to interview at any university that offers this as an option. Why? Because there is no piece of paper that can ever tell the whole story about an applicant and personality is often difficult to get across in an essay. In a time when colleges are looking for students to really become a part of a "community" on campus, and not just warm bodies, it's important for the admission committee to see how you might fit in with the social environment on campus. If you can't travel to the schools to which you are applying, no worries! Many schools now offer Skype interviews or interviews with alumni in your area.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

Is a college admissions interview necessary for an international student?

If a college offers you an opportunity to interview, take it! It's a great way to show a school that you are very interested in learning more about it and to demonstrate your keen interested in it. The interview is also a great way for you to learn more about the school. Many universities have alumni all over the world who can conduct the interviews. In addition, if you are on a campus visit, you can also interview at that time (but make sure you arranged for an interview ahead of time).

Woodrow Dunn
Academic Counselor Freedom High School

College admissions interview

An interview is not necessary, yet it is wise for international students to attempt to make some kind of personal contact. A phone call, pictures to the guidance counselor, a friendship with the university's recruiting officer. If there is someone in the university who knows who you are I believe that to be beneficial.

Karen Ekman-Baur
Director of College Counseling Leysin American School

College Admissions Interviews for International Students

Some schools do not interview prospective students, some "recommend" an interview, and some "require" an interview. If a school requires an interview, it is often possible for a student to arrange to be interviewed by an alumnus/alumna of the institution who lives in an area near the student. This eliminates the need to make an expensive trip to the college or university solely for the purpose of the interview.

Mark Gathercole
University Advisor Independent University Advising

No, but.....

If not required by the university, an interview is not any more necessary for an international student than for a domestic one. If you have the chance to interview, however, it is a good opportunity for you to make a human impression on the admissions person, rather than just a paper/virtual impression on your application.