Is it possible that a college interview could be conducted by a student?

Application Process

Our counselors answered:

Is it possible that a college interview could be conducted by a student?

Peggy Wallace
Founder Making Conversation, LLC

Is it possible that a college interview could be conducted by a student?

When you think of the college interview on campus, you might think that you will be meeting with some imposing admissions officer who is there to judge you and scrutinize your every word while you are on the Hot Seat. Indeed, that is a very remote possibility!  Many times the admissions office interviewer is a fairly recent grad from that school or another (who else could read all those applications!). The interviewer wants to find the gem in you. They want to discover more about you. How you will fit into the rest of the incoming class? What did not come across in the paper application? The interviewer can become  your advocate before the admissions committee. They are on your side!

Peggy Wallace
Founder Making Conversation, LLC

Is it possible that a college interview could be conducted by a student?

I have heard of more and more schools using their work-study or other volunteer students to conduct the applicant interview. This can be a student from any class. It is not at all a slight to find out that you are meeting with a student, not an Admissions Officer, for your interview.  Indeed, in speaking with some Admissions Officers, I have been told that the yield (those who come as a percentage of those who are accepted, a factor in evaluating the admissions officers themselves) is considerably higher from the student interviewers. Turns out the students are better evaluators of "fit." So when you get a student interviewer consider its benefit. If ever there were a time to have questions about student life, this would be it! Also, be sure to treat the student interviewer with respect. They might be particularly sensitive about this.

Peggy Wallace
Founder Making Conversation, LLC

Is it possible that a college interview could be conducted by a student?

Definitely. Student Interviewers tend not to ask questions from your resume. They won't ask you to explain why you got a 1 in the some AP test. They know it happens. They want to meet the real you. They  want to know that you will become actively involved in the campus. They are figuring out whether you'll be a good classmate and can benefit campus life.  They want a great conversation, after all, they are "volunteers." For this reason, it is important to work on your conversational skills as well as or as part of your interview skills. Make sure your conversation is a mutual sharing of information, thoughts and strengths stories. Give details in your responses. You want to make sure that being an easy conversationalist becomes your new natural. If it is, you will have better, more comfortable conversations with the interviewer, no matter how stressful the situation might be for you.

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

Is it possible that a college interview could be conducted by a student?

Absolutely! I am well aware of this happening to my students. Sometimes student interviewers are volunteers or interns at admissions offices, and the student interview can be a wonderful opportunity for the applicant to be comfortable answering and asking questions. Sometimes students are used because of the soaring volume of applications facing admissions officers. Just because a student interviewer is conducting the interview is no excuse for not being prepared and respectful. Nearly all interviewers will share their results orally or in writing, and those notes could become part of the applicant's file.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

Yes!

In some schools where the interview takes place on-campus, you might be interviewed by a current student who is working at the admissions office. This is a great opportunity for you to find out more information about the school so try to view this as a positive rather than a negative.

Erica White
College & Career Counselor Middletown High School

Student led interviews

Some colleges use seniors to conduct admission interviews. These students go through elaborate training and practice regarding the interview process. Wesleyan University is one school that has perfected the student led interview and many other colleges follow their program design. The advantage of a student led interview is that the current student knows what type of student will be successful on their campus. Please be aware that these interviews are still evaluative and should be taken just as seriously as an interview led by an admission officer.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Student Interviewers

It is totally possible to have an interview with a current student. Depending on the staffing pattern at that school, time of year, type of interview; all could be student led. These will be students who have been trained in the process. They have been in your shoes, so often they are less intimidating. Students are also better at answering your college life questions as they are living it day to day.

Nicholas Umphrey

Students interviewing students

I have never heard of this. Certainly it is common for students to conduct campus tours, but this must be a new concept. It is helpful talking to current students, especially if they are in the same major your are interested in.

Corey Fischer
President CollegeClarity

Student interviewers

Yes, you could be interviewed by a student. Don't think of these interviewers as less qualified than an Admission Officer because they have been selected through a competitive application and interview process and have been trained. In many ways these interviews can be very positive experiences because you are able to hear about their first hand (and recent) experiences at the college. Students usually feel more comfortable with the student interviewers, though it is important not to be TOO comfortable.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

Is it possible that a college interview could be conducted by a student?

It is possible but usually these would be considered informational interviews rather than evaluative interviews. This would be a good opportunity for you to find out more about the college. As before any interview, make sure that you have researched the university thoroughly and that you have a list of intelligent questions to ask the interviewer about the school.