Yes, The College Interviewer Can be 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.

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.

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.

Article by Peggy Wallace, founder, Making Conversation

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