Guest Author - Susan D. Bates
Some colleges offer admissions interviews to applicants. While these admissions interviews are often not required, they can provide applicants an opportunity to learn more about the college. Interviews also provide an opportunity for applicants to showcase their value to the college beyond the information in the their applications.
Not all colleges offer admission interviews. The colleges that do offer admission interviews may offer one of several different types of interviews. Admissions interviews differ based on who conducts the interview (admissions officers, alumni, or current students). The three types of admission interviews are described below:
Admissions Department Interviews
Admissions department interviews are the traditional college admission interview that most people think of when they think about interviewing at a college. It is an on-campus interview with an admissions officer conducting the interview. These interviews may be evaluative or non-evaluative.
Evaluative interviews are considered in the admission decision. Following the interview, the admissions officer who conducted the interview writes an evaluation that becomes part of application packet.
The main purpose of non-evaluative interviews is to allow applicants to gain information about the college. Typically, there is no evaluation report completed for non-evaluative interviews. However, applicants should still take these seriously because they usually still carry weight when it comes to the admission decision.
Interviews with Alumni
Some colleges offer interviews conducted by alumni of the college. The alumni who conduct these interviews do not usually work for the college; they are volunteers. The interviews are typically held in alumniís offices at their places of employment or in a place in the community, such as a coffee shop or public library.
The alumni who conduct these interviews not only volunteer their time by conducting the interview, they also participate in ongoing training conducted by the college. They are usually volunteering their time because they are very enthusiastic about their alma mater.
In most cases, alumni interviews are more casual than traditional interviews conducted by an admissions officer. However, applicants should still prepare for the interview in the same manner they would prepare for an admissions office interview. The interview is still likely to have an impact on admission decisions.
Interviews with Current Students
Some colleges offer interviews conducted by current students. These students are usually juniors and seniors who have been very carefully selected and go through extensive training.
There are benefits of having current students interview applicants. Generally, current students offer a unique prospective on the college. Also, when interviews by students are offered in addition to interviews conducted by admissions staff members, there is more flexibility in the interview schedule because there are more people conducting interviews.
Student interviews should be taken just as seriously as traditional admissions department interviews and alumni interviews. Student interviewers usually evaluate the candidates and pass along their evaluations to the admissions staff members for consideration in the final admission decisions.
Applicants who are interested in a college that offers an admission interview are strongly encouraged to interview if it is feasible for them. Participating in an admissions interview can help applicants convey their interest in the college and gives the applicant an opportunity to learn about the college beyond what is available through the collegeís website or by simply touring the campus.