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How do Selective Colleges use the Interview?

College admissions interviews

Each college that interviews you:

  • Invests resources, and alumni are a very important resource, to gather insights that will allow the admissions staff to distinguish among qualified candidates.
  • Will use the results of the interview. Generally, the more qualified applicants an admissions office has to evaluate, the more important a role the interview report can play.
  • Is telling you some important information about the culture of the school and what they value in the admissions process.
  • Is also telling you they want to know how accessible your knowledge, skills and character will be to the rest of college community.
  • Is making an effort to get a person committed to the admissions process to meet you. This can be a very valuable source of personalized information about the college and campus life.
  • Wants the interview to go well. They want to get the best possible information about you and your potential to contribute on campus.

Georgetown's Approach:

"The interview is an opportunity for applicants to express themselves to the admissions committee. Interviewers are not looking for any specific information about the applicant; rather they seek to have a general conversation about the applicant’s thoughts and interests. Each interview will be unique based on the interviewer and the applicant, but some topics that may come up include: academic interests, extracurricular activities, summer experiences, family background, future plans, and exposure to Georgetown. ...

 In addition, students should view the interview as an opportunity to express anything they think important the admissions committee know about them that they did not fully articulate in the application. Finally, students should use the interview to learn more about Georgetown and the Georgetown community from the perspective of an alumnus. An interview report will be submitted and becomes part of the admissions file. While the interview report is used as part of the admissions committee’s consideration process, it rarely “makes or breaks” an application, and much more often than not it works in the applicant’s favor."

Who conducts the interview?

"The Alumni Admissions Program (AAP) is a volunteer network of over 4,000 Georgetown alumni who interview all undergraduate applicants around the world. The AAP is divided into over 200 regional committees and has been interviewing students for over 35 years. AAP interviewers may be alumni of any school at Georgetown, graduate or undergraduate, and they range in experience from the most recent graduates to alumni of the 1950’s. They are a dedicated group who are there to help the admissions committee learn more about Georgetown’s applicants as individuals."
                    From the Georgetown University  Admissions website

Georgetown campus from across the Potomac

Brown University

Brown's Approach:

"Personal attention is BASC’s [BASC is the Brown Alumni Schools Committee] chief contribution to Brown’s overall student recruitment efforts. Your role is to be the face of the University, providing a personal touch for what may seem to the applicants to be a large institution.

Make the interview as comfortable and convenient for the applicant as possible. Many applicants are understandably nervous about the interview. Start out the interview with easy questions about their high school and their extracurricular activities. Do not ask them about their class rank, SAT scores, or GPAs, as these questions often make the students uneasy and give the wrong impression about Brown. Also, do not discuss the candidate’s chances of admission or criticize other colleges.

Explain to the applicants that the interview is not a deciding factor in their application; there is very little they might do or say that would guarantee a denial. Instead, this is a chance for them to find out more about Brown University. Choosing the right college is an enormous decision, and this interview should help students feel more confident about making choices."

From the BASC website