FAQs About College Interviews
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Robert Crystal in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
- How Much Weight Does the Interview Process Hold in Admissions Decisions?
- What Information Do Interviewers Have on a Student Beforehand?
How Much Weight Does the Interview Process Hold in Admissions Decisions?
Your interview is not the most critical piece of your college admissions process. Things like your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and letters of recommendation are more important. However, what’s unique and interesting about the interview is that it has the potential to recontextualize everything else in your application. It can make the admissions committee go back to your application to take a second look, either in a good way or a bad way.
For example, if a student seems incredibly driven and accomplished in their application, but during their interview, they appear bitter or dispassionate or seem to look down on their peers, it could make the admissions committee reevaluate them. Many candidates who are great on paper can give an interview that weakens their application. If an applicant is on par with several others and their interview goes well, it can make them stand out against those similar applicants and increase their chances of admission.
The interview process enables the admissions committee to learn more about you from a slightly different perspective. If you’re on the cusp of being admitted, your interview can push you over either side of the fence, depending on how it goes. But if your application is fundamentally not competitive, a good interview likely won’t change your chances of admission. Similarly, a not-so-great interview won’t break the most competitive applications from the most accomplished students.
What Information Do Interviewers Have on a Student Beforehand?
This will vary depending on the school, as every school conducts interviews differently, but typically, interviewers do not have access to a student’s entire application. They do have some information that is helpful for context. For example, many interviewers conduct interviews with students who are from their geographical area, which provides context about the students’ backgrounds. In your interview, don’t assume that your interviewer will know details about your application, and be ready to explain things if necessary.