Laura Berlinsky-Schine 3 min read 12th Grade, College Interview

Which Top Colleges Require Interviews?

Interviews are intimidating. While more and more colleges are no longer requiring them as part of the admissions process, they can still impact your likelihood of admission. They can also serve as an important tool for helping both you and the college determine whether the school is right for you.

 

In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of the interview, and provide a list of the interview policies at top schools.

 

How Important Is the College Interview?

As you can see from the above graphic, interviews carry relatively little weight in the overall admissions process. However, much like recommendations, they can give colleges insight into your personality and qualities beyond your academic profile and achievements. This will allow them to gauge your fit with the campus and student body. It will also allow you to learn more about the college to determine whether it’s the right fit for you.

 

Your interview is unlikely to strongly impact your admissions decision, unless you make an extremely negative impression. It can, however, serve as a source of information for you and the school. A good interview can also give you a small boost in the admissions process.

 

How is COVID-19 Impacting College Interviews?

 

Because of the pandemic, most colleges that previously held in-person interviews are now conducting them online. This means that there may be fewer interviews offered overall. Some schools that previously offered interviews are no longer offering them during the pandemic at all. Many have changed their requirements, too — in some cases, interviews that were once required may now be recommended.

 

Interview Policies for Top 20 Universities

 

The following list shows the interview policies for the top 20 universities (including ties). In many cases where an interview is recommended but not required, the university may not be able to offer interviews to all applicants. 

 

If you are offered an interview at a school where it’s recommended, you are encouraged to make an appointment. This will demonstrate your interest in the school as well as help both you and the adcom gauge fit. If you’re not offered one or are unable to schedule one, don’t worry — it won’t adversely impact your admissions decision.

 

Princeton University Recommended
Harvard University Recommended
Columbia University Recommended
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Recommended
Yale University Recommended
Stanford University Optional
University of Chicago Not offered, video intro option instead
University of Pennsylvania Strongly recommended
California Institute of Technology Not offered
Johns Hopkins University Not offered
Northwestern University Optional
Duke University Recommended
Dartmouth College Recommended
Brown University Optional, but suspended for 2020-202. Video portfolio option instead.
Vanderbilt University Optional
Rice University Optional
Washington University in St. Louis Optional
Cornell University Required for Architecture program; recommended for applicants to the Art and Hotel Administration programs
University of Notre Dame Not offered
University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) Not offered

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Interview Policies for Top 20 Liberal Arts Colleges

 

These are the LACs in the top 20 rankings (including ties) that require or recommend interviews.

 

Williams College Not offered
Amherst College Not offered
Swarthmore College Recommended
Pomona College Optional
Wellesley College Recommended
Bowdoin College Strongly recommended
Claremont McKenna College Strongly recommended
United States Naval Academy Required
Carleton College Recommended
Hamilton College Required
Middlebury College Optional
Washington and Lee University Strongly recommended
Grinnell College Optional
Vassar College Optional
Colby College Optional
Davidson College Not offered
Haverford College Recommended
Smith College Optional
United States Military Academy Required
Colgate University Optional
Wesleyan University Recommended

 

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She dreams of having a dog.