A Guide to the Interview at Yale
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 Does an Interview Help Your College Application?
- How Is the Yale Interview Formatted?
- How to Prepare for a Yale Interview
How Does an Interview Help Your College Application?
The college admissions interview is a particularly unique portion of an application. Students submit statistics-based contributions, such as grades and test scores. Beyond that, essays, lists of extracurriculars, and portfolios can portray the candidate’s personality and abilities. Counselors, teachers, or mentors can also weigh in on an application through their letters of recommendation.
The interview, however, is the most direct way that a student can advocate for themselves and their application. It is an opportunity to speak in their voice, make their application more interesting, and highlight things that may have been overlooked during the application process. Like the essay, it helps lend color to the story that an application conveys.
How Is the Yale Interview Formatted?
Yale University does not require interviews as part of its first-year application process, and students cannot request interviews. Instead, selected students—particularly those from whom admissions officers need more information—will be sent an interview invitation.
A current senior or an alumus will conduct the interview and write a report to be reviewed alongside the student’s other application materials.
Yale approaches its interviews as opportunities to get to know applicants personally. The goal is not to ask interviewees difficult questions that intentionally trip them up or to make applicants more stressed or uncomfortable. Rather, it is an opportunity for a conversation that can add otherwise unavailable depth to an application.
For more information about Yale’s interview format, check out this blog post about one student’s Yale interview experience and what they learned as a result.
How to Prepare for a Yale Interview
Applicants should be prepared to talk about themselves, their experiences, and their perspective on their life and place in the world. It is important to demonstrate an ability to engage in these topics thoughtfully.
Certain topics are likely to be covered, and applicants should have a general idea of how they would like to address them. For example, prompts that will almost certainly be brought up are, “Tell me about yourself,” or, “Why do you want to attend Yale?” Favorite books, role models, or 10-year goals are also commonly part of the conversation.
Students should also be sure to brainstorm questions that they would like to ask the interviewer, as those will likely be the focus of the interview’s conclusion. Having questions ready shows that the applicant is interested in the school and came prepared.
However, students should not feel pressured to have anything memorized or be able to respond immediately. It is completely acceptable to pause for a couple of seconds to compose an answer. Saying something like, “That’s an interesting question,” or, “I will have to think about that for a second,” can reduce any uncomfortable moments in the conversation.
Pausing like this to generate a response demonstrates that the applicant is taking their responses seriously and wants to engage honestly, rather than rushing to respond less critically.
For more examples of common interview questions, read these 15 Major College Interview Questions to Prepare For.