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Brown University eliminating interviews for Class of 2025

Brown79Brown79 30 replies2 threads Junior Member
We interviewers were just informed that there will be no interviewing this season. Not in-person -- which we already knew -- and not remote. Several reasons were given. Whether the suspension of interviewing extends beyond this season will be decided at some later time. Students will have the option of recording a two-minute "Video Portfolio" to "share more about themselves beyond the written application."
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Replies to: Brown University eliminating interviews for Class of 2025

  • LindagafLindagaf 11305 replies603 threads Super Moderator
    Wow. I’m surprised. can you share some reasons why?
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  • skieuropeskieurope 41677 replies8008 threads Super Moderator
    In previous years, we have offered alumni interviews as a way for applicants to get to know Brown while also sharing more about themselves conversationally beyond the information provided in an application. However, as we strive to ensure that all applicants have equitable access to all components of our application process, alumni interviews will not be offered for the 2020-21 admission cycle.
    https://admission.brown.edu/first-year/video-portfolio-alumni-interview
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  • Brown79Brown79 30 replies2 threads Junior Member
    edited September 11
    > can you share some reasons why? < A couple of aspects were cited relating to the "equitable access" above: Lack of universal internet access (suggesting they don't consider phone interviews adequate? -- since when?); An ever-increasing shortfall of interviewers relative to applicant numbers (based on my five years spent area chairing a region where Brown is very "popular" and we are overwhelmed every year, I can concur on that).

    It will be interesting to see whether/when other Ivies follow suit, and especially whether permanently. This is really a progression of sorts. Into the 1960's Brown still held on-campus interviews using actual admissions officers (my last hard data point being a '69er interviewed in '65). I know by the mid-'70's it was only informational group meetings in Admissions (maybe some "celebrity" exceptions?) Applications were at stable 8k-9k/yr through this period, starting an upward trend towards 15k in the late 70's which was reached in the late 90's. Mid-00's was when things really started to shoot up without significant retreat (need-blind, Common App). So now they're pushing 40k each year, but with no corresponding or even significant increase in the alumni base since the 70's. Something had to give eventually.
    edited September 11
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  • PikachuRocks15PikachuRocks15 515 replies2 threads Member
    As a current First-Year at Brown who interviewed with an alumni last year, that sucks for this year's applicants. I absolutely LOVED hearing about my interviewer's experience at Brown and I learnt a ton more about the school than just from reading the Admissions website, CC etc. (too far to visit, and then ADOCH was cancelled :disappointed:) It's interesting that they're still keeping the video portfolio as applicants were always able to choose between both (and IIRC submit the portfolio after a certain deadline if an interviewer wasn't able to interview you.)

    @Brown79 Do you know more about the "interactive virtual events" with alumni Brown's planning on holding according to the Undergraduate Admissions website?

    Hopefully they'll return to interviewing applicants sometime in the future, as there can be parts of an applicant's story that are much, much easier to relate in-person via on-paper/electronically IMO.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10870 replies136 threads Senior Member
    Cornell announced that they would only be having virtual alumni meetings and were getting rid of the report, which was already very abridged. Now the "report" is simply if you had a virtual meeting or not. Changes also made in the name of equitable access.
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  • PikachuRocks15PikachuRocks15 515 replies2 threads Member
    @momofsenior1 So it is basically whether or not you did your interview if you were offered one and don't have a good reason for why you aren't interviewing?
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10870 replies136 threads Senior Member
    That's how it seems to me @PikachuRocks15 . Cornell doesn't say they track demonstrated interest but this suggests they are using alumni meetings in that way.
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  • PikachuRocks15PikachuRocks15 515 replies2 threads Member
    edited September 11
    That makes sense @momofsenior1 ! It's probably an easy way for Admissions to sort through who actually wants to be there, unless extenuating circumstances were in play. Although they'll probably still accept the HYPSM-level admit, even if they don't show much interest--who knows how Admissions Offices work or why they don't work why they should? :disappointed:
    edited September 11
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  • LindagafLindagaf 11305 replies603 threads Super Moderator
    I think the two minute video option is an interesting idea. I hope applicants don’t spend too much time “dolling themselves up” for these videos.
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  • PikachuRocks15PikachuRocks15 515 replies2 threads Member
    edited September 11
    @Lindagaf Brown and UChicago (this was the only option) had the 2 minute video portfolio last year as well, but I'm not very artistically-inclined and felt that doing an in-person alumni interview for Brown was a better way to explain myself and my interests. As with the other parts of the application, applicants are going to spend time polishing their portfolio, but that will likely put at a disadvantage, no matter what Admissions Offices say, applicants who don't have the talent or resources to make their portfolios look super creative and professional, which is why I liked that Brown had it as an option last year, rather than being the only opportunity to present yourself as a "real" person this year. :disappointed:
    edited September 11
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  • randomPeoplerandomPeople 29 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Cornell announced that they would only be having virtual alumni meetings and were getting rid of the report, which was already very abridged. Now the "report" is simply if you had a virtual meeting or not. Changes also made in the name of equitable access.

    The school website say only student applying to architecture program are required an interview. For all other applicants, there is no interview process and they will not offer interviews for those who request them.

    How to request virtual meeting?
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10870 replies136 threads Senior Member
    @randomPeople -there is no way to request an alumni meeting at Cornell. Your name will be given to the regional chair and they see if they have enough alumni to contact everyone. Don’t worry if you don’t get a call. It means nothing in terms of desirability as the chairs don’t see your application- just name, HS, intended college/major, and contact information
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  • Brown79Brown79 30 replies2 threads Junior Member
    edited September 11
    > It's interesting that they're still keeping the video portfolio as applicants were always able to choose between both < FYI, the Video Portfolio only goes back 2(?) years -- an attempt at dealing with some students not being able to be accommodated for an interview. Same thing for "interview days". At least in my area of Southern California, those only started about ten years ago as the hordes kept coming.

    > Do you know more about the "interactive virtual events" with alumni Brown's planning on holding according to the Undergraduate Admissions website? < Those are being put together regionally, e.g. Pacific Region. Some back & forth between Brown and the alumni clubs spearheading them as to timing. We wanted to jump in and extend a hearty "Welcome to the Brown community" ASAP. Providence was more like: Not so fast -- it will be a bunch of alums waxing poetic to the matriculants about a campus life they remember which currently doesn't exist. Brown wanted more like October, by when there will be current students available to answer questions who have lived on campus under the new normal and can provide some ground truth. About all I can say is to keep checking you Inbox.

    > Hopefully they'll return to interviewing applicants sometime in the future < Mixed feelings from someone who "hasn't had a day off in forty years" and is suddenly feeling like they just got let out of school early. I will say that interviews can be a great way for applicants to find out more about Brown, but from my personal observations / guesses I can't say they usually counted for much in the admissions decision. IMO Brown should have kept interviews place for PLME and Brown/RISD applicants. Particular "access" problems within that much smaller cohort could have been individually dealt with by one means or another.

    Based on experience from all the interviewing I've done, sooner than later I should probably put pen to paper in a thread here providing my helpful(?)thoughts regarding a video portfolio. Executive Summary would be something like: Be Specific. Be Specific. Be yourself... as in "Mom/Dad I love you, but stay the hell out of 'helping' with this video." If Brown wanted to talk with your parents, they would just talk with your parents.
    edited September 11
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  • PikachuRocks15PikachuRocks15 515 replies2 threads Member
    edited September 11
    @Brown79 I didn't know that the video portfolios are relatively new yet, then again, I only cared about the alumni interview b/c I applied for PLME, have zero artistic ability (does knowing how to draw one animal kind of badly count?) and knew it was recommended from the PLME Admissions website IIRC.

    I was under the impression that the "interactive virtual events" were for applicants, not admitted students/matriculants, but if so, then yes, there is a virtual send-off for my region happening soon (West Coast.) Thank you for clarifying!

    I definitely agree that they don't count for much in the admissions process, unless you say something along the lines of "I hate Brown" or "Brown's my safety school" (although if you're a HYPSM level admit, there's a chance that Brown would still admit you, which makes no sense to me b/c they should be looking for students who LOVE Brown rather than being luke-warm or downright disdainful, but I digress) or just don't show up, but to applicants like me who live far away from Providence and don't know any Brown alumni (ik of 2 students in the last few years to get in from my school, and both went to HYPSM instead,) the ability to have a real-life discussion with a Brown alum and have your questions answered is utterly priceless. So the students like me who you interview with definitely thank you for taking the time to offer your own experience. :smile:
    edited September 11
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  • Brown79Brown79 30 replies2 threads Junior Member
    > video portfolios ... have zero artistic ability (does knowing how to draw one animal kind of badly count?) <

    No it does not, but I have good news: Their use of the word "portfolio" has nothing to do with Art. Instead of "video portfolio", let's call it "video look into the webcam / talk to Admissions for up to two minutes / say what you want to but don't drag things out if you only have ninety seconds worth of pertinent stuff to say because the admissions officer is probably sad to start with just from having to slog through thousands of these things and figure that sadness is only heightened if it's raining outside as it often is in Providence though you would never guess that from the pix in their college brochures".

    > I was under the impression that the "interactive virtual events" were for applicants, not admitted students/matriculants, < All of the above, as of late. You don't want to catch whatever I might have, and I sure don't want to catch whatever you might have.

    > although if you're a HYPSM level admit, there's a chance that Brown would still admit you < Brown turns down applicants which Harvard admits. Harvard turns down applicants which Brown admits. My wife's niece turned down Harvard to go to Brown. My older brother was as chronically unhappy at Harvard as I was chronically happy at Brown. What I accomplished at Brown academically simply wouldn't have been possible at Harvard or Princeton (their rules wouldn't allow it). MIT is very different from Harvard in terms of how Legacy admits (no such thing at MIT) water down the undergrad gene pool: An Econ grad student I talked to who TA'd at MIT compared notes with a Harvard counterpart and reported "At MIT a student will wait until they are failing Econ before they lean on the TA to explain everything to them -- at Harvard they lean on the TA from the very beginning." I could go on about relative strengths and weaknesses (but mostly just plain differences) between one school vs another. Suffice to say there's no such thing as a best college -- only a college(s) which is best for a particular person. But I digress.

    > So the students like me who you interview with definitely thank you for taking the time to offer your own experience < You are so welcome!

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  • Brown79Brown79 30 replies2 threads Junior Member
    > I think the two minute video option is an interesting idea. I hope applicants don’t spend too much time “dolling themselves up” for these videos. < I definitely agree... but then I also remember some of my interviews where an applicant was really dressed up and it just seemed to suit them, as though it helped them to feel more at ease (vs me, for whom it would have the opposite effect). So whatever an applicant (and interviewer!) is comfortable with, I suppose.

    OTOH, very occasionally an alum interviewer has expressed disdain to me that someone was underdressed and therefore (to their mind) must not have respect for the interview. So there can be a bit of "appearance risk", though when it comes to a hypothetical Brown admissions officer (i.e. a pro) I don't imagine they would care. Casual dress is even encouraged in the instructions for the Video Portfolio.
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