Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

do you have to interview and/or visit to apply to Swat?

roderickroderick Registered User Posts: 1,488 Senior Member
edited September 2010 in Swarthmore College
--and I mean in two senses: 1) is it required by the swat admin? and 2) is it a good idea , for all practical purposes, to improve chances in a school that accepts 16 pct of its applicants?

Son is from Chicago, and we are very poor (out of work now).
Post edited by roderick on

Replies to: do you have to interview and/or visit to apply to Swat?

  • libartsmomlibartsmom Registered User Posts: 124 Junior Member
    Applicants to colleges with low admission rates often do not visit until after they have been accepted if they are trying to choose between colleges. There are usually spring visit days during which admitted students show up and have planned activities. So there is no need to trek out to Swarthmore now.

    That said, you definitely should contact admissions and request a local interview. There are many Swat grads in the Chicago area and no doubt several alum interviewers so you will not have to travel far. Swarthmore has an alumni interviewer network all set up. Typically, such interviews are at the alum's home or at a coffee bar. Alums who do interviewing have a protocol and fill out a form to return to the college. They actually can become a bit of an advocate for you if they see a good fit between an applicant and the college. Word on the street is that an alum interview can help a file but won't hurt it (unless there is something highly problematic in the applicant - such as showing up drunk). Also, the alum interview sometimes is longer than one with an admissions officer. Unless the alum is specifically told to limit the time, the alum typically doesn't have another applicant waiting on the doorstep and your child can have a relaxed conversation. I think my daughter enhanced her standing with her interviews because her interviewers saw the "fit" between her and the colleges to which she was applying.

    I recommend getting two books from your public library (if the library doesn't have them most public libraries have Interlibrary loans and can get one for you from another library). Each book has a section on the alumni interview, with sample questions. I had my daughter do a practice interview with a family friend using the interview questions from these books before she had her alum interviews. The other helpful aspect of these books is that families of modest means often don't hear word-of-mouth helpful tips in the application process that other families know because their school counselors are attuned to elite college admissions and family friends have kids at them. The tips we picked up from these books were really helpful to us and may have made a difference in my daughter's acceptance. They are:

    Acing the College Application by Michele Hernandez - Ballantine Books and What Colleges Don't Tell You (and other parents don't want you to know) by Elizabeth Wissner-Gross - Hudson St. Press. The first book is one your child can read (though not too much at a time- the whole application process can be intimidating). The second one is just for parents - I think the "high stakes" approach is too much for kids. But I think parents should know what is going on out there in elite college admissions so that our kids have a fair shake at these great colleges with low admission rates.

    Good luck!
  • momuv2momuv2 Registered User Posts: 64 Junior Member

    No worries. A visit is not expected, especially when the student lives so far away. And as libartsmom said, your son can (and should!) request a local interview with a swat alum. My son had an on-campus interview and my daughter had a local interview. Both were admitted.

    The subject of whether a campus visit is necessary is a little thornier. A visit to campus, sitting in on a class or two, eating lunch in the dining hall, and talking to current students really gives the prospective student a first-hand feel for the school and what differentiates it from all the other schools around. This knowledge can be very valuable when it comes time to write the all-important Why Swarthmore essay. That said, your son, wth a little web diligence, can access the Swarthmore web ambassadors (current students who are eager to be questioned via the Swarthmore admissions website on all things Swattie) and scroll through the vaious pages of the Swarthmore website to get a feel for the College. Good Luck!
  • roderickroderick Registered User Posts: 1,488 Senior Member
    thanks for the info. We'll contact admissions.
  • D'yer MakerD'yer Maker Registered User Posts: 3,421 Senior Member
    And watch for college fairs that come to a town near you. Even if the person is an alumnus and not with the admissions office, they can be excellent. The alumnus may not be able to answer specific questions, but they will always have some topic that they cannot shut up about. Every college (worth applying to) will have alums who think their college is the absolute greatest because of _________. Each one has their own "hook" or attraction that makes their alumni reps want to give up an evening or afternoon pitching the school. Talk to these people. Tap into what it is that they want to share with young people...and that will be yet another way to get a feel for colleges without leaving your own backyard.
  • tspritetsprite Registered User Posts: 277 Junior Member
    I like to tell this story to alleviate the interview jitters. My daughter is a Swat soph. Although she wanted Swat sooo much, she applied to other schools as well. Out of the five schools she applied to that interviewed, she didn't get into the three she interviewed with and got accepted by the two she didn't interview with - one being Swarthmore! Lol.
This discussion has been closed.