alumni interviews at top schools

<p>just something that has kind of been burning at my mind. Ive already been intervied or have scheduled interviews with most of the top schools to which I have applied. One thing that stands out to me is that almost all of these schools (HPY etc) claim to offer interviews to every applicant who has an alumni interviewer nearby. How true is this? I mean if i were to apply to a top ivy or any top school with a <20 ACT score (<1200 SAT C+R) and a <3.0 GPA would i still be offered interviews? Seems to me like kind of a waste of resources to interview EVERY applicant, especially those with no chance of getting in..</p>

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[A]lmost all of these schools (HPY etc) claim to offer interviews to every applicant who has an alumni interviewer nearby. How true is this?

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<p>Basically true. There could be an interviewer nearby, but not enough of them to interview all the applicants. But it's true that they interview every applicant they can. </p>

<p>The rationale is that most of these applicants--even many of the really, really good ones--won't get in, but a positive interview experience could leave them with a favorable impression of the university.</p>

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I mean if i were to apply to a top ivy or any top school with a <20 ACT score (<1200 SAT C+R) and a <3.0 GPA would i still be offered interviews?

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<p>Pretty much.</p>

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Seems to me like kind of a waste of resources to interview EVERY applicant, especially those with no chance of getting in..

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<p>In one highly memorable instance, it seemed that way to me, too.</p>

<p>No one looks at stats before assigning interviewers. Believe me, this makes many interviewers unhappy. They want their kids to get in! I know Harvard alum interviewers who haven't gotten an interviewee Accepted in 20 years!</p>

<p>I myself lived in an area for a short while where none of my interviewees were close.</p>

<p>nwang: My Ivy alma mater does not pre screen applicants either. Mr. SAT 1400 is as likely to be interviewed by me as the shoo-in applicant. The reason is there is no time to pre-read these and rank them. As soon as the files are complete, the student's info is sent out to the local coordinators.</p>

<p>as to the others who say how interviewers pine to get "their" interviewees accepted, I see it differently. I know that I only see a small slice of one applicant among tens of thousands of applicants. I'm only an additional set of eyes and ears for the admissions office. I represent them, and not the student before me. In 20+ years, I've had maybe 10-12 kids get in out of some 200+ interviews. I don't fret about it as I doubt a single one of those 200+ kids didn't fail to have a wonderful college career.</p>

<p>ok so then with that information in mind, i suppose the next logical question to ask is how much weight does an applicants performance in these interviews really carry with the admissions officers? I mean would someone with a spectacular interview get into a school over someone with better objective statistics such as scores ECs etc but who had a poor interview?</p>

<p>Does the college contact you to ask that you interview, or do you contact the college asking to schedule an interview????</p>

<p>it depends on the school but generally the top ivies will contact you</p>

<p>"how much weight does an applicants performance in these interviews really carry with the admissions officers? I mean would someone with a spectacular interview get into a school over someone with better objective statistics such as scores ECs etc but who had a poor interview? "</p>

<p>Very very little. Colleges know that 45 minutes spent with someone who is really trying to impress the interviewer has EXTREMELY limited utility. Of course it should be the smallest factor in evaluation. It's just another vehicle for the student to convey extra info (if any) and for an objective set of eyes/ears to consider the student in a small manner. Given the extreme subjective nature of interviews, they carry the least weight in the overall evaluation -- correctly in my opinion. Indeed, interviews are not required and many people are accepted without ever having one. </p>

<p>95% of the time, the interviews go to confirm what is already in the rest of the package. Occasionally, they can shed light on a murky situation that can be useful to the file readers.</p>

<p>I think the following example can help clarify: A few years ago, two seemingly excellent applicants from the nearby urban school district applied to my alma mater. Their files were very favorable save for the fact that the teacher recs, while supportive, were formulaic. This is not uncommon for schools where there are infrequent applications to top schools. This put both students on the fence in the eyes of some on the admissions committee. But following two independent alumni reports that confirmed the strengths (motivation, energy, intellect) of the students, the committee decided to offer both kids admission. Here was a case where the report nudged forward the committee who was favorably inclined, but not completely convinced.</p>

<p>But as you can imagine, scenarios like this aren't commonplace.</p>

<p>The only time a great interview trumps an otherwise solid applicant happened for the Fresh Prince (Will Smith) on his show when he wowed a Princeton alum and got an on-the-spot offer. Youtube it. It's similar to Reese Whiterspoon's Harvard Law acceptance in Legally Blonde.</p>

<p>If I may add: I think a "poor interview" can have a deleterious effect. </p>

<p>But my definition of a poor interview is one that would show pretty awful behavior or attitudes or extreme shallowness. I give lots of latitude to the students and know that an interview is a very unnatural occurance. I wouldn't ding the student for not having a witty or quick reply or being nervous. I was in their shoes before as well. But I would note if there were serious deficient social skills (a Harvard interviewer wrote about a socially awkward kid who had constant nasal drip but was not keen enough to keep his face clean during the interview -- imagine what that was like! Yuck -- and she noted it in her report).</p>

<p>And please don't tell me your 1st rationale for applying to my school is "prestige". I smile and nod...</p>

<p>I agree that a poor interview could wreck an applicant's chances. But in my experience (which, I admit, is far more limited than T26's), the weak interviewers were also the applicants whose grades and test scores were lackluster when compared to the rest of the applicant pool. I don't deny that a student who's fantastic on paper could turn out to be a glib or facile or shallow or arrogant shmuck in person, whose interview sinks his application, but I doubt that it happens a lot.</p>

<p>Nevertheless, if you are fantastic on paper, I don't recommend coming off as glib or facile or shallow or arrogant in the interview.</p>

<p>For whatever it's worth, most of the interview reports for the Ivies are due this week, to the best of my knowledge. I know that Cornell's reports are due today. Therefore, if you haven't yet had an interview, you aren't likely to have one.</p>

<p>It is hard to train people to give standardized interviews so there could be a whole range of reviews from alums interviewing the same kid. Which means they don't have much of an impact. The exception would be cases like where you do something glaringly stupid like saying you're applying just to see if you could get in or because your parents forced you to, or if you talk about an EC the interviewer knows you're lying about (interviewers have posted here about having kids do just that about organizations the interviewer was involved in).</p>