I was recently contacted by an alumni from Dartmouth about conducting an interview. However, I applied to Dartmouth extremely last minute and on a whim, so I don’t really know too much about the university. It also isn’t my top choice, so I wouldn’t mind being rejected. Although Dartmouth is an amazing school, I think I may have to decline the interview. How would I go about declining it in the most polite way possible? It is via email. Thank you!!
Spend 30 minutes preparing and take it for practice.
My recommendation would be to not waste the alumni interviewer’s time - as someone who interviews, we know when a candidate is not all that interested no matter how well they prep. You can politely decline.
Agree with fascinated’s post. Wasting someone else’s time is never a good practice to undertake. The alumni interviewers are volunteers, and they have other responsibilities (work, family) that their time could be better spent on than an interview with an uninterested candidate. To fascinated’s point, I once had a candidate, when asked what he was looking for in a university, tell me that he wanted to go to school in an urban environment. This was a Dartmouth interview.
There is some truth to what you are saying, but what an invaluable experience for a 17 year old, to interview with a Dartmouth alumni. Imagine if the experience changed his/her mind on going to one of the nation’s best… and was followed by an admit. I don’t like my time wasted either BTW.
I agree with @michaeluwill. One of the main purposes of alumni interviews is for the applicant to interview the alumnus regarding the college.
Dartmouth and the alumnus are not doing an applicant a favor by deigning to interview them, and applicants should not to worry about wasting the interviewers time any more than the interviewer should worry about wasting the time of the 90%+ of the interviewees who end up being rejected.
The OP is an applicant, not a supplicant.
There is no one best way to decline- but politely declining sure beats ignoring them. You can simply email something like, " I regret that I am unable to intetview."
You’re willing to risk a rejection, so be it. Jump in the deep end, just do it.
Imo, one of the “main purposes” is for adcoms to get an eyes-on report on the applicant. Not just borderline types, either. Many times, it can help that ‘average excellent’ kid in various ways.
Imo, it’s not some freebie life skills practice. Not for any tippy top. If anything, they expect you to be thinking, all along, researching your targets, weighing your match (to what they want,) etc. I don’t see it as a tasting room or their chance to “sell” you. Ime, this is for the admit review. Not marketing or PR.
For less competitive colleges, it matters less. Sure.
Sure, Dartmouth isn’t, but the interviewer is a volunteer. I feel very differently about taking their time versus, say, an admissions officer, whose very job/career/vocation is to interact with applicants (among other things). I think the alumni interviewers are doing a favor for their university and also doing a favor for the interviewees, who have as opportunity to learn more about the college.
The interviewer is doing a favor for Dartmouth, who is asking its alumni to interview tens of thousands of applicants, of whom only a small percent are accepted. A few dozen applicants who interview without being serious is a drop in the bucket of the thousands who interview without much of a chance at being accepted.
In all honesty, it’s Dartmouth which is wasting the time of their Alumni interviewers. It’s not up to the applicants to worry about this.
I do alumni interviews for an ivy school, and I’ve had my share of uninterested or unprepared candidates. It’s not a huge deal that my time is being wasted, but I don’t think it’s a great “life skills” session for the candidate either. I would just politely say you are unable to interview The alumni interviewer is likely buried this time of year and while it won’t help you, I doubt he or she will give it too much thought.