<p>I am considering applying to Harvard.</p>

<p>Just a question out of curiousity. I have heard rumors that interviews play heavily in the adcom decisions. Is that true? Or do they influence, but don't play a major factor?</p>

<p>When a senior admissions officer visited my school, he said that Harvard places great importance on the interview. In fact, he was accompanied by an alumnus who directs many of the interviews in my area.</p>

<p>However, my friend, who knows two Harvard interviewers, told me that they (the interviewers) got the impression that the adcom didn't even pay attention to their recommendations. </p>

<p>Of course, these two arguments represent extremes. I think that the adcom looks for consistency between the interviewers' evalutions and the impersonal applications. A great interview won't make up for subpar grades and test scores, while a lackluster interview won't stop a (socially inept) genius.</p>

<p>I think it's great that Harvard requires these interviews because it shows that they are concerned about admitting a vibrant and intellectual student body.</p>

<p>Interviews can make a difference in two ways. One, an otherwise exceptional applicant is a horrible, obnoxious interview which forces the adcoms to reconsider his/her application. Two, a borderline applicant makes a great impression on his/her interviewer and the interviewer "goes to bat" for the applicant and pushes on the adcoms to accept him/her. These two situations probably account for a small number of interviews, but they do happen so interviews need to be taken seriously.</p>