The Thread for College Interviews

If you have already done your interview for a particular college or colleges, please feel free to share your experience, the questions they ask. Also please state the name of your college, say how you prepared, and what you’d do differently if you could do the interview over. Thanks!

I’ve kind of already talked about MIT a bit; I just interviewed six days ago… one of the questions that threw me was: “Imagine it is 25 years from now. What would you do tomorrow?” I kinda hemmed and hawed around that one until I came up with something decent. Haha… It’s also kind of nice to talk about the hacks that MIT students do… a good example would be the fire engine they put up there for the recent 9/11 anniversary.

I’ve got a WUStL interview comin’ up. I’ll keep you guys posted.


I had interviews at Bowdoin and Bates over the summer. I looked online for a list of common interview questions, but I never had to answer any of them. The Bowdoin interview was conducted by a senior and the Bates one by a recent graduate. They both seemed really low-key and spent more time asking about what I do in my free time and what my school is like. They also asked what kinds of organizations I would like to get involved in on campus. I was surprised because I expected harder, more personal questions about academics, but both interviews seemed like a chance for the interviewers to see if I would be a good fit. They both went pretty well.

Before going to the interview, it can help to learn if the interview is informational (i.e. a chance for you to learn about the college) or if the interview’s purpose is to evaluate you.

I’m fairly sure that the US News web site about colleges – the one that costs $14.95 to access Aug-Aug provides that info. You also may find it in the colleges’ common data sets info. Links to many colleges’ common data sets are pinned to the top of the first CC discussion board. <a href=“[/url]”></a>

bryn mawr this summer was my first interview, they don’t require them but i was visiting anyways. it was very non-stressful, and i could tell where the questions were going. she never asked for my grades or test scores, but said that i fit what they like there after the interview.

georgetown, a few weeks ago, also non-stressful, in fact it was at the interviewer’s house! this was of course an alumnus interview. we just talked about his g-town experience and what i could see myself doing there. it went great. this interview was required

u chicago, like two weeks ago, wonderful, non-stressful. at the interviewer’s law office. we talked for two hours about everything! he answered all of my questions with seemingly honest answers. went by VERY quickly.

good luck!

I recently had an interview with Beloit; my interviewed was the asst. director of admissions so I’d assume that it was evaluative. She did ask why I was interested in the school and what my GPA is but other than that, it was just casual chatting about the school. I think it went very well, but I was so nervous my memory could be flawed. :slight_smile:

Are all of you talking about on-campus interviews or local alumni interviews? I understand that the smaller schools (Bryn Mawr, Beloit, etc) will do on-campus interviews, but most of the middle size and bigger schools won’t do campus interviews. I am pleasantly surprised to hear the MIT and WashU will do on-campus interviews, if that is what you are saying.

I have a friend whose D is a NMSF and lilely to be val. She’s looking at several top LACs that do not require interviews. Should she request interviews? Any advantages to having an interview if not required?

My interview was near my hometown but it was with an adcom member. It wasn’t required but I think that it helps. It puts a face to the name and shows a side of you that doesn’t come through in the applications. I’d think it would be harder to reject a person as opposed to a name and numbers. I also think it’s a great opportunity to show how interested you are in the school. I came prepared and she commented about how well I’d researched Beloit.

here’s my standard advice: if you can do it, pick some colleges near you that you aren’t strongly interested in and have interviews “just for fun”, in other words schedule interviews and see how it goes. You don’t want your first time to be for keeps if you can avoid it. As for being nervous, its just a matter of getting used to it; the first day of HS you were probably nervous walking around campus, today I bet you don’t give it a second thought. Interviewing is no different.

Rehearsal is a good technique. Get a book on job interviewing and practice answering those questions. Colleges are going to ask much of the same thing – “tell me about yourself”, “what do you consider your strengths”, “tell me about a problem you had with a friend and how you solved it”, etc. These are all pretty standard; just substitute “enroll here” for “work here” and the work-specific ones translate too. Practice first in front of a mirror, then have a parent or friend play the role of interviewer.

One of the most important times, BTW, is when they turn to you and ask if you have any questions. I guarantee you’ll be asked this, and its not just to fill time. Its your turn to show you’ve done your homework and can ask cogent questions that show you know about the particulars of the school and have read the material available in the viewbook, on the web, etc. and have considered yourself as a student there and what questions would arise.

Interviews on campus are very important, those with alums much less so (although you’ll read various opinions here about this latter claim). On-campus you have a trained interviewer who talks with hundreds of kids every year; they can place you pretty closely after talking with you. In the community you have people who are quite proud of their college but less thoroughly trained and who may only see a dozen or so kids each year (if even that). Their recs are not as important UNLESS you raise a red flag of some sort – eg. admit you’re applying just to see if you get in, or because your parents made you, or make a very negative impression.

Keep in mind, too, that of the 2,500+ 4-year colleges in the country only about 100 or so are the super-selective ones everyone worries about (and strives for!). The rest admit the majority of their applicants, and even if you’re not aware of this the colleges are quite aware of it. So many “interviews” are more akin to sales meetings where they try to sell you on their school, get some kind of verbal committment if they can, etc.

"Interviews on campus are very important, those with alums much less so (although you’ll read various opinions here about this latter claim). "

It depends on the college. Some offer on-campus interviews that are basically information – to give info to the student, and to basically sell the student on the college.

At some colleges like Harvard, which interview mainly through alum, the alum interviews are important. At least 90% of Harvard’s applicants qualify for admission according to H’s dean of admissions. Consequently, the interview can help make the difference between acceptance and rejection.

An outstanding interview probably won’t tip a student in, but a bad interview can keep a student out. I’m a H alum interviewer and have caught students in lies during their interviews (An advantage of alum interviews is that the alums are probably more likely to spot lies about things like ECs than admissions officers will since the alum interviewers may be very familiar with the local ECs. For instance, a student whom I interviewed claimed extensive experience with an organization that I spent a lot of time volunteering with. I’d never seen her before. I knew that if she had the experience that she had claimed, I’d have met her before. )

I’ve also had admissions officers contact me directly with questions related ot the interview, so I know that when it comes to H, the interviews aren’t empty exercises. Students who blow them off thinking alum’s opinions don’t count are making big mistakes.

i know g-town requires almuni interviews, but i of course do not know how much weight they put on them
for chicago, i really just wanted to talk to an alum to get a better view of the school. in addition, i could also show my interest.

My interview for College of the Atlantic was yesterday and it went well. My interviewer was extremely nice, and it was very informal. Although the interview was not mandatory, I felt I should go on it anyway to better my chances of getting in the school. If I had any regrets, it would be to not be as informal as I was, and get down to real business.

Did anyone interview for Wesleyan? Can you share your experiences?

I have quite a bit of experience interviewing…I interviewed to get into the private school I go to now, and I interviewed for school secretary sophomore year (this, however, didn’t go too well, as I didn’t get the position) but I usually can be lively and strike up conversation pretty well…for my high school interview it was like “What’s your hobby?” “Why do you want to come here?” kind of thing…and for my stuco interview it was like “How can you be an asset to student council?” “What kind of ideas do you have?” etc (to the second question I thought about responding “I could tell you, but then you might not pick me and just use my ideas. I’ll answer that if you pick me.” but I resisted…hehe)

i’m interviewing for wellesley soon and i’m really nervous.

Back when I was applying for colleges, I did my MIT interview, which I don’t think went so well. My biggest problem was that I didn’t have any questions- I really knew about all I needed and wanted to about MIT (I’d visited campus, read about it, etc). If I could do it again, I would have forgotten about that and thought of some questions to ask anyways. I think that would have made it go much smoother.

I had my Skidmore interview–evaluative, not informative–at the end of the summer. My interviewer was an assistant admissions dean, very nice, we talked for almost an hour. basic questions–asked about HS, ECs, what do you like about skidmore, what are you looking for in a school, etc. the one that caught me a bit off-guard was “tell me about your family”–wasn’t really expecting that, but whatever-everything else went extremely well.<br>
Two of my friends who interviewed at Yale and Manhattanville said to beware of the “what words would you use to describe yourself” questions–they just want adjectives, no explanations. I’m glad they didn’t ask me that!

My U Chicago interviewer didn’t show today.

ouch. :o(