How important is the interview for colleges when selecting prospective students?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,883
    College counselor Jerome A. Cole, MA discusses the importance of the interview for colleges when selecting prospective students.

    Speaker: How important is the interview for colleges when selecting perspective students?

    Jerome Cole: I think that for schools that require interviews, they are very important. Anytime that you have the opportunity to sit and speak directly with someone to talk about yourself, to talk about who you are, what you are going to bring to the table, I think that's valuable. One of the reasons that the most select schools tend to require students to do essays is because they understand that the competition is so fierce and the students look so good on paper that everyone in terms of transcripts and test scores, they are so similar that one of the ways that you can separate kids is to have that one-on-one contact to develop a relationship if you will. I know it is difficult to develop a relationship over the course of a 30 minute or 60 minute conversation, but you are making contact; you do get a chance to kind of bring your file to life if you will and so I think the interview can be important, but I guess, I would like to add something about interviews. We've talked about some schools requiring interviews, other schools not. We've talked about whether it is appropriate for a student to request an interview. I would say that anytime you go and visit a college and you are taking a tour and you are interacting with a student ambassador who is living in that tour, you walk into the Admission's Office, you start up a conversation with a receptionist or you get the opportunity to talk to a counselor, I would say that any contact that you have with someone on that campus, you should view that as an interview.

    What I mean when I say interview is, you are speaking; you are sharing information; you are asking questions. That should be viewed as an interview; that should be viewed by you as a student as an opportunity to convey who you are and that's important, so most students as I've said previously, most students will not interview. They will not have an interview for college, but the majority of students will go visit a campus, will take a tour, will sit in on the information session and may have a chance to have a short conversation with an admission's counselor.

    You should view that very seriously even if it is a 30 second exchange; make sure the person knows who you are; make sure the person knows which school you are from and make sure the person is avoided. You are really interested in the school, if in fact you are interested. So it's not just the "formal interview" that's important, but it's any contact that you have with anyone on the college campus that's going to help your case in terms of being admitted to a college or university.