Acing Alumni Interviews - Part 2: Before and After the Alumni Interview

College Admissions

Alumni interviews can vary in length between twenty minutes and two hours, depending on the interviewer, your rapport with the interviewer, and what you both have to say. There are some key things you should do to set up and follow up on the alumni interview.

Key Things to Do Before and After an Alumni Interview

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that your interviewer is a volunteer. (S)He is taking time out of a busy day to help you get into the alma mater. You most certainly need to act accordingly!

Respond when contacted. Barring exceptional circumstances, you should make sure to respond to your interviewer within 48 hours of being contacted. It is not the interviewer’s job to track you down, and most will give up after emailing you once and calling you once. After that, they are likely to report back to the admissions office that you are not interested. While this will not automatically yield a rejection letter for you, it will not look good. If you have been accepted elsewhere early decision, do the interviewer a favor and please cancel your interview request.

(Also, remember to use formal writing in your emails, and address the interviewer by a title.)

Exchange contact information. At minimum, make sure that you have the interviewer’s cell phone number, and that (s)he has yours, just in case…

Come on time. If you think you are going to be more than 5 minutes late, call ahead. Interviewers are understanding about things like traffic and such, but do not take that for granted!

Thank the interviewer. If you have the interviewer’s email address, it is a good idea to send a quick thank-you email over and above expressing your personal gratitude at the end of the interview. In the follow up email, reiterate key points that were raised during the interview to solidify the good impression you made.

Check out the rest of this series:

Part 1: The Role of Alumni Interviewers