About the Interviewers
Before we get started, here’s a brief introduction about the alumni interviewers and the role they play in your interview.
Alumni interviewers are passionate about the school and love their alma mater. Ranging from recent graduates to alumni of 50+ years, they cover the spectrum in terms of majors, activities, religions, ethnicity, you name it. They enjoy serving the alma mater by helping to choose the next round of future alumni. Although they make reports to the admissions committee, it is important to remember that, typically, they do not make admissions decisions. Think of tehm as members of the admissions committee who get to speak, but not vote.
Therefore, keep in mind that it is pretty hard to mess up an alumni interview. They are not there to act as gatekeepers to keep you from joining the ranks. Instead, they are actively looking for the things that are cool, fun, and interesting about you. It is helpful to think of them as your advocates on the admissions committee whose job it is to explain why the alma mater should accept you.
It is important to keep your wits about you during the interview. Being nervous will only impede your ability to be yourself and show them what makes you, you.
The Interview Itself
Alumni interviews can vary in length between 20 minutes and 2 hours. This is dependent on the interviewer, your rapport with the interviewer, and what you both have to say. There are some things to keep in mind before, during, and after the alumni interview.
- Remember to use formal writing in your emails and address the interviewer by a title.
- Keep in mind that your interviewer is a volunteer! They are taking time out of a busy day to help you get into the alma mater, so 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. Most will give up after emailing 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.
- Exchange contact information. At minimum, make sure that you have the interviewer’s cell phone number and that they have yours–just in case!
- Come on time! Or early if possible. If you think you are going to be more than 5 minutes late, call ahead. Interviewers are understanding about things like traffic, but do not take that for granted.
- Maintain eye contact. This small attention to demeanor can really do wonders for an interviewers impression of you. It shows you are engaged and interested in the conversation.
- Thank the interviewer! Immediately following the interview, shake their hand and thank them for their time.
- Why not thank them again? If you have the interviewer’s email address, it is a good idea to send a quick thank you via email. This also gives you a chance to reiterate key points that were raised during the interview to solidify the good impression you made.