Preparing for An Alumni Interview

Several articles have been written about alumni and admissions interviews.  Yesterday’s post provided more insights on why Stanford has now decided to provide applicants with the opportunity to interview with alumni.  We have posted some general admissions interview tips, but how do admissions interviews with an alumnus differ from interviews with an admissions officer?

  • Don’t expect an alumni volunteer to be able to answer detailed information about the application process.  They may be able to give you general statistics (average SAT scores, acceptance rate) but they may not be able to provide details on how admissions decisions are made.  Save those questions for an admissions officer.
  • Expect the “interview” to be more of a conversation.  The alumnus may have a set list of questions, but more than likely, they are just trying to get to know you.
  • Be prepared to talk about your interest in the school.  One thing all admissions interviewers are trying to gauge is how interested you are.  Make sure you can show that you have done your homework and can clearly state why you want to attend the university.
  • Ask insightful questions.  This is your chance to ask someone who has not only attended the university you are interested in, but has also graduated from it.  Ask them what life has been like after graduation.  How did the university prepare them for the real world?  What was their job search like?  Did they work with the career services office?  These are questions that can not be answered by current students or admissions officers.
  • Don’t feel like you need to discuss your academic credentials during an interview with an alumnus.  More than likely, the alumnus will not know what your GPA is or your standardized testing scores because the point is for them to get to know who you are beyond the classroom.
  • Remember that they are volunteering to conduct these admissions interviews, so they obviously are invested in their alma mater.  Alumni are often drawn to doing interviews because they want to find students who are going to contribute to the college community.  They want to make sure you are going to make their alma mater a better place.

Katherine Price

Educational Consultant

Published by Mark Montgomery

Mark is a leading educational consultant. His experience as a professor, college administrator, and youth mentor help him guide students from around the country and around the world.

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  1. Super advice for the college bound. These Alums are truly there to find out how you will mesh with their Alma Mater. They have been there, done that. Do your ‘homework” on the college. As stated, they will be there more for a conversation than to hear your test scores and grades. Be open, honest and ask thoughtful questions. Alums who volunteer for this duty take it seriously. They love their school. Show respect, learn and try to have a good time.

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