Sep 22, 2010

When Interviewers Come to You

A few interesting statistics and some anecdotal evidence suggest a resurgence in the importance of the interview in the overall college admissions process. In the most recent NACAC State of College Admission Report, 11 percent of colleges attached “considerable importance” to the interview—an increase of 2 percent in five years.

But more telling may be the number of colleges expanding their off-campus capacity to provide interviews, including those conducted by admissions staff as well as by alumni representatives. Stanford University, for example, has been piloting an alumni interview program for the past two years by slowly expanding into new regions of the country, including DC for the first time this year.

And why would this be? In the same NACAC report, 21 percent of responding colleges placed considerable importance on an applicant’s “demonstrated interest,” or actions taken to signal whether he or she is likely to attend if admitted.

Because students are taking advantage of application technology and applying to more colleges, schools are having a hard time determining a candidate’s true level of interest, and this has a measurable impact on “yield” or the percent of students ultimately accepting an offer of admissions.

Not only does accuracy in projected yield ensure seats will be filled, but it also helps avoid overcrowding in dorms. But above all, because yield is a factor in determining “best” colleges for some rankings, college administrators are very sensitive to data suggesting their invitations are not being accepted.

Since the interview can be an excellent method of gauging true interest, colleges are increasingly turning to these more personal interactions with applicants to supplement information provided on an application. But recognizing that on campus interviews are not feasible for everyone, accommodations are being made to bring interviewers to candidates.

Here are some of the colleges currently scheduling interviews in the DC area:

• Lafayette College: Bethesda (September 27-30), DC (October 3-6), and Alexandria (November 1-3). Appointments may be scheduled by emailing Chris La Tempa ( or by phone at 610-330-5534.

• Harvey Mudd College: September 28 from 5 pm to 6:30 pm and all day on October 30, at the Embassy Suites in Chevy Chase. Registration information may be found on the Harvey Mudd website.

Southern Methodist University (SMU): October 18 (Bethesda Hilton Garden Inn), October 19 (Washington Hilton), October 21 (Owings Mill Hilton Garden Inn), and October 27 (Tysons Corner Hilton Garden Inn). Contact Abbi Pfister-Soria ( for an appointment.

• Lawrence University: September 19 (Embassy Suites on Military Road) and September 22 (Inn at the Colonnade in Baltimore). Contact Teege Mettille ( for more information.

• Allegheny College: October 12 (Baltimore Marriott Hunt Valley Inn), October 16 (Crowne Plaza McLean), and October 19 (Bethesda Marriott Suites). Schedule an appointment by contacting MaryAnn Vrabel at 814-332-4727 or via email at

• Holy Cross:
October 26 (DC) and October 28 (Baltimore). Preregistration required on the Holy Cross website.

• Worcester Polytechnic Institute: October 3 (Baltimore Marriott Hunt Valley Inn). Call the admissions office to schedule an appointment at 508-831-5286.

Gettysburg College: September 24 and October 5 (Bethesda). Contact Tara Bowman ( October 24, 25, and 26 (Fairfax). Contact Jeff Rudberg (

• Juniata College: October 17 (Crown Plaza Rockville), September 27 (Crown Plaza McLean), and September 28 (Hampton Inn Dulles/Cascades). Registration available on the Juniata website.

• Alfred University: October 18 (Starbucks at 4250 East West Highway in Bethesda). Appointments are required and may be made by calling the Office of Admissions at 800-541-9229.

• University of Delaware: September 26 (National Cathedral School). More information is available on the website.

LeMoyne College: November 9 (Pooks Hill Marriott in Bethesda) and November 10 (Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel). Call the Office of Admission at 800-333-4733, for an appointment.

• University of Rochester: October 11 (Fairfax) and October 13 (Bethesda). Register for specific times on the school website.

Note: if you have already had an on campus interview, you do not need to schedule a second off campus interview.

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