Archbishop Ryan High School
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Educational Support » Guidance » ~ College Visits and Interviews

~ College Visits and Interviews

An interview should be viewed as an exchange of ideas, for the benefit of both the interviewer and the student. The interviewer wants to learn more about what makes a student unique, and how he or she could make a contribution to the school.

The advantage to attending an interview is that, like the essay, it provides the opportunity to make a case for admission directly to the decision maker. A good interview could be a connection to a person who may eventually become an advocate when the committee reviews the application. The application contains the "facts" about a student, and this is a chance for the applicant to put the "facts" into context if they need explanation.

How Colleges Interview

Different colleges weigh the interview process differently. Colleges can treat interviews as:

  • Required - Highly evaluative, very important to the admission decision.
  • Recommended - Evaluative, can be important in the admission decision.
  • Optional/Informational - Less evaluative, but still important to the admission decision.
  • Not available.

On-Campus or Off-Campus

  • On-Campus Interviews - These are interviews with a dean, an admissions counselor, a faculty member or even a student. Regardless of whom the interviewer is all interviews should be taken seriously. Whether it's the Head of Admissions or a first-year student, the interviewer is there to evaluate the applicant and it will have an impact on his/her admittance. Call the college and request an official visit and interview.
  • Alumni Interviews - When all of the on-campus interview slots are filled or the applicant lives a great distance from the school, the institution will ask graduates of the college to conduct a local alumni interview. While the alumni interview may be more casual, colleges take alumni input seriously. They believe that graduates of the school should be able to know a good candidate when they see one.


  • Keep extracurricular activities and your unique characteristics in mind.
  • Prepare and practice descriptive, clear and passionate answers.
  • Review literature and web pages from the school; talk to alumni; be informed.
  • Develop questions beyond just facts.
  • Take a tour right before the interview, if possible, to get a feel for the campus.
  • Follow up after an interview. Write a thank you note, ideally hand written, at a minimum an email.