College interviews can be a source of stress and confusion for students (and parents!) this time of year. Interview policies vary from one school to another. There are differences in the purpose of the interviews, their timing, who is conducting them, and even whether they’re offered at all. Read our brief guide to understanding interview policies, and then check out the table below for a list of colleges and universities that offer interviews. Note that this list is not exhaustive.
Interviews are generally beneficial to both the student and the college. For students, interviews are an opportunity to get to know a school better, ask any lingering questions, and (in the case of alumni interviews) hear what the student experience is like on campus. Interviews are also a great way to show a college you’re serious about them, which can be important at schools that consider demonstrated interest in admissions decisions. Colleges can use interviews in a few different ways, but they’re typically broken down into two categories: evaluative and informational.
Evaluative interviews are reviewed as part of your application. They give the school a better sense of your personality, interests, and goals. These interviews help the school determine whether you’re a good fit for their campus. While the interviewer usually doesn’t have major influence in admissions decisions, they will share their impressions with the admissions committee. Note that if an interview is required, it’s likely evaluative.
Informational interviews are a chance to provide students with additional information about the institution. These interviews are almost always optional, and in some cases, the school may not even call them “interviews.” Some colleges, for example, will describe them as one-on-one appointments with admissions officers. While informational interviews are designed to answer the student’s questions, the interviewer will still form an impression of you. It’s very possible that impression will be passed along to the admissions committees, so make sure you take these interviews seriously.
Who is my interviewer?
Some interviews, particularly on campus, are conducted by admissions officers. Depending on the school or program, you might interview with current faculty or students. However, most interviews are conducted by alumni of the college or university. Alumni live all over the country (or internationally), so schools can offer interviews to more students from more areas by mobilizing their alumni network. For schools that require or recommend interviews, it’s likely that at least one interviewer lives in your area and will be able to set up an in-person interview.
If you happen to live in an area without an interviewer, online interviews are usually available. Due to the pandemic, many schools have switched entirely to virtual interviews, and they will be given the same weight as in-person interviews.
If you cannot set up a virtual interview either, don’t panic. Colleges and universities will not punish you for where you live or the fact that there were more requests for interviews than could be fulfilled by their alumni network.
When should I request an interview?
Because there are often fewer interviewers than students who want an interview, it’s important to request interviews as early as you can. But knowing what “early” means can be tricky! Schools have widely varying policies about when and how they accept interview requests. Some ask you to set up an interview after you apply, while others ask you to indicate on the application whether you’d like an interview. For schools with required interviews, you may find that the deadline to request an interview is actually earlier than the application deadline. It’s crucial that you look up the specific guidelines at each school you’re applying to. Check the college website first, but if you have trouble finding the information you need, contact the admissions office.
Note that a few schools offer interviews by invitation only. Don’t read too much into it if you don’t get an invitation. Typically, these schools will request an interview if they feel they need more information before they can make a decision on your application. If you are invited to interview, we strongly encourage you to do so!
One final word of advice: make sure you’ve thoroughly researched the schools on your list before you start scheduling interviews. They’re an opportunity to show that you know the school and can articulate why you’d be a great fit for them. When you know where you want (or need) to interview, check out our advice to get prepped for college interviews.
Personalized advice on your college applications, including interview preparation, is available through our services at Expert Admissions.
|School||Interview Policy||Interviewer||Interview Type|
|American University||optional||college representative||phone|
|Babson College||optional||college representative||virtual|
|Bard College||recommended||college representative||in-person|
|Barnard College||optional||staff member, college alumna, or college senior||virtual|
|Boston University||required only for Accelerated Medical Program||college representative||in-person|
|Bowdoin College||stongly recommended||admissions officer or Bowdoin alumni||in-person or virtual|
|Brandeis University||optional||admissions officer, student fellow, or Brandeis alum||in-person or virtual|
|Bryn Mawr College||strongly recommended||college representative||in-person or virtual|
|Carleton College||optional||college representative||in-person or virtual|
|Case Western Reserve University||required||admissions staff||virtual|
|Claremont McKenna College||strongly recommended; required for homeschooled first-year applicants||admissions officer or senior interviewer||in-person or virtual|
|Colgate University||optional||admissions officer, senior admissions intern, or college alum||virtual|
|College of William and Mary||optional||current W&M senior||virtual|
|Columbia University||required if invited to interview||Alumni Representative Committee member||virtual|
|Cornell University||required for Architecture, Art, and Planning; encouraged for Art and Urban and Regional Studies; optional informational meetings available||admissions staff||virtual|
|Dartmouth College||optional; invitation only||Dartmouth alumni||virtual|
|Dickinson College||optional||admissions counselors, Admissions Fellows and alumni volunteers||in-person or virtual|
|Duke University||optional; invitation only||alumni volunteer||virtual|
|Elon University||required; invitation only||Elon PA faculty||in-person or virtual|
|Emerson College||required for Performing Arts applicants||college representative||in-person or virtual|
|Emory University||optional; invitation only||Emory alumni||in-person|
|Fordham University||required for School of Professional and Continuing Studies||admissions officer||in-person|
|Franklin and Marshall College||recommended||college representative||virtual|
|Georgetown University||required||Georgetown alumni||in-person, in student's local community|
|Grinnell College||optional||admissions counselor||virtual|
|Hamilton College||strongly recommended||admissions officer||in-person or virtual|
|Harvard University||required; invitation only||Harvard alumni||virtual|
|Harvey Mudd College||strongly recommended||admissions counselors, Harvey Mudd alumni or senior interns||virtual|
|Haverford College||optional||admissions officer or Haverford alumni||virtual|
|Kenyon College||recommended||student admissions fellow||virtual|
|Lafayette College||recommended||Admissions director, admissions staff or senior Lafayette student||virtual|
|Lehigh University||optional||Admissions counselor||virtual|
|Loyola Marymount University||recommended||Admissions counselor||virtual|
|Macalester College||recommended||Admissions counselor or interviewer||virtual|
|Middlebury College||optional; invitation only||alumni volunteer||virtual|
|MIT||optional; invitation only||educational counselor||virtual|
|Mount Holyoke College||strongly recommended||current student, alumna, or admissions counselor||in-person or virtual|
|New York University (NYU)||Required; only for Tisch School of the Arts applicants||college representative||in-person or virtual|
|Northwestern University||optional; invitation only||regional alumni volunteers||virtual|
|Oberlin||optional||admissions staff, senior student intern, or Oberlin alumni||virtual|
|Pomona College||optional||Pomona alumni||virtual|
|Princeton University||optional||Princeton alumni||virtual|
|Reed College||optional||admissions counselor or student intern||in-person or virtual|
|Rice University||optional||current Rice senior||virtual|
|Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)||recommended||admissions representative||in-person, in student's local community|
|Sarah Lawrence College||optional||admissions counselors and senior ambassadors||virtual|
|Scripps College||optional||Scripps alumni, admissions counselor or current student||virtual|
|Smith College||optional; required for Ada Comstock scholars||admissions counselor||virtual|
|Southern Methodist University (SMU)||optional||college representative||virtual|
|Stanford University||optional; invitation only||Stanford alumni||virtual|
|Swarthmore College||optional||Swarthmore admissions fellow||virtual|
|Syracuse University||optional||admissions representative or current student||virtual|
|Tufts University||optional||Tufts alumni or current senior||virtual|
|Tulane University||optional||Tulane admissions staff||virtual|
|University of Michigan||optional||admissions counselor||in-person or virtual|
|University of Pennsylvania||strongly recommended; by invitation only||Penn alumni||virtual|
|University of Richmond||optional||Richmond alumni or current student||virtual|
|University of Rochester||optional||Rochester alumni||virtual or by phone|
|University of San Francisco||optional; available to international students||USF admissions officer||in-person|
|Vanderbilt University||optional||CoRPs alumni||virtual|
|Vassar College||optional||Vassar alumni||in-person or virtual|
|Wake Forest University||optional||college representative||virtual|
|Washington and Lee University||strongly recommended||Washington & Lee alumni||virtual|
|Washington University in St. Louis||optional||Washington University alumni or current student||virtual|
|Wesleyan University||strongly recommended||Wesleyan alumni||in-person or virtual|
|Yale University||recommended||Yale alumni or current Yale senior||virtual|