A common question this time of year is if you should be scheduling interviews during your spring college visits. While visiting colleges in the spring is a great idea for juniors, you should wait to interview until fall or winter of senior year.
You will have one opportunity to interview, and you want to be as prepared as possible. You will need to be able to clearly articulate your interest in each college you interview with, and you most likely won’t be able to do that until after you visit for the first time. The purpose of these springtime visits is to determine if you like a college in the first place, and why. In other words, you probably aren’t ready to interview yet. It will be more effective to interview in a few months when you’ve had time to do more research and formulate your ideas about why you’re interested in each school.
Colleges want to know the most recent version of you as possible. It might sound silly, but a lot can happen in the next few months and over the summer that could affect what you’re interested in and how you see the world. You might be interested in a whole different group of colleges than you are now! It’s best to wait until fall or winter of senior year so that you can be as close to the person in your college applications as possible.
If you’re considering interviewing now because you don’t think you can make it back to campus again, that shouldn’t be a concern. Most colleges that offer interviews will have an off-campus interview option with college alumni or traveling admissions representatives so you can schedule an interview closer to home later in the year. On-campus interviews are not viewed more favorably in the admissions process than off-campus interviews, so don’t worry about not being able to make it back to campus.
If a college offers interviews, it’s generally a smart idea to have one because it shows that you’re invested in the school and made the effort to connect. However, interviews are usually a minor factor in the application process, (in fact, many colleges no longer offer them at all!) so it’s okay if you don’t have the opportunity. There are plenty of other ways to show the admissions committee who you are and why you’re interested in their school.