How to Succeed at Your Alumni Interview

on January 25, 2017

Many colleges and universities recommend that their applicants interview with an alumnus as part of the application process. Although some require interviews before reviewing an application, others suggest that students do an interview. 


Even if it's optional, you should take the opportunity to meet with an alumnus from the colleges you're most serious about.


Do Research and Be Specific
After setting up a meeting time at a local café or library, which many interviewers will agree to, take some time to research the college or university you’d like to attend. Come to the interview with knowledge about the college that most interests you.


During the meeting, talk as specifically as possible about why you want to attend this college, mentioning the opportunities it offers as a prospective undergraduate. Alumni want to see that you are enthusiastic and have engaged with the university. You need to convince them that you’ll be a good fit for their alma mater.


Be Professional and Mature
Be sure to look and sound professional. Although formalwear isn't necessary, a sharp, neat appearance is key. Do not bring your parents with you to the interview; you want to communicate that you are mature, independent and prepared for university life.


Just Be Yourself
Even though an alumni interview is a serious method of evaluation for colleges and universities, they also want to know that you are your own person. Use this time as an opportunity to supplement your application with additional anecdotes about formative experiences or personal interests.


Because you’ll be meeting in person, you can be more casual and relaxed. You’ll also want to seem natural, so don't memorize a script or rattle off a practiced speech. This interview is an opportunity to be open, direct and less formal than in your essays. Engage with the interviewer and allow them to get to know the real you, firsthand.


Ask Questions and Follow Up
Finally, take advantage of the fact that your interviewer has an intimate knowledge of their former college or university. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about their specific experiences, as well as how you can take advantage of every opportunity offered at the university, should you be accepted.


At the end of the meeting, make sure to thank your interviewer. Be sure to follow-up with an email sincerely restating your gratitude and interest in the university. 

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