Informational Interviews

I’ve been getting a lot of questions on the road this fall about interviews. Primarily, students are asking whether they need to interview for admission, and whether interviewing will improve their chances of admission. The short answers are no and no; but I thought I’d write a post on it to clarify a bit.

There are a few ways to interview with Richmond. If you’re visiting campus, you can schedule an on-campus interview with one of our senior fellows (interns in the admission office). If we offer alumni interviews in your area, you can schedule one closer to home. And in some regions, my colleagues and I will invite students to interview during our fall recruitment travel. Interviews are only available to high school seniors (and rising seniors over the summer).

Interviews with Richmond are strictly informational. They are not evaluative – there is no evaluation, no scoring, no summary that goes in your application. Whether you’re meeting with one of our senior fellows on campus, an alumnus in your hometown, or an admission officer, the interview is simply an opportunity to speak with someone in a one-on-one context about your interest and fit at Richmond. It’s a great opportunity to get to know Richmond a bit better and to talk about your interests and aspirations.

Now here’s the catch. There are a lot of colleges that say interviews are informational and optional (or “recommended”) when, in reality, interviews are given weight in the admission process, and you will improve your chances of admission by interviewing. Many recent pieces of journalism (like this Daily Beast article) drum up fears and concerns about interviews (and perhaps rightfully so, if many colleges are approaching them in this fashion). But let me be clear: Richmond is not one of these schools. We do not discuss interviews – or even whether a student did or did not interview – in the admission committee. That information is not included with your application. When we say optional, we mean optional. When we say non-evaluative, we mean non-evaluative.

If you’re reading this as an archived post in a future year, be sure to check with our office to see whether our interview policy has changed. It could very well. But if it does, we’ll be clear about it. And for the 2011-12 application cycle, interviews at Richmond remain strictly optional and informational.

So if you’re able to interview, go for it. It’s a great opportunity. But if you can’t, no worries. It won’t be to your disadvantage in the application process.

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