|By Miriam on Friday, September 28, 2001 - 07:38 pm: Edit|
I hope you might have some advice. Last year, our daughter's friend (also female) applied ED to Yale-- 1510 SAT's, SAT II's all 750+, top 10% taking all AP's, NCTE winner, Math capt etc-- AND a great kid-- and founder of her HS GSA, not sure re her own orientation. Had her alum interview w/ a Yale '73 or so-- the woman grilled her on why GSA founder- aren't there other good causes; does your sexual orientation interfere with your studies (to which my daughter's friend felt pressured into denying being gay), why do gays insist on positive discrimination, etc. Our daughter's friend finally got the interviewer off the subject and onto French, and when asked her fav Fr movie, replied "Au Revoir Les Enfants" to which the interviewer replied-- "must be because you're Jewish"... My daughter is considering applying ealy to Yale this fall. If something like this would happen in her interview (although she is not gay), should I/ she do anything about this? Does it matter?
|By Roger (Roger) on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 10:19 am: Edit|
Wow, Miriam - sounds like the interview from hell! This kind of interviewer behavior isn't very common, although with the large number of alumni who do occasional interviews (often without much training) one gets all kinds. (My daughter had an interviewer from Dartmouth who seemed to long for the good old days when they didn't admit women!) Fortunately, interviews aren't usually a huge factor in admissions.
Overall, I wouldn't sweat the interview too much. If the interviewer exhibits inappropriate behavior or questioning, though, I'd probably mention it to the admissions office.
|By Miriam on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 03:40 pm: Edit|
Yes, I think there is a very wide range of interviewing quality going on out there, especially in the field with alumni interviewers. There's no oversight, or precious little. If I were running the admissions show, I would spot check my alumni interviewers by rotating a brief interview questionnaire among interviewed applicants. A little feedback from the field might catch some of these problems you and I mention here. Frankly, I think that most admissions departments don't have much knowledge about the quality of their alumni interviewers.
|By California Mom on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 06:07 pm: Edit|
I just thought I'd comment - we had a problem with an alumni interviewer from Sarah Lawrence. Basically, we were given the name of an M.D. who never returned our call to set up the interview. I learned later from the admissions office that other local families had the same experience.
Anyway, it didn't matter; my son was accepted even without the interview. Sarah Lawrence is a college that "highly recommends" an interview, preferably on-campus -- but they say that they do not hold it against a student who is unable to interview.
I assume you probably are too far from Yale to make an on-campus interview convenient, but you might check with their admissions office to find out whether they are scheduling interviews at any time in your area. Some colleges do send their reps around to various areas, and either will set up interviews at specific high schools or send a notice about when they will be in town.
My son met with reps from 3 different colleges this way, and of course that was handled very professionally and very well organized.
I just checked the Yale site and they say that while they encourage interviews, they do not require them. If you go to their admissions site at http://www.yale.edu/admit/ you will see a place you can click for "Yale in your area", which has a schedule of local presentations. Generally, these information sessions are conducted by representatives from the admissions offices. Although it is a group presentation, it is worthwhile attending, and you can fill out a card which records your presence - this is an extra brownie point on the "demonstrated interest/contacts" file that they keep for students.
|By Miriam on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 07:10 pm: Edit|
Thank you very much for taking the time to share that information, CM. I'll check Yale's site and try to coordinate something in my area. What a breath of fresh air this discussion forum is. I've been on some others recently where the only thing you can count on is being called an idiot or some other unmentionable word. I appreciate the civility of this group. Thanks again!
|By Roger (Roger) on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 11:32 am: Edit|
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Miriam. We really want to keep discussion helpful and civil here, and have a strict policy against flames, profanity, ad hominem attacks, etc. That doesn't mean that posters can't disagree - far from it! We do expect, though, that when posters argue, the discussion will focus on the issues, NOT on the posters! There's nothing like a good argument to expose multiple sides of a complex issue.
Come back any time and post with confidence!
|By Miriam on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 02:56 pm: Edit|
Thank you, Roger. The atmosphere here seems much closer to a series of late-night bull sessions in the dorm rather than that of just another message board. There's a real sense of community. As the Terminator said, "I'll be back!"
|By Kendra on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 11:12 am: Edit|
Does it hurt if you don't interview? For a kid that's somewhat shy and may not shine at an interview, would you recommend not doing it at all? My sense is that the interview probably won't help that much, but could possibly hurt -- does anyone have any thoughts/experiences on this?
|By Dave Berry on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 03:39 pm: Edit|
That's exactly the tact I took with my son, who is a very bright, but very humble and somewhat introverted young man. He views discussing his accomplishments and strengths as bragging, thus he declines to market himself. He applied early to Princeton, but I advised him to skip an on-campus interview and, instead, concentrate on his local alumni interview. He did and was accepted early.
You're right. Interviews seldom make a difference one way or the other but they can leave a negative impression if the candidate is not "on" and the interviewer is an admissions department heavyweight. I'd skip the on-campus interview and go with the alumni opportunity, just as my son did. Good luck.
|By Dadster on Sunday, November 04, 2001 - 06:13 pm: Edit|
One thought I might add to this thread: before an alumni interview, check with someone who has already met with him/her if at all possible. My daughter checked with a year-earlier student and found that an interviewer from one school had a whole series of questions about "the best book you've read recently", various academic topics, etc. None of these were difficult questions, but having thought about them a bit helped avoid being caught off-guard. Probably good to avoid the "uhhhhh, gee, I dunno, hmmmm, I never thought about that..." kind of reply...
This approach was kind of unique, at least for her interviewers. The others were all low key, mostly conversation about what the school was like, etc.
|By dotmom on Tuesday, November 05, 2002 - 09:46 pm: Edit|
I just wanted to add a comment. The behavior of this interviewer was completely out of line. Your question was, should you do anything if this happens to your daughter. My answer is definitely! I am sure that Yale would be horrified to know about this person's behavior. I know it's difficult to say someting because you think you might hurt your kid's chances, but do you really want your kid to go to a school that tolerates this kind of behavior and punishes the whistle blower? I don't think so -- and again, I'm sure Yale would want to know. If I were you, I'd call the Admissions office - and very politely tell them what happened and request another interview. Of course, this is assuming the same thing happens to your daughter. I also think that if you schedule an interview, and your daughter is assigned to the same person, you could call and request another person. I'd look at this kind of situation as a teaching opportunity.
|By Libra on Wednesday, November 06, 2002 - 08:26 am: Edit|
The other side of the coin, dotmom, is that you have to pick your battles. While the interviewer's behavior was unquestionably unacceptable, since the interview plays such a small role in the final outcome, it may not be worth the risk to make an isue of something so trivial. Admittedly, Yale probably would like to know about unsatisfactory interviewers but the contest might boil down to "he said, she said" (although it might corroborate another complaint.) Ironically, Yale is reputedly very gay-friendly.
If Miriam is still around, would she mind bringing us up-to-date on her daughter's friend and her daughter.
|By Sally R. on Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - 04:11 pm: Edit|
As Roger suggests above, an egregious breach of conduct by an alum interviewer should be reported to the office of admission. Understandably, students and parents don't want to be labeled complainers and may feel that such a report could work against them. However, no interviewer should probe into a student's sexual orientation, religious beliefs, etc.
Obviously, there can be some gray area here. For instance, it's not uncommon for students to bring up everything from "coming out" experiences to religious epiphanies without any prodding from interviewers whatsoever. That means that the interviewer must be extra careful to let the student make his or her point without being judgmental or argumentative.
Admission offices, admittedly, aren't always sympathetic when a parent or student complains that an interviewer simply "wasn't good" or didn't allow the applicant enough time to expound on 18 years of excellence in multiple arenas. However, the specifics of the session that Miriam describes are certainly completely inappropriate, and admission officials would appreciate this information.
Parents or students who are anxious about being earmarked as whiners can begin their comments with a disclaimer along the lines of, "I normally don't consider myself a complainer but ..." Colleges realize they have limited knowledge about what alum interviews are doing out there in the field, and usually the only way they can exercise any quality control is when applicants and their families take the time to write.
|By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Saturday, November 16, 2002 - 09:41 am: Edit|
As an alumni interviewer for Harvard, I can say with a fair amount of assurance that the Yale interviewer's behavior was NOT what colleges want their alumni interviewers to do.
My suggestion is that if anyone's kids encounter such behavior, the STUDENT should contact the admissions office, thoughtfully explain what happened, and request another interviewer.
The PARENT definitely should not call and do this. If a parent calls, that would indicate that the student lacks the maturity to handle these kind of challenges. It also would be far more difficult for adcoms to admonish or eliminate the out of line interviewer if they are relying on information they got second hand.
If a student calls and handles the situation in a tactful way, that could actually help tip admissions in their favor. The highly competitive colleges do like students with the guts to stand up for what is right.
Regardless of whether the parent or student called, I would bet that the student would be ofered an additional interview. This is because regardless of whether a student is admitted or not, colleges like the Ivies want alumni interviews to be fair and pleasant experiences for the student.
In fact, the materials that Harvard sends to alumni interviewers specifically warn against doing the kind of behavior that was described in the original post.
Report an offensive message on this page E-mail this page to a friend
|Posting is currently disabled in this topic. Contact your discussion moderator for more information.|
|Administrator's Control Panel -- Board Moderators Only|