ic S/general/checkmark circled Thanks for subscribing! Be on the lookout for our next newsletter.
ic S/general/checkmark circled Saved to Favorites.
Articles / Applying to College / Impact of Passing Up Alumni Interview?

Impact of Passing Up Alumni Interview?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Feb. 20, 2020

Question: Would not requesting an alumni interview impact my application negatively? Just wondering, because some schools request that you turn in apps by an earlier date to schedule alumni interviews.

“The Dean" always encourages students to request an alumni interview when available because it shows interest in the college. But, on the other hand, those alum interviews count for very little—at least at the most selective institutions. So sometimes I feel as if I'm speaking with a forked tongue … i.e., why go out of the way to schedule an interview, take an extra shower, and iron your cleanest shirt if the interview provides little more than a pleasant (maybe) conversation and a free (again maybe) Frappuccino?

Yes, there are countless inconsistencies that come with the college process and this is yet another. So while I do recommend that students opt for the interview where possible, I think the negative impact of NOT doing it is so small that it's almost immeasurable. If you've already missed the application deadline and can't get an interview, don't sweat it. Most colleges don't have enough alumni volunteers to offer interviews to everyone who wants one, which is yet another reason why the interview plays such a minuscule role in the final verdicts.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

More on Applying to College

See all
Can I Reapply After Early Decision or Early Action Rejection?

Can I Reapply After Early Decision or Early Action Rejection?

Question: If I apply to a college through Early Decision or Early Action, but I am not accepted, can I apply again through Regula…


Coalition for College: More Than Just Another College Application

You may have heard about the Coalition application when learning about different types of applications that can be used to apply …


Questions to Ask Your College Interviewer (It Works Both Ways!)

As a college applicant, you may already know the feeling of relief when you hit submit. But wait, you're not done yet! Some …


How to Request Letters of Recommendation

The goal of a college recommendation letter is to humanize you; give the admissions committee a better idea of who you as a perso…

Can an Early Decision Candidate Apply Elsewhere Via Early Action?

Can an Early Decision Candidate Apply Elsewhere Via Early Action?


I am applying Early Decision to Rice. Can I apply Early Action to other colleges?

From the Dean:

College admission regulat…

Find Your Best Fit

Find your best fit college and track your favorite colleges.

Search Colleges