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Articles / Applying to College / Why Hasn't This College Called Me for an Interview?

Jan. 29, 2008

Why Hasn't This College Called Me for an Interview?

Question: Everyone else from my school who had applied to a certain school got called for an alumni interview except for me. I know a couple of alumni interviewers, and they told me a few weeks ago that they were starting to call people. I know my qualifications for this college are as good, if not better, than the rest of the applicants, so I'm not sure what to make of this.

Don't worry, you can sleep well tonight. You don't name the college in question, but rarely are interviews assigned on the basis of merit. In other words, getting called for an interview does not mean that you've passed some sort of initial screening, nor does a lack of contact suggest that you can expect a thin letter in the mail. (Well, this is occasionally true, but usually it's only when you've applied for a special program, such as a combined BA/MD program.)


Many colleges expect applicants who wish to have alumni interviews to make the initial contact themselves, after first obtaining the name of the appropriate alum from the admission office. However, at the Ivies and some other selective schools, it's a "Don't call us, we'll call you" situation. That is, once a student has applied, the local alumni interview coordinator receives the student's name, and the coordinator assigns that student to one of his or her volunteer staff members. The names of all applicants go out to the alums, not just the "good" ones.

So, if your friends have been contacted and you haven't, it probably means that:

The alum who got your name is not as efficient as the ones you know and those who will interview your friends, or ...

Your application has not yet been processed in the admission office. Even if you submitted your materials before your friends did, the order in which this information is entered into the computer system (which leads to alumni notification) can be somewhat random. (However, if you haven't already ascertained that your application materials arrived safely, now is a good time to do so.)

If a couple weeks go by and you still haven't heard from your local alum, it's fine to call the college just to double check that there hasn't been an oversight. But meanwhile, don't fret over the fact that you haven't been contacted, and tell your friends (if you dare) that, unfortunately, the fact that they have been doesn't mean that their applications have already moved closer to the "In" pile.

Good luck to you as you prepare for you interviews and await your decisions.

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.

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