How to prepare for an alumni interview


Liv Bohler

Graphic by Liv Bohler

Liv Bohler

After you submit your application to a college or university, the admissions process does not necessarily end there. Select colleges or universities allow for an alumni interview. With this opportunity, prospective students can learn more about their school of interest and interviewers can determine their possible fit. Normally, these one-on-one interviews take place in person. Maybe at a local coffee shop or in their interviewer’s workplace, but almost all alumni interviews in this admission cycle are conducted on a virtual platform using programs such as Zoom or Google Meet. Read below for some tips to prepare for your interview.

Do Your Research 

One of the most important questions that a college interviewer will ask is “Why this college?” You should be prepared to answer with specific detail regarding the unique resources at the college or university that will help you along with your educational and professional career. Before applying for the school, you should have done research into the programs and concentrations, clubs and activities that they offer. Here is your chance to voice what you learned by diving deep into the website of your dream school. Make it a goal to tell your interviewer something they may not already know.

Review Possible Questions

There are hundreds of opportunities to review interview questions online. For example, watching YouTube videos, reading blogs or going directly to the admissions website of your choice school. In order to be prepared for your interview, it is important to have an idea of what you plan to say in response to the questions the interviewer may ask. College Vine finds that “Tell me about yourself,” “What do you like to do outside of school?” and “What are your biggest strengths/weaknesses?” are some of the most common questions. 

Create Questions Of Your Own

Towards the end of most alumni interviews, the interviewer gives you an opportunity to ask questions on your own. Prepare some beforehand and try to be creative. In other words, go beyond “What did you study?” Remember, alumni who are conducting the interviews are volunteers who saw this as an opportunity to give back to their school. Use this as your opportunity to discover why they decided to volunteer and turn the interview into a conversation.

Dress Appropriately

Even though most of the interviews in this admission cycle are conducted on Zoom, that does not negate the importance of appropriate interview attire. There is no need to go over the top (no ball gown or three-piece suite), but dress as you would for a presentation at school.

It is important to remember that interviews are only a fraction of your application, and in most cases, will not serve as the determining factor. Instead, they are another chance to wage your fit for your school, so arrive early, be yourself and give honest answers.