I'm a little stressed out. I applied to seven top schools and only one (Princeton) asked me for an interview. I know they all have interviewers in my town because other people I know have gotten interviews. Is this a bad sign? I'm assuming it is. Should I write to the admissions office and request one?
Although it may be hard to convince yourself otherwise, Ivy League interviews are not awarded to the most promising candidates. The fact that you haven't been contacted to interview doesn't mean that those students in your community who did receive interview requests are more likely to be accepted than you are. Some of these students were probably selected randomly; others may have been picked because the admission committee needs more information that wasn't clear from the rest of the application (e.g., "Why all those absences in 11th grade?") You should not reach out to the admission office to request an interview. This is strictly a "Don't call us; we'll call you" situation.
As the decision notification dates draw closer, there will probably be more "tea leaves" that you'll be tempted to read (e.g., 'The admission office asked my counselor for a friend's trimester grades but not mine"), but often these "signs" are meaningless. As you know, the vast majority of qualified Ivy applicants are not accepted. So you may need to steel yourself for bad news, but your lack of an interview invitation is not a harbinger of what's to come.
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About the Ask the Dean column: Sally Rubenstone is a veteran of the college admissions process and is the co-author of three books covering admissions. She worked as a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years and has also served as an independent college counselor, in addition to working as a senior advisor at College Confidential since 2002. If you'd like to submit a question to The Dean, please send it along here.