Preparing for College

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.