Overheard in Committee: Interview Impact

We Admit It!  It’s that time of year again.  That time when we lock ourselves in our conference rooms, hunker down with a three-tiered cart full of snacks (and we won’t lie, most aren’t of the healthy variety) and complete the class.  That time when we make the really tough calls.  That time when we realize just how lucky we are to work where we do.  That time where we’re humbled by the accomplishments of those students we are admitting and those who we unfortunately are not.  We have a thousand and one discussions about what makes for a great application, a great addition to the class, a great fit for W&M.  So without further ado, we bring you the “Overheard in Committee” blogs for the freshman Regular Decision cohort.

Overheard in Committee today: The interview was really compelling.

The applicant was a student who was strong across the board but in ways that many of our applicants are.  She had been able to participate in our optional interview opportunity last summer and that was where she ended up distinguishing herself.  The written evaluation provided by her student interviewer helped us see the applicant’s personality and how she would contribute to the W&M community if admitted.  In this student’s case, the interviewer not only determined she’d be a great fit but she’d be the type of student who makes an impact on campus through her drive and passion both in and out of the classroom.  The personality and enthusiasm exhibited in the interview helped to tip the scales in the applicant’s favor.

This is why we offer interviews; to help students help themselves, to allow students the chance to showcase their personalities and thereby enhance their overall application.  Interviews to us are like teacher recommendations in many ways (they’re optional, they’re designed to give us a fuller picture of an individual student, they’re one component of many that go into an application) except that your teachers know you really well, but may not know W&M very well.  Our Interviewers don’t know you very well, but they know W&M.

For those of you fretting over not participating in an interview, don’t.  They are entirely optional.  Only 20% of our applicants interview so most students who apply (and by extension who are admitted) do so without an interview as part of their application.  We understand that many people cannot make it to campus when interviews are offered or try to interview but our appointments are full.  No applicant is looked down upon for not interviewing.  For those who do interview however, we wanted to provide some insight into that component and how it plays out through the application process.

Committee is a long-haul exercise.  So stay tuned, more to come (especially once we consume some of that sugary goodness).

Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission

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