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Coffee chat

As current seniors continue to navigate the college application process, questions surrounding the topic of alumni interviews may arise. I sat down with Ali Duke, Assistant Director of Admissions, to ask her some questions about the alumni interview process at Dartmouth. Hopefully, these answers help to enhance your understanding of how an alumni interview works and the role it plays in a holistic application review! 

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JS: What is the purpose of an alumni interview? How will interviews be conducted differently for the Class of 2025 application cycle?

AD: The purpose of the alumni interview is for us to get to know you as a real, live human being! In our work, we admit people, not statistics. It is important for us to learn what your interests, passions, and academic interests are and how they may fit with our unique community here in Hanover. Share your personality! Don't be afraid to show a funny, nerdy, or intellectual side of yourself that may not be revealed in your application. Additionally, the interview is an opportunity for you to get to know us! The idea of an interview can be a bit intimidating, but don't be afraid to put yourself in the driver's seat. Come with some thoughtful questions for your interview and points that you'd like to touch on.

Due to COVID-19, alumni interviews will be conducted entirely virtually this year.

JS: When and how are alumni interviews scheduled? How should prospective students communicate with their interviewer?

AD: Great question! After you submit your application to Dartmouth, your name will automatically be sent to volunteer alumni admissions ambassadors in your area. You will then be assigned an interviewer who will be directed to reach out directly to you via the email you provided in your application. From there, you and your interviewer can set up a time to chat via Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, phone, or any other form of virtual communication that mutually works. Generally, alumni interviews begin shortly after the application deadline passes. In Regular Decision, it is not uncommon to not hear from an interviewer for several weeks.

JS: What should one expect from an alumni interview? Is it formal or casual?

AD: Our hope is that the interview will be more of an informal conversation. While it is helpful to be on-time and prepared, it is not necessary to dress in formal attire or prepare a presentation.  I will note that Dartmouth interview are evaluative, so Admission Officers will receive a brief write-up after the interview that shares how your conversation went. 

JS: Once an interview has been scheduled, do you have any advice for how one might prepare?

AD: Absolutely. Take a bit of time to reflect on your accomplishments, achievements, and challenges throughout high school. It is likely that your interviewer may ask questions along the lines of:

  • What is your favorite course in school?

  • Tell me about a project you're particularly proud of.

  • How would your best friend or favorite teacher describe you?

  • What does your ideal college experience look like?

Also, consider why it is that you applied to Dartmouth College. Each student finds "fit" in their own way, and your interviewer will likely want to know what that process was like for you. Finally, think of a few lingering questions you still have about the College. Your interviewer is a volunteer for Dartmouth because they were passionate about their time here and see value in connecting with the next generation of College students. They're an invaluable resource when it comes to student life, academic opportunities, experiences as an Dartmouth graduate, and more. 

JS: What role does an interview play in the evaluation of an application? If a student doesn't get the chance to do an interview, will that negatively impact them?

AD: An interview allows us to get to know you and your personality as a living, breathing person! When we receive your application it is in our computer screen, so we miss out on the opportunity to have the invaluable face-to-face connection. Your interview may bring to light a new facet of who you are or share something that matters to you that wasn't shared in your application.

Please do keep in mind that alumni interviews are not guaranteed and are entirely optional. We have so many fantastic applicants, and we are typically able to offer an interview to a majority of them, but due to interviewer capacity we cannot quite reach all applicants. Applicants who are not offered the opportunity for an alumni interview will not be disadvantaged in the admissions process. 

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A huge thank you to Ali for sharing these thoughtful responses. Alumni are eager to meet you, so if you are offered the opportunity to do an interview, definitely take advantage of it!

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