PREPARING FOR AN INTERVIEW

An interview is one of several approaches the admission committee uses to get a sense of a candidate’s intellectual curiosity, academic and extracurricular commitment, and personal qualities. Through an interview, we may be able to develop a better understanding of how an applicant engages the world around them. Primarily, an interview is a great way for a prospective student to learn more about Wesleyan. 

Once you have “claimed” an interviewee using your WAAV portal, the student will reach out to you to schedule a time to meet. To make sure the student is comfortable, we ask that you find a neutral location to meet. Your home is off-limits. An office space is better, so long as you meet during regular business hours. A public space—coffee shop, bookstore, library, or park if the weather permits—is ideal. Please note: if a student does not reach out to you to schedule the interview within one week of you “claiming” them, please email the student once. If the student still does not respond, please file a no-contact report in your portal. The auto-generated matching emails can end up in a student’s junk folder. 

So that you give the student the best opportunity to have a successful interview, here are some tips from senior interviewers and admission staff members:

  1. Put the student at ease. Introduce yourself, talk about what you do for work, tell them when you graduated from Wesleyan and what you studied during your time on campus. Do not jump right into questioning the student. The atmosphere you create through casual conversation will be more conducive to a positive interview experience for the student and yourself. 
  1. Think of the interview as a conversation, not an evaluation. This is an opportunity for the student to highlight their accomplishments, speak about their passion for a particular subject, or express their dedication to service. Go with the flow! Ask follow-up questions and do not feel that you must ask certain questions. 
  1. Lay off the heavy stuff. The fact that a student expresses interest in economics does not mean that you should ask questions about Keynesianism or Marxism. A student interested in Latin may not feel comfortable speaking about The Aeneid. Go easy on the students, please—after all, they have not had the benefit of a Wesleyan education quite yet! 
  1. Be friendly! Show an interest in the student’s responses to your questions. You are a representative of Wesleyan (possibly the only one the student will meet prior to making their college choice), if you have a bored look on your face as the student discusses their passion for biochemistry, they may think Wesleyan is not the place for them. 

Be thoughtful about what you say. You want to avoid saying something highly critical about one aspect of Wesleyan because you never know who is sitting across from you. It is better to say, “I really can’t speak to that topic. You might want to contact the Admission Office for more information,” than it is to have the student cross Wesleyan off their list for a comment you felt was benign but the student valued deeply. This is not to say that you should not be honest, but use good judgement as you are representing Wesleyan to a variety of students.