Read, Interviews


Over the next few days, Page 217 will cover the interview process. Early decision and early action applicants: you may soon have an opportunity to speak with a local alumni interviewer about your candidacy, your passions, and their experiences. When it comes to this piece of the application, Patrick Bredehoft, Director of the Penn Alumni Interview Program, says, “The intention is largely the same everywhere. The university is trying to get to know a little more about you and you are trying to get to know a little more about the university through someone who has been through the process.” The interview is both evaluative and informative, which means that the interviewer will submit a write-up on the experience to the Admissions Committee and you will have the opportunity to learn more. The overwhelming majority of interviews are positive. Patrick notes, “In general, as long as you’ve thought a little bit about yourself and a little bit about the university, this will be a positive experience.”

Today Patrick shares five basic rules on navigating interview logistics; check back soon to learn how to prepare for a successful and helpful conversation.

1. If the interview is in person, you should know how to get to your meeting point. There is nothing wrong with taking a rehearsal route beforehand.

2. Be on time. If you can’t be on time, contact the interviewer to let them know you’ll be late. Leave ten minutes earlier than you think necessary.

3. You do not need to buy formal wear for this conversation. Dress as you would for class photos at school—ultimately, you are trying to make a positive impression with the clothes you wear.

4. If this is a Skype interview, make sure you have the necessary software and test it out. Think about background noise—encourage little siblings to go to a different room.  Make sure the lighting is good so it won’t be difficult for your interviewer to see your face. Generally, having a wired connection is better than a wireless one in terms of speed and connectivity.

5. Know the interview policy of each school you apply to. Some schools require you to request an interview while at others, alumni interviewers reach out to you. Make sure you check your inbox at least every other day.

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