Interviewing Guidelines and Process

Interviewer Deadlines

Decision Plan Interviews Conducted By Interviews Submitted By
Early Decision & Spring Transfer November 1 November 15
Early Evaluation January 18 February 1
Regular Decision February 1 February 15
Davis & Fall Transfer March 1 March 15


Interviewer Guidelines

The interviewer should:
  • Be on time for the interview!
  • Exchange contact information with the student in case of last-minute changes to time or location.
  • Be friendly, and try to put the student at ease.
  • Understand that the interview is a forum for the student to share her academic interests, motivations, and her extracurricular involvement, as well as to ask questions about Wellesley.
  • Be sensitive to cultural differences; a student's reserve may be related to cultural norms.
  • Be aware that some students may have better resources for preparing for their interview than others.
  • Realize that it's difficult to establish the same rapport with every student interviewed.
  • Submit reports while conversations and observations are still fresh.
  • Concentrate on the student's perceptions and discoveries about herself and the world. 
  • Provide information about the student not given in the other application materials – stories can add a valuable dimension to the applicant's profile. 
  • Summarize conversations but avoid making flat judgments about the applicant.
  • Back up statements about fit, and substantiate any assessment of her motivation and potential. 
  • Accept the individual as she presents herself, appreciate what she has to offer, and remain unbiased.
  • Value personal qualities and unique perspectives.
  • Follow up with the Admission Office with any questions she is unable to answer.
  • Serve as a link between Wellesley and the student; bring Wellesley to life.
  • Remember that the interview, although helpful, is not a deciding factor for admission.
     
The interviewer should not:
  • Offer an opinion to the student about her chances for admission, even if asked to do so.
  • State flatly the student's suitability for Wellesley in her report (i.e., "It would be a mistake to admit her" or "Definitely admit her").
  • State irrelevant information that could be prejudicial, such as physical appearance, dress, or mannerisms.
  • Schedule interviews during times when interruptions are likely.
  • Compare Wellesley to other colleges, even if asked to do so. 
  • Imply that interviewers are involved with the Board of Admission's deliberations.
  • List test scores, grades, or other information that the Board of Admission will already have in the applicant's file.
  • Make sweeping broad generalizations.
  • Share any information about the student and her interview with anyone outside of the Admission Office.  All interviews are confidential and interview forms are included in a student's file.  It is important to maintain the student's confidentiality in the process. 
  • Give a student a gift or keep a gift that is given to them by a student.  Every so often, a prospective student may send you a gift thanking you for spending the time to speak with them.  Interviewers are not allowed to keep any gifts and must return them to the student.  The reverse is also true in that interviewers should not give gifts to students either.
  • Feel obligated to purchase food if interviewing at a coffee shp.  You are not required to purchase a beverage for them, but you are welcome to do so if you want.  We do not suggest purchasing any food though as they will be doing most of the talking and it puts them in an uncomfortable position if they don't eat and you purchased it. 


The Interview Process

Alumnae interviews (or off-campus interviews) help to personalize the application process and bring Wellesley to the student. In many cases, the alumnae interview is the only direct contact with Wellesley that an applicant will have, and many admitted students cite their positive contact with alumnae as a deciding factor in their choice to enroll at Wellesley. Although a student's academic profile is of greatest importance, the interview report can provide important contextual information for the Board's consideration. For this reason, it is important to approach the interview as an opportunity to exchange information and to help the candidate to form a connection with Wellesley.
 
It is critical that the student feel as though the interview is not a "test" but rather an opportunity for her to share her interests and talents. The first objective is to put her at ease, and we provide sample questions to assist you.  The interviewer should explain that admission decisions are made by the Board of Admission, a committee composed of faculty, students, administrators, and deans. Information shared in the interview will be conveyed back to the College to assist the Board of Admission with its decision making, but interviewers themselves do not make recommendations as to a student's admissibility.
 
If an interviewer is asked a question she can't answer, she should refer the student or parent to the Admission Office. There is a staff member available Monday - Friday during business hours to answer questions. Those with questions should call 781.283.2270 and ask to speak with the "Officer of the Day."   
 

Setting Up the Interview

The student is responsible for initiating arrangements for the interview, but if she does not, the interviewer may feel free to contact her. Your local AARs will be copied on confirmation emails to the students.
 

WHEN? Although the Admission Office offers interviews on campus from April 1 through the end of the year, alumnae are primarily asked to conduct interviews from mid-September through January. January in particular is a busy month for volunteer interviewers. Interviews may take place whenever it is mutually convenient for both applicant and interviewer-- evenings and weekends are fine!-- and should last between 30 and 60 minutes.

WHERE? In keeping with the new ethical guidelines set out by a group of New England colleges, we ask that alumnae only meet prospective students in public venues. Cafes, coffee shops, community centers, and schools are all acceptable interview sites. If a place of employment or private residence is the only option, we ask that you not meet with the student alone (i.e., that someone else be present in the building) and that you allow the parent or guardian to remain on site if s/he would like.

Ending the Interview

The interviewer should be sure to leave time for the student to ask questions about Wellesley, college in general, or the application process. The interviewer might ask if there is anything else that the student wanted to say and has not yet had the chance to talk about. Are there any special circumstances she would like to relate?
 
Interviewers should also come prepared with the name and contact information for the regional admission counselor. (See the Contact Information link to the left.) Should the student have any future questions, she may contact the Office of Admission directly.
 

Writing the Report

The Interview Report Form should be submitted electronically via this website on or before the deadlines stated above.
 
The report should not be just a list of activities, interests, and/or grades, as the Board of Admission already has this information in the application. Rather, it should convey the more intangible qualities of a student's perspectives on her experiences. Academics are very important, but what other assets and interests will she bring to the Wellesley community? Is she receptive to learning from others? Does she seem highly engaged in her education? Is she excited to take advantage of opportunities?
 
The interviewer may certainly offer her impressions of the student and her interpretation of the student's remarks, although we ask that interviewers avoid flat statements such as "admit her" or "it would be a mistake to accept her." Whether the interviewer's conclusions are positive or negative, she should back them up in her report. What did the student say that gave a particular impression?
 
Interviewers should avoid including irrelevant information, especially if it is prejudicial. Comments about appearance or dress are unnecessary.
 

Miscellaneous

Please approach the interview with an open mind, and with good intentions. Remember that extremely bright and interesting students apply to Wellesley from wide-ranging experiences and preparation. This is one of Wellesley's great strengths. All interviewers encounter difficult interview situations! Poor rapport is no one's fault, and it does not necessarily mean that a candidate should not be accepted.
 
The interviewer must know and understand today’s Wellesley. All interviewers should first participate in the training sessions in their area offered by a counselor or by the AAR, or take the time to visit the Wellesley College website prior to meeting with prospective students to review any recent updates.