Does being offered a college interview mean anything?

Are you wondering if it means anything to be offered a college interview? Here is an article to give a detailed explanation on it.

TCM Staff

2nd July 2020

In general, though, being offered an interview does not matter much when it comes to your possibility of getting the admission. Different colleges have different interview guidelines. However, the colleges might offer interviews to all the applicants, to some candidates or more than half of the candidates. We shall discuss this later but first, let us read about the purpose of college interviews. 

The purpose of college interviews is that it gives you the platform to -

  1. Describe your skills and abilities.

  2. Portray your interests and goals and demonstrate that you are motivated and will do the work.

However, college interviews give you an opportunity to talk about your goals and experiences. The aim of conducting college interviews varies. The most common notion is that interviews are meant to evaluate you. Your interviewer is assessing you and then they have a discussion together where they decide whether you would be a good fit for the institute or not. However, this is true for most colleges.

They don’t choose anyone randomly but they collectively decide by sharing their perception of your personality, strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Often the most selective schools use evaluative interviews. We shall discuss evaluative interviews in detail later.

Your interview depends on you where you take it. They may ask you closed or open-ended questions. Closed-ended questions can be answered by a simple yes and no, hence the question closes there. Whereas open-ended questions require more than a simple word answer. It requires thought. They might grill you with those questions and keep on asking as much as they want. Hence it depends upon your answers that where you take the interviewers. They want to learn more about your goals and guide you in figuring out whether the college is the right place. 

 Most interviews are evaluative, whereas some are categorized as informational interviews. Informational interviews are offered to help you learn more about the school and get all your queries answered by someone. These interviews are meant for your benefit.

Optional interviews are often more informational, as it shows your interest, gives you a platform to make new contacts.

Therefore college interviews can be evaluative which are considered in admissions decisions, or informational, which are meant solely to teach you about the school. Evaluative interviews are also informational in many ways; it's always a good idea to prepare and ask questions and learn about the college.

Regardless of what kind of interview the college offers, it should be your responsibility to set one up. 

Interviews Are Offered to Every Applicant

This is the rarest of rare cases as it is not possible to interview all the applicants and if it does happen then it is optional to accept the offer. You should take the opportunity to schedule one if you are seriously interested in the school. It won’t play a major role in your admission process but will show your interest in the college.

These types of interviews are an amalgamation of evaluative and informational interviews. Hence you must clear all your queries about the college.

Interviews Are Offered to Most or Some Applicants

This happens most often. One of the ways of doing this is by contacting the alumni volunteers. In such scenarios, the school will make sure that it schedules interviews for every applicant who wants one. However geographic location might sometimes play a hindrance which might create some problems.

If you are not offered an interview it basically means that there weren’t alumni located in your geographical location. Hence in such cases, geographical locations might not prove to be a fruitful option for some candidates.

Normally schools try to offer interviews to as many applicants as possible, usually before applications have even been screened.  

As we already saw earlier about the types of interviews so these types of volunteer alumni interviews are generally categorized as a combination of evaluative and informational.  

Interviews Are Necessary

For some programs, interviews are a requirement at some stage in the application process. It can be an evaluative interview if it takes place at an early stage and it does not confirm whether you will get admission or not.

Interviews might be a requirement for some colleges where they are strongly recommended. Interviews give you a chance to prove yourself with the skills you have. Each interview is a learning process, some might get through it and get an admission whereas others don't, but never get demotivated as every interview will teach you something.

Sometimes interviews are offered at later stages to the finalists after filtering out certain candidates in earlier stages. Here admissions are meant for specialized programs.


Interviews will rarely be a determining factor in your admissions process. However, there are some unique scenarios in which interviews become increasingly important later on in the admissions process. In these cases, though, the process will not come as a surprise. In general, the process occurs in specialized programs with more extensive admission screenings.

You might also be interested to read: What to wear to your college interview?

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