As an admissions counselor, one of my projects is to coordinate our alumni interviewing program to ensure that the interview process is as enjoyable and informative as possible. TAAP is comprised of alums, and current seniors, who are volunteering their time to get to know the amazing applicants to the class of 2019. The interview process is one of the many ways alumni stay connected to Tufts after graduation and I know that all of our amazing alumni volunteers greatly enjoy meeting prospective Jumbos.
Working with our alumni interviewers really means I have come full circle. As an alum (class of 2014!), I vividly remember my interview when I was applying to Tufts- I met my interviewer, who had graduated a year prior, in a Starbucks near my house. I remember being so nervous, as I obviously wanted to leave the best impression possible. As soon as we sat down, my mindset started to shift. Throughout the interview I kept thinking “this is who I want to be when I’m older”. She was incredibly nice, intelligent and most importantly, loved her college experience- as a 17 year old, that was all I could ask for! Fast forward over 4 years later, and I was able to conduct interviews of my own during the winter break of my senior year. I can honestly say that I had so much fun meeting the applicants and having the chance to learn about them, beyond the essays that they write as part of the application (for more advice on these, check out these blog posts). The experience made me very proud of my alma mater. A few things to remember about the interview (from the perspective of someone who has been both the interviewee and the interviewer):
- This is NOT an interrogation process. I know what you are probably picturing- you sitting alone at a table with a spotlight shining on you with the interviewer standing above you and asserting their power. Instead, I urge you to think of the interview as a conversation. Of course, the interviewer will ask you questions (for instance, “why are you interested in Tufts”) but they will also give you the opportunity to ask questions as well! Feel free to ask them about their experience as a Jumbo in terms of both academics and student life (you can even ask whether or not they have ever painted the cannon!). Trust me; it is going to feel more like a fun conversation than an interview.
- Use the interview as an opportunity to tell the interviewer WHY and not just WHAT. Let me explain this a bit. As part of your application, the admissions officers see a list of your extracurricular involvements- we already know that you are the captain of your sports team, the section leader in the high school band or the lead in your school productions. What we don’t know is why you love playing baseball, playing the violin or singing and dancing in front of large audiences. This is a chance us things that we may not be able to find on the application itself! On a similar note, you shouldn’t just rehash your essays for us either (because, obviously, those get read as well). Instead, maybe think of stories you want us to know that you didn’t have space for in the personal statement or supplement.
- Be yourself! I’m sure this goes without saying, but we want to know who are you (and not who you think we want you to be). If you do this, you will end up sounding like every other applicant who tries to give us what they think we want to hear. I like to think that our alums are pretty smart- if you try and fake an interview we will figure it out!
- Lastly, the interview at tufts is OPTIONAL! And we really do mean optional. I promise there is no subtext of “required” here. If the idea of an interview makes you want to hide in a corner, please do not sign up for an interview. I know I am probably being a bit repetitive, but I just want to make sure my point comes through.