Interviews for Tufts are optional. But really… they’re optional. We mean it. It’s a judgment-free zone in our office when it comes to 1.) students who didn’t request an interview and 2.) students who requested one but it didn’t happen. I promise.
Sometimes, students shouldn’t interview. If you saw that this blog was about interviewing and starting crying, felt sick to your stomach, turned ashen, or straight-up passed out: save yourself the stress and just skip it. If you cope with difficult situations by slipping into fits of profanity, maybe this is not your best option. If maintaining eye contact is a pet peeve of yours, stick to writing essays.
For some students, though, interviews are a great option. They let you connect with a real human who can help you share many things the application does not cover. They give you time with an alum who can better inform you about the school and community. They’re also a great excuse for one more winter seasonal latte before the cold-hearted fiends in Seattle steal them away for the rest of the year. Who are you to say I wouldn’t enjoy a gingerbread latte in July?
Anyway, you’ve decided to interview (for Tufts or another school) and now you’re wondering how to prepare, and what the interviewer will tell us about you. Here are some tips from me and some REAL FEEDBACK from reports about students who were interviewed (and admitted) in early decision this year:
1.) Relax and don’t over prepare/psych yourself out. This is not a quiz or an audition. Do some self-reflection, think about your questions, and take a deep breath.
The interviewer said, “One of the best candidates I have interviewed. He is an affable well-rounded prospect that was a comfortably relaxed during our conversation, excited to talk about Tufts and asked well prepared, insightful questions.”
2.) Be honest. It’s one human talking to another, so you don’t need to sugarcoat yourself or your life.
The interviewer said, “I very much enjoyed meeting her. She was so candid about her upbringing and her views. I was very impressed and, at times, blown away by the depth of her introspection and how well she was able to articulate to me who she is. I could not have done that at her age.”
3.) Be your 17 year old self. You do not need to play-act as a middle aged professor to convince us that you’re smart.
The interviewer said, “He is, in a word, energetic. The energy spills over into his thinking, moving easily from subject to subject, all the while the feet are tapping, and he is moving about in his chair and smiling. You might think this would be distracting and annoying, but nothing could be further from the truth. I would describe him as a mature and serious high school student with a high quotient of intellectual curiosity- and a playful side.”
4.) Don’t be afraid to be smart/love what you love/geek out.
The interviewer said, “He spoke eloquently about his deep interest in history, politics, and international relations, and far exceeded my knowledge of many historical and current world events. That is not to say that he comes off as a know-it-all in any way whatsoever. He is extremely down-to-earth; he just seems so interested in these topics that he cannot help but chime in to draw connections, make analogies, and ask interesting, probing questions.”
So there you have it. The upshot is: you’ll be fine. It is incredibly rare that we’ll see an interview report containing information that paints an applicant in an unpleasant light. More often, they’re just fine. But, with the tips above, you can excel and have an interview that really makes an impression on the alum and the admissions committee, too.