Role of the Alumnae/i Interview
For applicants to Vassar, interviews are optional and are conducted by Vassar alumnae/i around the world. The conversational interview is an ideal way for students to learn about Vassar from a different perspective, especially since you are encouraged to share what you have done with your Vassar degree. It is also a good way for the Office of Admission to get information about a student's level of interest in Vassar.
Setting up the Interview
From October to late February, the Office of Admission will send interview requests to your AAP Chair who will then assign students to you. Please contact the applicants assigned to you as soon as you receive their contact information. Select a few dates and times when you are available to conduct the interview. The conversation with the prospective student usually takes 45 minutes to an hour. We recommend a comfortable, convenient, public place (e.g., a cafe or a library) for a face-to-face interview, but you are welcome to do a phone interview if you wish. If you cannot reach the applicant or if the applicant declines the interview, please check the appropriate box on the interview report form.
Conducting the Interview and Sample Questions
- Greet the applicant.
- Introduce yourself and offer some information such as your Vassar major, your job, volunteer commitments, or other interests.
- Assure the applicant that this is more of a conversation than an interview and that you welcome whatever she/he has to say.
- Put the applicant at ease by asking questions, then connecting their answers to opportunities at Vassar and your own experiences. Choose questions that are open-ended enough for the student to talk about an area of strong interest for him/her. Your questions should help you discover (1) unusual circumstances or “red flags” that might not come through on the student’s application, and (2) the level of interest a student has in Vassar. Sample questions include:
- “What is your favorite class/favorite teacher this year?”
- “What is your favorite subject? Why?”
- “Which extracurricular activities would you like to continue at Vassar? Are there new activities you would like to try?”
- “If you were to take a year off before starting college, what would you do?”
- “What interests you about Vassar?”
- Keep in mind that this is a conversation! Share information about yourself, too, and let your passion for Vassar show in what you talk about.
- See what questions the applicant has for you. They may be about Vassar, your experience there, and what you do now.
- Offer to stay in touch. Give the applicant your name and contact information.
Submitting Your Interview Report
On the interview report, you will be asked:
- Student's Name
- Student's Vassar ID (number that starts with 999 on the rosters given to the Chairs)
- Brief summary of the interview
- Unusual circumstances or experiences of note
- Applicant’s level of interest in Vassar
- For Regular Decision candidates: If this student were offered admission, what might convince him/her to choose our college? What might be a major obstacle to accepting admission?
A note about interview reports: Your interview reports become part of the candidate’s file. However, because interviewers do not (for confidentiality reasons) receive additional information on the candidate (e.g., academic transcripts, standardized test scores), the purpose of the interview is not to determine whether or not the applicant is academically prepared for Vassar, but to learn more about the student’s interest in Vassar.
It is also difficult, because of the extremely high volume of highly qualified applicants, for an interviewer to assess where any one student falls on the overall scale of candidates. The value of the interview report submitted for the candidate’s file is to provide the Admissions Office with information that will help determine whether the student is a good match for Vassar. Any information on an applicant’s qualities that might raise a concern in the mind of the interviewer is helpful to the admissions officer reading that file.
Alumnae/i Interviews Make a Difference
“My favorite part of the entire admission process was the interview. [It] was quite enjoyable, and I felt as if [the interviewer] was an old friend. The whole thing was about an hour long, but I could have talked with her for at least an hour more. In comparison with other interviews I had, Vassar’s interview was the best experience. Following the interview, I wanted to go to Vassar. I even received a congratulatory email after I was admitted.”
“The campus visit was what made me choose Vassar, plus the alumni interview. [The interviewer] was honestly excited about your school and seemed to actually want me to attend; it was a great feeling.”