Why do we offer Bates alumni interviews to prospective students?

A Bates interview – either on campus or through our alumni program – works two ways: it’s a key part of a student’s search for the “right” college, and it helps admission select the incoming class.

Bates encourages a personal interview for prospective students. We feel that the information gained and personal impression made during an interview may not be available in the application. It is our one chance to meet the student, the person behind all those grades, essays and test scores.

We do not treat the interview as a time to put a student on the spot with trick questions. We want to learn what has influenced the candidate to become the person s/he is.

In the admission process, the alumni interview carries the same weight as an interview on campus. Each student has just one Bates Admission interview.

When is the alumni interviewing season?

Prospective students may request a Bates alumni interview any time between January 15 of the student’s junior year and February 1 of the senior year. Interviews should take place as soon as possible after they are assigned by the admission office.  The deadline to complete the interview is March 1 of senior year.

The Bates Office of Admission receives most of our interview request from October 15 through the February 1 deadline. We understand that the winter months can be very busy! We do not expect alumni to interview during the holidays. If you cannot complete your assigned interview(s) by the February 15 completion deadline, please let us know.

Will I know that I have been assigned to do an interview before the student calls me?

Yes, ideally. We will inform the alumni interviewer, by email, that a student will be contacting them to arrange an interview. We wait one day before emailing the student with your contact information.

**Please note: All alumni interviews are assigned by the admission office. Alumni should not conduct any interviews that are arranged otherwise.**

Once I receive the email about the assigned interview, should I call the student?

No. We ask the student to initiate the contact with the alum. The email to the student requests that s/he contact the alumni interviewer within the next five days. If you feel the student may have had some difficulty reaching you, then, by all means, feel free to contact the student.

In order to conduct the interview, should I travel to the student, or vice versa?

We expect the student to make every effort to travel to a public location close to you. Be as accommodating as you can, but your travel time to the interview should be reasonable.

Where should an alumni interview take place?

Use your discretion.  Interviews should not be in your home for safety and liability reasons.  Interviews should be conducted in public spaces like coffee shops, public libraries, bookstores or at a local school (if you and the student arrange things with school personnel). Use a space that is reasonably quiet and comfortable.

Should the parents of the prospective student attend the interview session?

No. The interview should last 30-40, and try to save 5-10 minutes after your conversation for time with the parents. If a parent wants to stay, politely make it clear that the interview is with the student only.

What is the best way for me to prepare for the interview?

For resources: http://www.bates.edu/aia/interviews

What kinds of questions should I pose? What does Bates want to know about the candidates?

The Bates interview is a chance for us to get to know the candidate beyond the paper credentials s/he will present in the application. The Bates interviewer should create a situation in which the student feels comfortable enough to converse truthfully and energetically. We like for the interview to bring out the finest qualities in the student. We want to see the strengths and potential for contributing to the life of the Bates community. It should be a positive experience for the candidate.

Sample Interview Questions

How long should an interview be?

Interviews vary in length. In general, reserve 30-40 minutes for the conversation with the student and another 5-10 minutes to speak with parents, if they accompany the student to the interview. Interviews should not run beyond an hour.

What if I never get to any “deep” questions in the course of the interview?

Don’t worry. Every interview will be different. Some students may be nervous and you may feel uneasy asking “tougher” questions. That’s fine. Perhaps the first 30 minutes will cover superficial topics, and as the student relaxes, you may have 10-15 minutes of more substantive conversation at the end. Don’t press too hard. Let the conversation flow and see where you end up.

What should I do if I can’t answer some questions from the student or parents?

Don’t feel like you have to know everything about Bates, or the selective college admissions process. For hanging questions, refer the student or parents to Johanna Farrar ’03, Associate Dean of Admission directly and the Bates website.

What is the Alumni Interview Confirmation?

We ask that alumni send us a quick email letting us know when and where an interview happened.

What is an interview report?

The interview report is the written evaluation you provide the admissions office, based on your conversation with the student. The interview report becomes a part of the student’s application file. The Bates interviewer, at the conclusion of the interview, should proceed to the Alumni Interview Report. Summarize and evaluate your conversation, and then submit it directly to us electronically. Save a copy of the report yourself for future reference.

For helpful examples, please refer to the following sample interview reports: http://www.bates.edu/aia/interviews/sample-interview-reports/

What should the interview report include?

We would like you to comment on the following:

  • The student’s enthusiasm for Bates
  • His / her activities and interests (academic and extracurricular)
  • Leadership potential
  • Other qualities – such as sense of humor, sense of self, seriousness of purpose, maturity, energy, personality
  • Enthusiasm for life and for things beyond self
  • How do you see the student contributing to the Bates community?

You do not need to recount the entire question-and-answer sequence. Your impressions, opinions and evaluation are extremely valuable. Be honest!

How soon do you complete the interview evaluation?

Please submit your report through the Garnet Gateway.  Alumni interviewers need to submit the report within five days of the interview. We will add the report immediately to the student’s admissions file. If you have trouble, please email your interview summary to Margaret Galligan-Schmoll at aia@bates.edu

How many Bates alumni interviews will I be asked to conduct in a single interview season?

It varies year-to-year, region-to-region. We try to spread the work around in order to keep many AIA volunteers involved and active. If you ever feel you are being asked to do too much, please feel free to contact us.

What does the Bates application involve?

Please refer to the Application Checklist