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.

When is the alumni interviewing season?

Prospective students may request a Bates alumni interview any time between mid-February of the student’s junior year and late march of their senior year. Interviews should take place as soon as possible after they are assigned by the admission office. Please see our website here for the complete list of interview deadlines by application decision round.

The Bates Office of Admission receives most of our interview request between November and February. We understand that the winter months can be very busy! We do not expect alumni to interview during the holidays.

If I know a student interested in Bates, can I set up my own interview?

No. All alumni interviews must be requested by the student through our website. Alumni should not conduct any interviews that are arranged otherwise. This policy is to ensure an equitable experience for all of our applicants. Of course, we do accept additional letters of recommendations from alumni for students they know well.

Once I’ve selected an interview request, should I contact the student?

Yes. We ask the alumni volunteer to initiate the contact with the student. Upon selecting an interview request, you will be able to see the student’s contact information. An email will be sent to the student to let them know that they’ve been matched to an alumni interviewer. Please contact the student within the next five days. If you have trouble reaching the student, please let us know at aia@bates.edu

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?

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 they 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 want to see the strengths and potential for contributing to the life of the Bates community. Ultimately, the interview should be a positive experience for the candidate. For interviewing tips and sample interview questions, please see our guide to interviewing.

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’ question 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. If you receive a question that you do not know the answer to, do not hesitate to refer the student or parent to the Bates Office of Admission (admission@bates.edu or 207-786-6000). We can answer any of their remaining questions and/or put them in touch with faculty or staff resources on campus.

Also, prospective students and parents may find that the answers to many of their questions can be found on the Bates website.

What is an interview report?

The interview report is the written evaluation that you provide the Office of Admission based on your conversation with the student. The interview report becomes a part of the student’s application file. After you complete an interview, please log in to your Alumni Portal to complete your interview report.

What should the interview report include?

How soon do you need the interview evaluation?

After you complete an interview, please log in to your Alumni Portal to complete your interview report. Alumni interviewers need to submit the report within five days of the interview.

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

Demand varies year-to-year, region-to-region. We generally ask that volunteers conduct one to two interviews per application cycle, but volunteers are welcome to conduct more if they would like.

What does the Bates application involve?

Please refer to the Application Checklist