October 6, 2011
by Frank Brown
The idea of Rethinking Admissions is challenging. For every forward looking idea that can be incorporated into making the admissions process more humane, equitable, and effective, there is an old idea just begging for reconsideration. That especially applies to the idea of admissions interviews. As the number of applications has skyrocketed, the number of schools interviewing applicants has plummeted. That is, until recently when colleges and universities rediscovered the benefits of having a one-on-one conversation with prospective students. Colleges use the interview as a way to go beyond the written application and numerical data. Interviews add information that can make the difference when making the holistic evaluations admissions officers strive to make. Students also appreciate the opportunity to make their case for admission in person.
One university, however, never gave up on the idea of interviews. As this article by Alison Kershaw reveals, Oxford University has taken interviews into the realm of art. Forget standard openings such as “Tell us about yourself” or “What three words best describe you?”. Oxford makes sure that their interview will truly make you think: