Are Harvard interviews really selective? If yes, to what extent are the selective – everyone interviewed is either admitted or waitlisted?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
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Lisa Buchwalter Answered a year ago

Students often get very excited when called for an interview with Harvard. For better or for worse, however, everyone is supposed to be offered an alumni interview for Harvard. As such, interviewees fall evenly into the same categories of all applicants; they will either be Accepted, Wait Listed or Rejected.


Alumni interviewers at Harvard are like those at other colleges. They range from young, recent graduates to alums who graduated sometimes decades ago, and who do not have current information on what’s happening on campus. We always suggest googling your interviewer to find out a little bit about their background. Instead of thinking that you are stalking them, they will expect this.


The goal of each Harvard interview is to rate the prospective student in each of three areas: academics, extracurriculars, and personal qualities, plus an overall rating to judge the candidate's overall "suitability for admission." These ratings are "absolutely superior," "strong candidate," "acceptable but perhaps not competitive," or "not recommended."


Although it is a good idea to prepare for these interviews by reviewing a list of frequently asked questions, it is important for you the candidate to not seem too scripted. Be yourself, think nimbly and creatively on your feet, and do not go in with canned answers. Put your best foot forward, but do not be afraid to show your personality and to include emotion when you talk about what you are passionate about and what bothers you. Interviewers will respond as much to how they feel about you as to what you say. Try to form a genuine connection with your interviewer.

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