While many colleges and universities no longer recommend or even offer interviews through the admissions process, there are some colleges that still say that it "may help" a student in the admissions process. To what extent? It depends.
Admissions interviews are often distinguished as either "informative"-- it is an opportunity primarily for the student to have a conversation with a representative to better get to know the college, or "evaluative"-- the interview will be counted as a piece in the overall profile of an applicant.
I recommend that for all of the schools on your list, you check out that institution on www.collegedata.com. The school profile will include reported elements of the application process that are weighted the most heavily. This is also where you can see if "Demonstrated Interest" matters or not.
Smaller colleges, often liberal arts colleges, consider a variety of factors in making their ultimate determination, including "softer factors" such as the essay, demonstrated interest, and the interview.
Three Reasons to Interview
1. You have a glowing, charismatic personality-- people flock to you like a magnet!
Admissions officers want to find reasons to like applicants and say to themselves, "gosh, this person is awesome, I want to hang out with them and be their friend." If you might be memorable (for GOOD reasons!) then this alone is a great reason to interview.
2. The college HIGHLY recommends an interview, and they are offered on campus.
Generally, if an admissions officer is the one conducting the interview, it will have more weight than if an alumnus conducts it. After all, they will be reading your full application, and it may help tip the scales in your favor.
3. You have something you want to explain or offer greater context from your application, and you feel that you can best communicate this in person.
Was there a blip in your junior year where your grades dropped off? Is there something else you feel that you just can't fully get across on paper, or you present better in person than in writing?
Three Reasons Not to Interview
1. The thought of an interview makes you catatonic.
Your palms sweat, your mind races, and you start feeling dizzy. It may be time to take some public speaking classes and gain confidence in that arena. But a college interview is not the place to try it out.
2. It takes you a really long time to open up or feel comfortable with people AND/OR you aren't strong in English
Friends or acquaintances have told you that you are hard to understand, and you generally don't like talking to people. That's totally fine and does not preclude you from a highly satisfying college experience. But person-to-person interviewing may not be the best way to "sell" yourself to a college.
This is a 2 in 1 reason-- if you are a non-native English speaker, but your TOEFL and SAT scores are even better than your actual speaking confidence, it could be less than helpful to make admissions officers question your English abilities.
3. The college says that interviewing is only informative and has no sway in the process
In this case, the interview is all for YOU, really. If you are very busy or feel you already made up your mind about the school, an interview may be one more thing that you need to do that won't deliver high value in return during the busiest months of your life.
What if you still don't know which category you fall into? Ask your family and friends.
How do you prepare for interviews? Practice! Get to know the commonly asked questions, and make sure you feel comfortable answering them. Interviews also require students to do their research. If you mention you want to join the Orchestra, and they don't have one, that won't generally come off too well. Get in touch with us if you'd like to learn more about our detailed Interview preparation tips and how you can ace your college interview, and make it work in your favor.