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May 14, 2011
Stanford University will now be offering alumni interviews to applicants.
While so many of the top colleges offer students the chance to interview with an alum, one notable exception has always been Stanford University. But on Thursday, that changed. Stanford has reversed its long-held policy of not offering alumni interviews. After running a three-year test of Stanford interviews in various geographic regions, the admissions office decided that alumni interviews would be beneficial to the process.
According to “USA Today,” “Stanford announced that a three-year test of alumni interviews in 12 geographic areas had been a success and that the university would start expanding its alumni network so that within about three years, all applicants could be offered an (optional) alumni interview.” In fact, the Dean of Undergraduate Admission & Financial Aid at Stanford, Richard Shaw, said that alumni interviews added “texture” and that “in about 10 percent of the cases, he said, the report of the alumni interviewer influenced the decision one way or another.”
An article ran recently in “The Stanford Daily” that made the claim that alumni interviews either favored the wealthy or overcompensated for the disadvantaged. But Shaw disagreed, “Many of the wealthier applicants didn’t do themselves any favors in the way they presented themselves. Many of them came in ‘overly packaged,’ Shaw said, and that turned off the alumni, who were looking ‘for honesty.’”