Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The College Interview—A Reliable Step in the Admission Process

by Nicholas Amato, Jr.

Our guest columnist is Nicholas Amato, a veteran of the college world, who has a different view on how to take Artificial Intelligence out of the admissions equation.

As we see more and more colleges opt to be test optional, the essay is playing a major role in the admissions process. That leads many parents seeking the help of professionals that will work alongside their child in constructing a well written and thoughtful essay. Along those same lines,

The New York Times reported colleges are now wrestling with a new app that will construct a writing assignment from a general outline on any topic. I believe this app will be another resource that may enter the picture.

Colleges may want to start realizing that they may have to rely on another criterion that will clearly illustrate if the applicant is worthy of admission. Let’s not reinvent the wheel; how about The College Interview.

For years, many colleges have used the interview as part of their selection process. Since the beginning of time, employers count on personal meetings to choose the right person for the job. The interview is equal for all, meaning that those who cannot afford to seek help in writing a college essay, can now rely on their personal skills to illustrate their enthusiasm for a college, as well as put forth their particular qualities.

Of course, how in the world can a college interview every applicant? As a former college rep, with the help of college alumni, we spent months on the road meeting with groups of students. The advertising and marketing during the recruiting season was expensive, long, but rewarding. To this day, my personal relationships with particular students stand out in my mind. I can recall their personal qualities and easily match those with their transcripts, activity resumes, as well as their family relationships. I would say, they are the most important student qualities a college is looking for. 

Instead of college reps spending countless hours reading essays, have them spend that time with students. Colleges can be more personal in the process by using a pandemic favorite, Zoom. This allowed us all to maintain our work, and relationships by communicating efficiently in a safe and personal environment.

What can colleges learn from a personal interview?

  • The college can distinguish applicants that may look the same from letters of recommendations, transcripts and other application materials.
  • The student and college have a chance to build a personal relationship
  • The college can evaluate the student in terms of their genuine interest for their college.
  • The college and the student can exchange information about their intended major which will result in a better transition to the college and future occupation(s).
  • The college can have a better understanding of the student’s strengths and weaknesses…academically and socially.
  • The college is able to evaluate the communication skills of the student.
  • The college can provide an equal playing field for all students regardless of socio-economic status.

The admission process has been a long-overplayed discussion. We keep looking for the answer to this question…“What is the best method of getting a true evaluation of a student’s ability?” Simply talk to them.

Nick is a retired teacher, school counselor, Director of Guidance and central office administrator. He is the president of NA Consultants Inc. which specializes in school counseling programs and general curriculum, as well as college counseling. He has also served many districts as an interim school administrator. He is a former President of the Suffolk County Guidance Directors Association, member of NYSSCA and is a consultant to Frontline Education for GuidanceDirect in New York State.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. Our work grows and evolves