Interviews

Volunteer members of Columbia’s Alumni Representative Committee (ARC) in addition to select Student Interviewers conduct interviews throughout the world from October through March every year on behalf of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. However, because we have a finite number of alumni and current student volunteers to interview the many thousands of candidates, we are unable to grant interviews to all of our applicants and can provide absolutely no guarantee that an interview will be available in any given area. Please note that interviews will be offered only in the area where your high school is located; if you have finished high school and no longer live in the vicinity, an interview will not be available to you. 

After you submit your application for admission, your name and contact information are provided to the interviewers in your area; if an interviewer is able to meet with you, you will be contacted directly by e-mail or by phone. Interviews are not offered on campus. Some applicants may be offered interviews via phone or video chat if an interviewer is not able to meet in person – please know that all types of interviews have equal weight in the interview process. Please note that Columbia does not solicit or accept external interview reports conducted by private or independent agencies.

Candidates who are not offered an interview are not at any disadvantage in the admissions process. Because the actual assignment of interviews is not conducted by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, we respectfully ask that you do not call or write to inquire about receiving an interview. You will be contacted directly if an interview is available in the same area as your high school.

Interviewing Expectations

Please note that the following expectations are communicated to all of our alumni and student volunteers. Should these expectations not be met in your interview, you are encouraged to contact arcinfo@columbia.edu to share the details. Please know that any information shared with our office will not have a negative impact on your application.

  • Interviewers should strive to create a safe and mutually respectful environment and interaction.
  • Interviewers should not create any impressions or expectations, positive or negative, about the applicant’s probability of admission.
  • Interviewers should not initiate conversations that may make a candidate uncomfortable or that are excessively personal, whether with regard to the candidate or the interviewer.
  • Interviewers should use appropriate language.
  • Interviewers should not make disparaging comparisons of secondary or post-secondary institutions or ask the student where else he or she is applying.
  • Interviewers should give the student appropriate lead time before an interview and should not schedule the interview one day in advance.
  • Interviewers and applicants should provide each other with appropriate contact information prior to the interview in case of an emergency.

In addition, please keep the following in mind:

  • Interviews should occur in a safe and accessible location and at a time that is agreed upon by the applicant and the interviewer and that respects both parties’ commitments to school, work, activities and family obligations.
  • Interviews may not take place in an interviewer or applicant’s home.
  • Interviews may not be scheduled during school hours unless being held on school grounds in cooperation with the school’s counseling office.
  • Interviews may be conducted over the phone or via videoconference when both parties agree and circumstances make a face-to-face meeting impracticable.

We hope that both applicants and interviewers enjoy meeting and discussing the applicant’s interest in joining the Columbia community. Should you have any questions regarding your interview, please contact arcinfo@columbia.edu.

Advice from Students

Once you’ve compared financial aid opportunities, the majors available, the curricula, the requirements, and the activities, go with your gut. Just in the way that you should be authentically yourself in your application, let colleges be authentically themselves when you visit so you know the match is real.”

With good time management, you can do most everything you hope to do in college. Make each and every moment count!”