Interviews

Volunteer members of Columbia’s Alumni Representative Committee, in addition to select Student Interviewers, conduct interviews throughout the world from October to March every year on behalf of Columbia 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. 

Due to the ever-evolving impacts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, interviews will only be offered virtually (via phone or video chat) for the 2020-21 application cycle. Please know that either type of interview will have equal weight in the interview process. Members of the Alumni Representative Committee will only contact you after you have submitted your application materials to Columbia. If an interviewer is able to connect with you, you will be contacted directly by email or by phone. 

Interviews are not offered on campus or with members of the Committee on Admissions. 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 Columbia 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 to you.

Interviewing Expectations

Please note that the following expectations are communicated to all of our alumni and student volunteers in order to establish a safe and positive experience for all. 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.

  • Interviews must be conducted virtually – via phone or video chat – for the entirety of the 2020-21 academic year

  • Interviews may only be conducted virtually, regardless of country or regional-specific guidelines for in-person interactions. In the event that an applicant or interviewer appears to insist on in-person contact, that communication should cease immediately. Applicants who decline in-person interviews will in no way be at a disadvantage in the admissions process.

  • Interviews should occur with a secure and accessible mode of communication, 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.

    • Acceptable platforms for video chat include, but are not limited to: Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangout, Zoom, Teams, WhatsApp, WebEx, BlueJeans, Duo (and most similar office platforms).

    • If using video chat, the following platforms are not allowed: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat (and most other social media or paid services).

    • Students without regular access to internet or whose participation in their interview would be negatively impacted by the use of video conferencing technology should feel empowered to request that their interview be conducted by phone without penalty.

  • Interviews may not be scheduled during school hours (typically 7:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. local time, but can vary).

  • Interviews must not be recorded in any way, either by the interviewer or the applicant. 

In addition, please keep the following in mind:

  • 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.

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

International Interviews

As noted above, Columbia interviews applicants domestically and internationally through our Alumni Representative Committee. Students from China are recommended to send their InitialView or Vericant interview as well. These interviews should be scheduled, completed and submitted to Columbia by November 15 for Early Decision or January 15 for Regular Decision. The interview with InitialView or Vericant will take the place of an alumni interview for some candidates. Please contact Columbia Undergraduate Admissions directly at ugrad-confirm@columbia.edu should InitialView or Vericant fees present a hardship for you and your family.