Interviews

Interviews are conducted throughout the world on behalf of Columbia Undergraduate Admissions by select student interviewers and volunteer members of Columbia’s Alumni Representative Committee from October to March every year. 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. 

Please review the information below to learn more about interview eligibility, processes, and expectations.

Please note that interviews are not offered on campus or with members of the Admissions Committee. 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

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 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.
    • 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 the 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.
  • 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.

COVID-19 Protocols for In-Person Interviewing

Interviews for the 2022–23 application cycle may be conducted virtually (video chat or telephone), or in-person providing applicable public health restrictions in your area—as well as the preferences of the applicant and interviewer. The applicant and interviewer should discuss and agree on what format works best. It is imperative that interviewers strive to create a safe, positive, and mutually respectful environment and interaction.

  • In-Person: The applicant and interviewer must meet in a public place, such as a coffee shop, food court or library.
  • Virtual: The applicant and interviewer must identify a mutually agreed upon platform for the interview (such as Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, Phone call or FaceTime). If a video meeting is agreed upon the expectation is that both parties will have cameras on and  appropriate virtual backgrounds. 

If the interview is being conducted in person, both the applicant and interviewer must follow the below guidelines:

  • Meeting in person is fully optional.
  • Virtual interviews are in no way less meaningful or valuable than in person interview.
  • Allow the applicant to choose whether or not they want to have a video meeting, speak by phone or in person meeting.
  • Follow all local and University COVID-19 guidelines and requirements.
  • It is expected that all parties meeting in person are fully vaccinated (primary series vaccination). By agreeing to meet in person, participants are agreeing to this policy and holding themselves accountable. No checking of vaccination documents should take place or be required.
  • Neither interviewer nor applicant should inquire about the other’s vaccination status. If there is concern from either perspective, then a virtual interview should be considered.
  • When meeting in person, wearing a mask is optional and at the sole discretion of each the interviewer and applicant.
  • In the event that either interviewer or applicant tests positive for COVID-19 after an in-person interview, they should follow CDC guidance regarding isolation and notification of close contacts.

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.