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Virtual interviews: Coming to an admissions office near you?

At one university, eight students have been trained to conduct Skype interviews
University Business, June 2016
Virtual interview platforms. (Click to enlarge)
Virtual interview platforms. (Click to enlarge)

Determining the return on investment for virtual admissions interviews involves understanding the resources and when the technology will be used.

At the University of Rochester, the commitment is bigger than most. One full-time employee and eight senior students have been hired and trained just to conduct Skype interviews during this admissions cycle, says Jonathan Burdick, dean of college admission and vice provost for enrollment initiatives.

He believes it’s a worthwhile investment, with international students poised to constitute somewhere between 20 and 23 percent of next year’s freshman class.

For schools that have outsourced the process, the hours spent pouring over video content can be just as challenging to manage. But it’s time well spent, says Rick Clark, director of undergraduate admission at Georgia Tech. “It is another step. There is time that is involved. But we think it’s absolutely worth it. We want to get it right.”

Some schools also use virtual interviews for some domestic students. Rochester and other institutions that consider interviews an important part of the admissions process interview students in distant parts of the U.S. virtually. 

The Northwestern University of Law recently became the first law program in the country to add online video interviews (via the Kira Talent platform) to its admissions process. Half of its 2014 candidate pool interviewed virtually, and the new platform is designed to provide a more streamlined and easily managed system for the school going forward.

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