Admissions Office

Interviewing

Conducting virtual interviews or off-campus interviews in your area is a great way to promote Union and to speak one-on-one with prospective students about the value of a Union education.

Video:

If you are new to interviewing or would like a refresher, you may want to start by watching this mock in-person interview.

Helpful tips:

As an alumni interviewer, you play an important role. Any contact you have with students may affect their opinions about Union. Showing enthusiasm for the College and creating a comfortable environment ensures they will have a favorable impression. To set the stage for an outstanding interview, you need to find a place where you will not be interrupted for 45-60 minutes. After greeting the student, if parents are present, please tell them that once the interview with the student is finished, you will invite them to join the conversation.

Interview objectives:

  1. To give the student a favorable impression of Union.
  2. To get an overall impression of the student, including their interests and passions.
  3. To help the student recognize why Union might be a good match for them.

Interview Dos and Don'ts:

Do

  • Make the student feel comfortable as quickly as possible – be open, positive and encouraging.
  • Remember that students are often nervous in interviews, so don't hesitate to ask general questions about academic, extracurricular, and hobby interests in order to 'break the ice'.
  • Try to make the interview a conversation rather than a question and answer session.
  • Give the student the opportunity to explain any unusual circumstances which may have affected his/her academic performance.
  • Try to ask the student a question or two which will really push them to think before they answer.
  • Have fun – this is your chance to bring your Union story to life; laugh, smile, enjoy.

Don't

  • Ask students what other colleges they have visited, are considering or will apply to. Rather, ask what they like about Union.
  • Overpower the student with information about your experience at Union, but do share brief accounts of your experience when appropriate throughout the conversation.
  • Worry about grades and test scores... it's most important to learn about the student's course of study, extracurricular involvement and interests. However, it's OK if a student offers his/her GPA, test results, transcript, and/or resume (please send these materials to the Admissions Office).
  • Ask questions about a student's/family's financial situation. If it is clear that financial aid will be an issue, encourage the student and/or parents to contact our Financial Aid Office at (518)388-6123 or finaid@union.edu.
  • Comment on the likelihood of the student being admitted.
  • Attempt to answer questions for which you don't know the answer. Instead, send the question to Susie Hanks at hankss@union.edu.

Suggested questions to ask:

College search process

  • How did you hear about Union?

Academic life

  • What are the unique aspects of your school: strongest departments, strongest sports teams, arts or music programs, etc.?
  • What would you change about your high school?
  • What courses are you taking? What courses did you take last year?
  • What courses are you taking senior year?
  • Which courses have you found most enjoyable? Why?
  • Which courses have you found most challenging? Why?
  • Do you have a favorite book? Tell me about it.
  • Do you have a favorite teacher? Why?
  • What would a teacher write about you in a recommendation?
  • What would your best friend say about you?
  • What motivates you to do well in school?
  • How would you like to be remembered by your high school?

Family

Please note that family can sometimes be a sensitive issue and not all families look alike. If you ask a family-related question and the student does not seem comfortable, please respect the student's feelings and pursue another topic of conversation.

  • Tell me about your family.
  • Who in the student's family is most inspirational to him/her? Why?
  • What has the student learned from his/her family? What has the student's family learned from him/her?

Extracurricular/community activities

Please try to gauge where you see them contributing on Union's campus. Do they have leadership potential? Would they be involved in performing groups? Athletics? Etc.

  • How do you spend your time outside of class? What activities are you involved in?
  • What activity is most important to you? Why?
  • What hobbies do you have?
  • What did you do this summer?
  • What activities do you want to continue or start in college?

Additional questions

  • What would you ask/tell the President (or another notable figure) if you were given an hour alone with him/her?
  • If you were handed $100 million, how would you want to spend it?
  • Do you have any heroes/heroines? Why are they important?
  • What is your proudest moment?

Concluding the interview

  • Is there is anything else you would like to discuss? What questions do you have for me about Union?

Please provide the student with your phone number and/or email address, and encourage follow-up questions if they arise. Thank the student for coming and for his/her interest in Union, and ask accompanying parents if they have questions before departing.

Evaluation:

  • Provide specific examples about the student to make your points.
  • Give overall impressions.
  • How do you see this student contributing to Union's campus? How might they benefit from the opportunities at Union?
  • Please complete the evaluation form soon after the interview to avoid forgetting information. If you have misplaced the link for your interview write-up please contact us at alumniadmissions@union.edu.