How Important is the Interview? Article Type: Quick and Dirty
Really. How important is it?
Is it worth having to wear that uncomfortable suit that's two sizes too big for you and the annoying butterflies in your stomach? Something to keep in mind while preparing for the interview is how important the interview is in your overall application. Long story short, the answer is “not very” important. However, if your application is borderline, interviews are one part of the big picture the admissions committee can use to judge one candidate over another.
Different schools do this in different ways. For instance, Dartmouth has its interviewers answer several questions about the applicant that are relevant to the application process, then asks for an overall evaluation of the applicant. Other schools use similar systems, often asking interviewers to provide an overall rating as well as more detailed comments.
It’s worth remembering that many students who have good interviews aren’t admitted, and many who have poor interviews are. Interviews aren’t a be-all-end-all ordeal. Rather, they are just one more data point, probably less important than your GPA, but more important than your middle initial. In the end, your transcript and essays are significantly more important than your interview. However, given a transcript that fits roughly into the student body of your chosen university and a solid essay and resume, a good interview can push your application from the reject pile to the admit pile.
Nevertheless, be prepared for your interview. It's good practice for the future when job searching.