Interview Guide

Thank you

As an alumni volunteer, you personal touch has the potential to make a positive impact on student's impression of Lawrence.The resources provided on this page are to help you conduct your interviews confidently and effectively.

We will treat our prospective students - and those who influence them - in a way that makes them feel, regardless of the outcome, that nobody treated them better than Lawrence University.

- Office of Admissions Mission

Interview Resources

The resources on this page are an online version of the interview guide. Click here to download the PDF.

Why Do Interviews Matter?

Recruiting students who are well-matched for Lawrence

This conversation allows applicants to show Lawrence the kind of person they are beyond the paper part of their application and serves as a powerful way for students to connect personally – through you – to Lawrence. It's about finding the right fit.

Alumni Frequently Asked Questions

What is discussed in a typical interview?

Interviews typically cover academics, extracurricular activities and personal qualities—the stuff that goes beyond the facts we get from a student’s application, test scores, transcripts and lists of activities. The interview should provide insight into the student’s intellectual curiosity and passion, motivation, commitment, leadership, character, initiative, integrity and maturity.

What are some questions to avoid during the interview?

  • Do not ask whether Lawrence is the candidate’s first choice or where else the candidate is applying. (If an applicant volunteers this information, that is fine, but it is not necessary to include it in the report. Consider asking the applicant, “What is important to you in a college?” instead.)
  • Do not make disparaging comments about any secondary or post-secondary institutions.
  • Do not create any impression or expectation, positive or negative, about the applicant’s probability of admission.
  • Avoid the personal (i.e., human resources no-no) questions such as, “Do you have a significant other?

What are some helpful tips for being a successful interviewer?

  • Convey your enthusiasm and professionalism.
  • Use appropriate language and ask pertinent questions.
  • Ask open-ended questions to promote conversation.
  • Maintain respectful eye contact (without staring).
  • Remember the power of silence in an interview after you ask a question. It’s a great space to allow candidates ample time to think, respond and expand.
  • Recognize the importance that your affirmative non-verbal and verbal cues have in continuing to make the candidate comfortable.
  • Make sure you are conveying accurate information about Lawrence. Keep yourself as informed and updated as possible.
  • Take notes that will help inform your interview report.

What are the most important qualities the Office of Admissions is seeking?

The Admissions Committee reviews applications with the goal of admitting people who will take full advantage of the Lawrence experience and graduate and go on to be successful Lawrentians.

Our most successful students are:

  • Intellectually engaged
  • Open-minded
  • Community-oriented
  • Aware of the nature of a liberal arts college

Lawrence receives many more qualified applicants than can be admitted, so Lawrence must turn down many candidates who would be excellent students. Admissions counselors spend a great deal of time reading every component of each candidate’s application.

What are some desirable characteristics I should be looking for in the interview?

  • Excitement about learning
  • Serious interest in learning—not just in receiving good grades
  • Independence of thought
  • Willingness to take intellectual risks, to stretch in terms of course choices.
  • Intellectual curiosity: A capacity for intellectual reflection and an interest in ideas.
  • Is the student taking rigorous courses just to make a transcript look good to colleges, or for the love of learning? Listen to how the student talks about the academic experience and reponses to questions such as “How did you choose to take AP calculus this year?” and “What are you most looking forward to in college?” Students who answer that last one with “getting away from my parents” pale in comparison to those who talk about how excited they are to dive into the college’s curriculum because there are so many interesting courses to take.
  • Engagement with the world and with others—a demonstrated commitment to the common good
  • Creativity—both academic and extracurricular: How does the student exhibit originality of thought and/or activities?
  • Unique interests and talents to share with others.
  • Diversity—in thought, perspective, geography, ethnicity and/or socioeconomic class.
  • Demonstrated or potential leadership

What should I tell a candidate about probability of admission?

We can not make any assurances of admissions. You can say something encouraging like, “I really think you would love Lawrence, and I hope you receive good news from the admissions office.”

Is an interview required?

Interviews are not required, but they are encouraged especially for students who have not had a chance to visit campus.

Contact Us

Mary Kate Smith | Assistant Director of Admissions | 920-832-7067

Lynette Schroeder | Alumni Admissions Engagement Office Coordinator / Admissions Reception | 920-832-6549

If you haven't formally signed up to be an Alumni Ambassador, please do so HERE. This is necessary so we can give you access to the technology we use to connect you with prospective students.

Download as a PDF

Interview guidebook cover

Be sure to share your LU story

While some things change - many experiences remain the same...

  • Preparation for life after Lawrence
  • Freshman Studies
  • Relationships with professors
  • Intellectual inquiry
  • Residential campus
  • Sense of community
  • Björklunden
  • Influence of music
  • Athletics
  • Variety of off-campus experiences

Strategic Messaging

To ensure consistent messaging on and off campus, three themes to reinforce include:

  • A rigorous and challenging academic experience
  • A welcoming and supportive community
  • Preparation to succeed in a rapidly changing world