We value the notes you share with us in interview reports as part of your conversations with our prospective students. We hope the following ensures your notes are reflective of best practices and as helpful as possible to the application readers given the time and effort you spend meeting with our candidates.

Great notes involve context

Helpful notes give us context for what you discussed with a candidate and why you feel that the student may (or may not) be a positive contributor to our community. Single-word notes or general descriptors of your conversation give our readers less to work with in understanding your experience with the student. Expanding context for comments like “great,” “not a good fit,” etc. to share the “why” behind your assessment gives us the best picture of your experience meeting a student.

  • Helpful examples of contextual notes shared for strong interviews:
    • Casey was great to meet because she had such a strong knowledge of WashU and an enthusiasm for learning history. She said her summer program on campus helped her see herself spending college at WashU. I recommended she look up a book by my old professor and she immediately wrote the title in her notes and said she would pick it up at the library!
    • It was really easy to talk to Jamie. She is so enthusiastic about being involved in medical volunteering in the women’s health clinic and wants to keep doing it in college. Her involvement would be impressive to me in the context of potential medical residents I interview at my hospital so even more impressive since she is in high school.
  • Helpful examples of contextual notes shared for moderate or low-fit interviews:
    • Kylie seems like a really high achiever who is focused on going to a “good college.” She struggled to converse with me outside of achievements from her resume. She was ready to share facts about herself, but not as ready to answer more open-ended questions. She didn’t really have much thought as to why WashU besides saying it’s highly ranked to help me understand why she would be a good match.
    • Brendan wasn’t engaged in the interview. He was texting under the table until I asked him to put his phone away. He gave mostly on one-word answers like yes or no to questions I tried to make open ended. Based on our conversation I think he would struggle in a discussion-based class and didn’t seem interested in the school.

We discourage interviewers from making definitive comments on whether or not you think the student should be admitted or denied. We make all admissions decisions using a variety of points of information in a holistic review process, and because of the highly selective nature of our admission process, it is difficult to predict a student’s likelihood of admission from an interview interaction.

Avoid commenting on personal appearance

Please do not make comments about a student’s personal appearance in your interview notes. Even if your intention is to highlight something you feel is positive, this places inappropriate emphasis on elements that are not relevant to our decision-making. Comments on attire should generally be avoided. Students come to our process with a variety of backgrounds and experiences that can inform what they might know about how to dress for an interview meeting, and we tell them casual dress is appropriate. In the off chance a student wears an outfit that is truly inappropriate for an interview setting and reflects negatively on their ability to engage in a diverse community (for example, wearing a t-shirt advocating violence, an overtly sexist or racist slogan, etc.) you may note this.

  • Inappropriate note example: Kylie is a very attractive young woman. She has a bright smile and wore a lovely dress.
  • Inappropriate note example: Brendan could have dressed better for the interview. He wore pants with holes and I think he should have worn khakis and a polo shirt.
  • Worth noting: Tyler wore a shirt that said “F*** College” on it. I thought this was a poor choice in the context of a college interview.

How to (and how not to) engage with information related to race/ethnicity

Your comments should be based on your discussion with the student and what they share with you. As part of our ongoing effort to be compliant with the Supreme Court’s recent decision on race-conscious admission/affirmative action, please take special note of the following guidance:

  • Do not comment on a student’s race or perceived race as a demographic note or out of any context of how the student may have discussed this themselves.
    • Inappropriate note example: Casey is African-American
    • Inappropriate note example: Jamie is the best Latina student I’ve interviewed this year
    • Inappropriate note example: I met Riley’s mom and dad before the interview. He is from a mixed-race family and his dad is Asian
  • You CAN make notes reflecting on things the student has shared as important about their engagement in their community. You do not need to censor all mentions of race or identity from discussions students open up, but you should not emphasize or discuss race or race-related information out of context. Make note only when it is something the student has chosen to bring up and please share context for what they mentioned and why they mentioned it.
    • Appropriate note example: Casey talked extensively about how she is the President of her school’s Black Student Union and that this is a significant part of her time commitment at school. She considers being a founding member of the organization one of her most significant personal achievements.
      • Inappropriate note example: Casey gave me a resume that says she is in Black Student Union.
    • Appropriate note example: Riley mentioned traveling to China this summer was a good way for him to connect with his dad’s side of the family. He said it was a life goal of his to be able to use the Chinese he’s learned at school to communicate with his family and he achieved that goal.
      • Inappropriate note example: Riley should join an Asian affinity club at his school. He didn’t mention being a part of one and I think he would qualify.

If you have any questions or would like further guidance in completing your Interview Report Form, please contact the APAP office at apap@wustl.edu or (314) 935-4826.