Does Everyone Get A Harvard Interview?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Two women in an interview talking.

Does Everyone Get A Harvard Interview?

Applying to Harvard can be a very significant endeavor for students from all over the world.

As a result of the fact that only about 5 percent of students who apply for admission to Harvard are accepted as students, opportunities such as the undergraduate admission interview are very important.

It is not uncommon for students to wonder what the significance of being asked to attend an interview at Harvard is. At the beginning of the preparation for their admissions, students may also ask “does everyone get a Harvard interview?” Being called for an interview at Harvard can be a confusing and exciting experience.

An Interview Is Not Granted to Every Student

It is important to keep in mind that not all applicants will be asked to participate in an interview during the Harvard admissions process.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that just because Harvard has asked you to come in for an interview does not automatically mean that you have a better chance of getting into the school than a student from another city who does not get a Harvard interview. According to a statement that can be found on the college’s website, “no candidate is at a disadvantage if an interview cannot be arranged.”

Female student shaking hands with her interviewer.

Since Harvard graduates conduct admissions interviews, more applicants will be interviewed in regions that have a high concentration of Harvard graduates than in regions with a low concentration of Harvard graduates.

How to Get a Harvard interview?

The majority of students who apply to Harvard participate in the interview process conducted by alumni.

Following the submission of your application, you will typically be given the opportunity to speak with a Harvard graduate who resides in your region. Your interview, taking into consideration the circumstances at hand, will most likely take place via Zoom or a phone call.

Now, does everyone get a Harvard interview? An alumni interviewer will get in touch with you if you live in the United States and give you the option to participate in an in-person interview if you want to. When you’ve finally settled on a time that works for both of you, you’ll probably meet at a cafe or some other public location.

If you are applying from a country other than the United States, your chances of being able to participate in an in-person interview are determined by the number of Harvard alumni who live in your region.

Female student facing her interviewer in a room.

In the same manner, as in the United States, an interviewer will get in touch with you to set up an appointment if you live in either the United Kingdom or Canada.

If you live in another country, you might wonder how to get a Harvard interview. Most probably, you will be required to send an email to Harvard and initiate contact with an interviewer on your own. Alternatively, the admissions office at Harvard might only contact you for an interview if they have a specific request for more information about you.

Due to a shortage of people available to conduct interviews, prospective employees in some parts of the world are unable to participate in face-to-face selection processes. You should instead consider using Zoom or the telephone as an alternative.

You can get more information about the Harvard interviews by visiting their admissions website or contacting their admissions office.

How to Prepare For the Harvard Interview?

We have answered the question “does everyone get a Harvard interview?” and now, you have your chance to take part in an interview at Harvard College. Congratulations! This indicates that the admissions committee enjoyed reviewing your application and considered you to be a competitive candidate; you have successfully navigated the first step toward securing a spot at this prestigious school.

Young male student holding her book and backpack in a hallway.

Knowing what to anticipate during your interview at Harvard is the most effective way to get ready for it. Now, let’s move to the ways how to prepare for the Harvard interview.

You will be interviewed by a Harvard graduate who will, in the majority of cases, make contact with you by phone or email in order to schedule a time and date for your interview.

In the event that a face-to-face meeting is not feasible, Harvard will make every effort to put you in touch with a Harvard graduate who lives in your area. In the event that this is not possible, however, Harvard will utilize Zoom or another video conferencing app.

Keep in mind that the person conducting your interview will not have access to your application in any way; the only information they have about you is your name, your contact information, and the high school that you attended. As a result of this, you should make an effort to have a solid understanding of your application and use it as a tool to assist you in providing answers to questions.

Keep in mind that you should be genuine and demonstrate that you are who you say you are in the interview. Remember that there is no such thing as a “typical Harvard student,” even though you might feel tempted to put on a persona in order to appear more like a “typical Harvard student.”

Your genuineness will go a long way toward ensuring your success, and it’s likely that you’ll feel more at ease conversing with the person who is interviewing you if you’re not trying to put on a show.

In light of this, the statement made by Harvard College is pertinent: “There is no need to dress in formal attire.” Think about what you would wear if you were going to school and wear that. Even though you should wear something appropriate to your interview, you should feel free to wear clothes that make you feel confident and that you wear on a regular basis so that you can be more at ease.

You should also keep in mind that despite the fact that you are being interrogated, this is a fantastic opportunity for you to ask a Harvard alumnus about their time spent at the university. Make the most of the opportunity to learn more about the school after your interview, if you still have time left over after the discussion has concluded. This demonstrates your eagerness to learn new things, your dedication, and your willingness to put in the effort. It also demonstrates to the interviewer that you have done your homework and are serious about attending Harvard.

The majority of interviews at Harvard College will last approximately one hour, which means you should have plenty of time to formulate thoughtful responses to interview questions.

If you approach your interview at Harvard like a conversation rather than a question-and-answer session, you will come across as more natural and adaptable to the questions that your interviewer asks.

Questions That Might Be Asked At the Harvard Interview

You will find some general interview questions that may be asked of you below. Thinking about how you would respond to these questions in advance will help you prepare for the interview.

It is important to keep in mind that you do not want to appear to be rehearsed because this will cause it to sound unnatural; however, you should have a general idea of what it is that you want to say.

Here are some examples of the kinds of questions that might be asked of you in the future:

Personal Questions

Your interviewer will most likely begin by asking you a few questions about yourself in order to get the conversation rolling.

Keep in mind that the person conducting your interview does not have access to your application and that when you sit down with them to talk, you are essentially starting with a clean slate for them to evaluate.

  • Please enlighten me about your background.
  • Please tell me about your childhood and your family.
  • Which academic discipline do you enjoy studying the most?
  • What is the name of the book that you are currently reading?
  • What kinds of things do you enjoy doing for fun?
  • What sorts of interests do you have?
  • Do you have any talents that are particularly interesting or unique?

Questions That Are Unique to Harvard

These questions will center entirely on the reasons you want to attend Harvard, and they will also provide you with an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how much research you have done on the institution.

Your responses will be even more convincing if you are able to discuss particular Harvard courses, extracurricular activities, school traditions, or any other aspect of the Harvard way of life.

  • If you were to go to Harvard, what would you study?
  • If you were to attend Harvard, what subject(s) would you be interested in studying?

(This would be an opportunity for you to share your enthusiasm for a particular area of concentration that is available.)

  • Would you be interested in joining any of the extracurricular activities or clubs at school?
  • Why do you want to continue your education at this level?

Be aware that some interviewers may inquire about the other schools to which you have applied, while others may steer the conversation away from this line of inquiry.

The majority of the time, the purpose of this inquiry is to evaluate the reasons why you chose to apply to particular schools and to determine the likelihood that you will choose a particular school if you are offered admission to your other choices.

Because Harvard is such a prestigious institution in the world, a smaller percentage of applicants end up accepting other offers. In the event that you are asked about other schools to which you have applied, you need to ensure that your response demonstrates to the interviewer that you are committed to attending Harvard.

Questions Relating to Weaknesses and Strengths

Questions that focus on both your strengths and areas in which you could improve provide the interviewer with valuable information about both of these aspects of you.

  • Please share with me a challenging experience or a time when you fell short of your goals. How did you manage to get past this obstacle?
  • What do you believe to be one of your greatest flaws?
  • Please describe some of your best qualities to me.
  • Describe an instance in which you were able to contribute to the betterment of your community, an organization, etc.

If you are asked questions that pertain to the areas in which you could improve, ensure that your responses are both truthful and well-considered.

Your interviewer wants to know that you have the capability and the potential to grow and change, and questions that have to do with your “weaknesses” can easily be used in your favor if you can identify them and have the drive to work on improving yourself. You have the opportunity to demonstrate your skills, knowledge, and leadership capabilities, as well as your passion and contribution to the community or the people around you, through the use of strength questions.

Concerns Regarding the Near Future

The mission of Harvard University is to educate tomorrow’s leaders so that they can be agents of constructive change in the world.

Because of this, the person conducting the interview with you will most likely ask you questions pertaining to the future; consequently, it is a good idea to give some thought to what you want your life to be like after you graduate from school.

  • In what role do you see yourself functioning in the next five years? In the next ten years?
  • If you graduated from Harvard, what do you think you would do with your life?
  • Describe the ideal job that you hope to have after you graduate from this institution.
  • If you were successful, what would that look like for you?

To ace your interviews (in general), learn more with AdmissionSight’s take on mastering college admissions interview.

How Long Is the Harvard Interview Process?

The good news is that the interview is, for the most part, going to be like what you’d expect it to be in terms of the questions that will be asked of you.

Female student holding her books in the school yard.

After all the preparations you made, the question now is, how long is the Harvard interview process? After asking you pointed questions about your interests and experiences as they appear on your Common App for approximately 45 minutes, Harvard alumni will open the floor for your questions during the final 15 minutes of the session. There will be no curveballs thrown here.

What Should I Ask A Harvard Representative?

Generally, interviews do not just end with you answering all of the interviewer’s questions. You should also ponder on the thought “what should I ask a Harvard representative?” Keep in mind that the questions you ask should reveal that you have given the topic some thought, that you have completed the necessary research, and that you have been paying attention to the interviewer.

Student talking her interviewer in an office.

There are three primary categories of questions that can be asked during an interview: research-based questions, personal questions to the interviewer, and questions based on information revealed by the interviewer during the interview.

Questions that are well-grounded in research.

There are a great number of questions that are supported by research. Maintain the focus of your questions, and check to see that they align with your personal interests. Prepare these questions in advance.

You only need to prepare a few questions for the interview because you will spend the majority of the time responding to questions that are asked of you. Try to steer clear of asking questions with answers that can be found quickly and easily with some basic research.

The following are a few hypothetical examples of excellent questions that are based on research:

1.I really want to take advantage of the opportunities you provide for students to study in China, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to because I’m also on the volleyball team. I’d really appreciate it if you could let me know.

Given the time commitments that student-athletes are required to make to their sport, are there any student-athletes who choose to pursue their education in a foreign country?

2. I am very interested in the internship program that you have available for students studying journalism.

Do you have any information regarding specific internships that students have obtained and how those internships have assisted students in their academic pursuits or in advancing their careers?

Good questions that demonstrate you have been listening.

These are the kinds of questions for which there is no real way to get ready, but it is important to ask them because they demonstrate that you are engaged, interested, and paying attention. Go for it if you have the opportunity to ask a question that is based on something the interviewer has told you while you were there.

For instance, if the interviewer brings up a tutoring program, you have the option of asking the interviewer whether or not he participated in the program, or you can inquire further about the operational specifics of the program.

Excellent opportunities for introspection.

These are questions in which you inquire about the viewpoint or opinion of the person you are interviewing. Because your interviewer is likely to want to provide guidance, and many people enjoy talking about themselves, personal questions can be great questions to ask during an interview.

Here are a few insightful questions to ask the person interviewing you for a position at your college:

1.If you were to give me any advice as an incoming freshman, what would it be?

2. Looking back on your time as a first-year student, what do you wish you had known?

3. Based on what I’ve read (insert popular on-campus event or tradition). Have you taken part in this? What’s it like?

From pondering “does everyone get a Harvard interview?” to being in the interview yourself, this is your chance to know more about the school from someone with firsthand experience. The final kind of question that you can ask is a good one because it demonstrates that you’ve done your research, and people have a tendency to enjoy reminiscing about their time spent in college.

How Important Is the Harvard Interview?

Just because you have been asked to participate in an interview at Harvard does not mean that you will automatically be accepted into the university; this is a common misconception among students.

You should keep in mind that interviews are just one step in the process because of the small percentage of students who are actually admitted to the school as first-year students. Even though the fact that you are getting an interview indicates that your application is being considered, you should also keep in mind that interviews are just one step in the process. The further you are from having a grade point average that is comparable to that of incoming students at Harvard, the lower your chances are of being accepted there.

Two unidentified people in an interview.

However, from a positive standpoint, you can realize how important is the Harvard interview.

Spend some time preparing for your interview at Harvard so that you can impress the alumna who will be conducting the interview. It is important to go back to the question “does everyone get a Harvard interview?” and see this as an opportunity given to only a few applicants. It is your chance to present yourself, highlight your skills, discuss your qualifications and goals, and engage in a face-to-face conversation with a person who has connections at Harvard.

Applicants who, during both the personal interview and the standard application process, demonstrate that they possess the qualifications of a successful Harvard student cannot help but improve their chances of gaining admission to the university.

Make full use of the interview so that you can gain further insight. Take advantage of this opportunity to gain some insight into what you can expect from the rest of the admissions process as well as the university in general during the interview.

Keep in mind that the person who will be asking you questions during the interview is someone who has already been accepted to Harvard, attended the school, graduated, and started their life as a successful alumnus of the prestigious school that you are hoping to attend. Make the most of this opportunity to inquire about the student and alumni experience at Harvard by asking questions.

Even though the objective of the interview is to provide the alumnus with a better understanding of who you are as a candidate, you should view it as an opportunity to learn something new and beneficial about yourself.

After Completion of the Interview

Even though it is not required of the Harvard alumna, you should send a thank-you note or card to express your gratitude to her for taking the time to interview you. Then you should continue to do well and demonstrate the academic caliber of an applicant to Harvard by excelling both in school and in your community.

Interviews, no matter how casual or major is it, are always nerve-wracking. AdmissionSight can help you prepare in advance and ace your interviews, most specifically for college admissions. Book a consultation with us and we would be happy to be with you in your college admissions journey.



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