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Fletcher to debut online admissions interviews

Published: Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 01:12


Aalok Kanani / Tufts Daily Archives

The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy will this week introduce an online interview component to its admissions process.

The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy’s Graduate School of International Affairs will launch a new, online system for conducting its admissions interviews this week for candidates applying by the school’s Jan. 10 deadline.

Through InterviewStream, an established online interview site, applicants who are unable to interview on campus will have the opportunity to attach a video interview to their application, according to Liz Wagoner, associate director of Fletcher’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.

Applicants will have the option to record themselves answering five questions, with two minutes allowed for each question. Each student will only have one chance to redo the video.

“This is the pilot year, and if things go well, Fletcher hopes to provide this opportunity for both the early and main applicants next year,” Wagoner said.

Fletcher is the only graduate school of international affairs that interviews its applicants, according to Wagoner. Since the interview process is vital for finding the best candidates for the school, she said, the video option is crucial because not every student is able to visit campus.

“It was really important for us to come up with a way for applicants from other countries, who don’t live in the Boston area, or can’t afford to come to Boston, to have that same opportunity to interview,” Wagoner said.

The online interviews can be done using any camera connected to a computer, giving students around the world the opportunity to add a personal touch to their application, according to Mirza Ramic, a first−year student at Fletcher who will be reviewing the online interviews this winter. He added that this is particularly important since the international community is a huge part of Fletcher.

“The system really shows the commitment of the school to attract and find the best potential students for Fletcher,” Felix Hofmann, a second−year student at Fletcher who will also be reviewing the online interviews, said. “It’s a serious effort from the school to give an interview opportunity to every student.”

The system stops short of offering a full replacement to the experience of an in−person interview, Ramic said.

“When you don’t have that interaction in person, you don’t really know how people respond to certain questions and you can’t throw in some of your own questions” he said.

Although the system has flaws, Hofmann believes that it is still the best way to provide an opportunity to interview every applicant.

“The system does everything to imitate the personal interview as best as it can,” he said. “It’s not as good as a personal interview, but it’s as good as technology permits.”

Another concern about the new system is ensuring that the Office of Admissions gives the online videos the same amount of consideration and attention as the on−campus interviews receive, Wagoner said.

The interviews will be reviewed by a small group of about 10 volunteers, Ramic said.

Besides personalizing the application, the online interview will also offer other key information about the candidate, such as their ability to speak fluent English, Hofmann said.

“The interview is a merciless opportunity to demonstrate whether he or she can speak English,” he said, noting that Fletcher students must be able to communicate and debate well in English.

Hofmann said that as he watches the videos, he will note how the candidate structures the interview to get their points across and the kinds of experiences they relate in the interview.

“The online interview is a perfect opportunity for an applicant to share their personal experiences, their professional experiences and their academic experiences,” he said.

Wagoner expressed excitement about the new online interview process, stressing that it will give applicants a chance to stand out from the crowd.

“I think it’s really important to know, as an applicant, that you’re not just you’re test score, you’re not your paper application, but you’re a person behind that application and this is a really great opportunity to show us who you are,” Wagoner said. “I hope that applicants out there really take advantage of this unique opportunity.”

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