The optional interview provides an opportunity for Restrictive Early Action and Regular Decision applicants to have meaningful conversations with Stanford alumni. This two-way exchange allows you to learn more about Stanford while the Admission Office learns more about you.
If your high school is in an interview area (listed below), you may be offered an interview with a local, trained Stanford alumni volunteer. Applicants may not request an interview since they are assigned according to local alumni availability. Your application will be considered complete with or without an interview.
Step 1: Interview Overview
- Stanford extends interview invitations according to alumni availability in your high school area, not based on the strength of an application.
- Your application will not be at a disadvantage if you are not offered an interview.
- Applicants may not request an interview.
- First-year applicants who attend high school in an interview area and apply through the Restrictive Early Action (REA) or Regular Decision (RD) rounds may be invited to an optional interview.
- Interviews for Restrictive Early Action applicants occur during the first few weeks of November.
- Interviews for Regular Decision applicants occur from early January to mid-February.
- Interviews for the 2023–24 application cycle may be conducted in-person or via video chat, depending on the availability of the alumni volunteer interviewer and providing applicable public health and Stanford University guidelines permit. The Admission Office has no preference between these two options.
- In-Person: The interviewer will invite you to meet in a public place, such as a coffee shop, food court or library.
- Virtual: The applicant and interviewer will identify a mutually agreed upon platform for the interview (such as Zoom, Google Meet, Skype and FaceTime).
- Interviews are not offered on the Stanford campus.
- No. Declining an interview will not negatively impact your admission decision, and you may decline for any reason. If you wish to decline your interview opportunity, please communicate this to the interviewer promptly. You do not need to share why you are declining an interview.
- If you do not receive an interview opportunity, your application will still be considered complete.
- You may choose to opt out of the interview in the Stanford Supplement, and this choice will not put you at any disadvantage in the admission process.
Step 2: Interview Assignments
- Applicant names and contact information are provided to Stanford alumni interviewers who will contact you directly using the email or phone number you provided in your application.
- If offered an interview, please respond promptly to accept or decline the opportunity. Follow-up messages from the interviewer will be sent via text message, phone call or email.
- If you would like to accept an interview, please respond directly to the interviewer promptly to schedule a time and/or location.
- If you attend high school in an eligible location and have not been contacted by an interviewer, it is due to alumni availability in your area.
- Interview opportunities are offered throughout the first few weeks of November (REA) and from early January to mid-February (RD).
- Please make sure you check your spam folder and the email address provided in your application.
- If you or someone in your family knows the interviewer who contacts you, please notify the interviewer so that we may attempt to match you with another volunteer.
- We ask that you do not network with those who may know your interviewer.
Step 3: Interview Preparation
- The interview is meant to be an informal conversation, so no formal preparation is needed. There is no set list of questions that interviewers are required to ask, which allows for each interview to be a unique conversation.
- Prior to the interview, you may want to think about:
- Experiences and goals that you would like to share with your interviewer.
- Academic interests and extracurricular involvements.
- Questions to ask your interviewer, as this is an opportunity to learn more about Stanford.
- You are welcome to dress in typical high school attire.
- Do not bring or share resumes, transcripts, test scores, your application or other supplementary materials with your interviewer. Interviewers are not permitted to view or accept such materials.
- For video interviews, it can be helpful to use headphones to minimize potential audio feedback.
Step 4: During the Interview
- Interviews typically last approximately 40 minutes.
- The interview is a one-on-one experience between you and your interviewer. Parents, siblings and friends should not be present during an interview. Parents who wish to meet the interviewer may do so immediately prior to the start of the interview.
- Interviews may not be recorded by either the applicant or the interviewer.
- Remember that interviews are a great opportunity to help Stanford learn about you as a person beyond the scope of your written application.
- Alumni volunteers learn about you through the interview and share information with the Office of Undergraduate Admission in a report that becomes part of your admission file.
- During the interview, alumni volunteers are able to share stories about their Stanford experience.
Step 5: After the Interview
- It is perfectly acceptable to send a thank-you email to your alumni interviewer, but we ask that you direct any additional questions or communications to the Office of Undergraduate Admission.
The interview program operates in the following areas and will expand further in future admission cycles.
United States and U.S. Territories
- All 50 states
- Puerto Rico
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- Washington, D.C.