Magazine article University Business

Hyde Interview Ripple Effect: The College Interview Is a Student's First Shot at Learning How to Use Human Interaction to Compete

Magazine article University Business

Hyde Interview Ripple Effect: The College Interview Is a Student's First Shot at Learning How to Use Human Interaction to Compete

Article excerpt

IN AN EFFORT TO SEE WHETHER BRINGING BACK THE PERSONAL interview can improve the college application process, the University of Denver is conducting 5,000 Hyde Interviews (named for a student-oriented English professor) across 27 cities, toward the enrollment of its class of 2008. (For more on the Hyde Interview, go to www.du.edu/admission/hyde.)

It should therefore go without saying that the media coverage surrounding the university's Hyde Interview caught my attention from the moment it began to surge. This publication--and most notably our Admissions Angle columnists Howard and Matthew Greene--have long been proponents of the universal return to the college interview process. So, on a morning in mid January when on ABC's Good Morning America I heard DU's Vice Chancellor for Enrollment John Doran describe the epiphany that started it all, I couldn't help but smile. Certainly, the story of bright, plucky, DU-rejected Milena Zilo, chasing the vice chancellor across campus to argue her case for admission to DU, is enough to make anyone who has ever been rejected from a college she has dreamed of attending feel a sense of vindication. And the plot twist--as Dolan goes back to his office to hear Zilo's remarkable story, which results not only in acceptance for the young woman, but a scholarship to boot--is enough to make any Hollywood scriptwriter pea-green with envy.

But it was Dolan's admission of his initial line-toeing responses to the young woman that really resonated most. In retrospect (only moments after they were uttered), the reasons for rejection that he gave her were "stupid," he said. And if they were anything tike many of the reasons for rejection colleges and universities routinely hand to qualified, eager applicants, they probably were. After all, most admissions officers make their judgments with only paper to guide them. And while this is no doubt a highly effective way to weed out applicants who simply are not qualified to attend a particular institution, the fact is that most schools' bodies of applicants are now more highly qualified than ever before--because of the competition to look good on paper. But that doesn't mean paper comparison is the best way to rate qualified: applicant against qualified applicant.

"But they don't even know me!" is the complaint most commonly made by competent rejects, and DU's Dolan would admit they're right. …

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