Video interview uses for international student admissions

5 ways virtual communication is improving the international admissions process: A quick resource guide
By: | April 1, 2019
Colleges and universities have adopted video interview technology for use in the selection process of international students. (Photo credit: Thinkstock.com: RAWPIXEL LTD.)Colleges and universities have adopted video interview technology for use in the selection process of international students. (Photo credit: Thinkstock.com: RAWPIXEL LTD.)

When students from other countries, or simply from areas that are far from the desired college, can’t attend in-person interviews, admissions professionals are using video interview technology as a way to evaluate candidates—helping ensure the selection of those who will make the most valuable contributions on campus.

In particular, the ability to see and hear applicants from other countries converse in English during a video interview can address the mounting concern regarding admitted students having subpar English language skills.

“There are times when a student completely pops, and I think this is amazing. I can get a sense of how the student might do in a Western-style classroom with peers, faculty and staff, and I’ll write to that student and say, ‘I want to admit you.’” —Kregg Strehorn, UMass Amherst

Depending on the size of an institution and how many international applicants it attracts, digital interviews play a variety of new roles in the selection process.

Take a look at five of the most promising video interview examples.

1. Differentiating among high-scoring students

Administrators at some higher ed institutions need new filters to help them choose from among the many highly qualified students applying. An interview via a videoconferencing platform helps identify students who would be most likely to assimilate—such as those who are better Enlish speakers and those who seem like they’d be willing to participate in classroom discussions.


Related: International college admissions: Getting to know you


Applicants are showing an increased interest in video interviews as a way to stand out in a more competitive applicant pool. Colleges may make it clear on their international student admissions webpages that interviews, though not required, are highly recommended.

2. Making better admissions decisions

Being able to vet candidates is especially important at small institutions that may only enroll a few dozen international students per year. The process often helps weed out students who are below the school’s standards and would ultimately not be the right fit.

3. To find diamonds in the rough

Outside of mainland China, such as in South America and Africa, virtual interviews are useful in finding great students whose test scores may not let them shine. This helps colleges bridge the gap between education systems that are fundamentally different from those in the U.S.

4. Encouraging international student leaders

Virtual interviews can also help predict how engaged students will be—such as in making friends and joining clubs—once they get to campus. The thought is that students who exhibit strong conversational skills during virtual interviews will be more outgoing, and can ultimately become campus leaders who can mentor incoming international students and bring them into the fold.

Some colleges even allow current international students to view admissions interviews and share feedback on whether the applicant could perform well. Being part of the process also gives the current students a sense of institutional pride.

5. Gaining a recruitment advantage

Building relationships with students who might come to your campus is a huge benefit of the video interview. In addition, the platform used for the virtual conversations could be used for other admissions purposes, such as allowing an international student to visit a particular class virtually.

Interviews can also be used to recruit students to academic programs in need of enrollment. Through screen-sharing features, the potential student could share a transcript and a professor could share a presentation about the program.

Dawn Papandrea, a Staten Island, New York-based writer, is a frequent contributor to UB.

For more on this topic, read the original article here.