College Interview In Your Jammies? Not Quite, But Getting There.
We all remember it like it was yesterday, clear as crystal in our minds: the utter horror of our college admissions office. The whole process of trying to pick something to wear that was nice, but not church-gaudy; the confusing drive to the school; the awkward wait outside of the office staring at current students walking around with confidence you wish you could have even a fraction of; the fear of saying something stupid or, worse, not being able to say anything at all.
Just thinking about it brings on the chills.
Imagine if you didn’t have to deal with that. Imagine if you could have just stayed in your nice comfortable house, flicked on your computer, and had a friendly chat with the admissions counselor from your chair. Well, it seems like that’s what a whole lot of college prospective students are going to be doing soon.
Wake Forest University did it and other schools are catching on. The process is pretty simple, it seems. Take your usual IM client with webcam add-ons, like Skype; turn on your webcam; hook up your microphone; and there you have it. Continue with your regularly scheduled admissions interview.
Now, this is pretty cool. Usually it’s the student body’s job to be tech savvy and the school is the one who has to catch up. The fact that schools are willing to use this manner of communication is pretty awesome on their part. Not only does it eliminate the “Oh my God, can the interviewer smell my fear?!” but it is great for students who want to apply to lots of schools and don’t have the money to get to all of them.
Still, it feels kind of strange, doesn’t it? Part of the whole admissions interview period is that you get a feel for every part of the school that’s going to become your life: the drive, the faculty, the campus, and the students. Sure, there’s the tour for that, but even Carrie Marcinkevage, MBA director of admissions at Pennsylvania State’s Smeal College of Business, admits that the webcam interview should never replace an on-campus visit.
This is a pretty useful tool to have available, especially for people who need it. The concern lies in the fact that convenience may eventually override tradition, as is usually the case with technology related things. So, like anything, there are pros and cons to this entire situation. Will this help or hurt the admissions process? Could being too comfortable be a bad thing? Only time will tell. (But hey, in fifty years, they’ll probably have hologram interview, anyway.)