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Monday, May 16, 2022

The Case for Alumni Interviews

To the Editors of the Middlebury Campus,

We would like to offer some comments and clarification on the article entitled “Reading and Ranking: Shaping the Class of 2018” in the November 14, 2013 issue of the Middlebury Campus.

First, thank you for spending time with the Admissions Office to shed some light on a process that is often perceived at best as “opaque,” and at worst downright frustrating. All of us, undergrads and graduates alike, have gone through the college admissions process, and all of us at one point have wondered what goes on behind the scenes to select the next new class of Middlebury students.

With that said, we wanted to support and make some clarifying comments on your article about the Admissions process and how applicants are considered. While the article quotes Manuel Carballo, Director of Admissions, as saying, “we aren’t interviewing students or having conversations with them”, the reality is that many applicants are still being interviewed. Last year, Middlebury’s Alumni Admissions Program (AAP) interviewed over 6,000 of the more than 9,000 undergraduate applications received by the College.

The AAP is the College’s largest alumni volunteer program with almost 2,500 active participants and over 3,800 members. The program has members across the world, in nearly every country and every state. In fact, the Admissions Office estimates that at least 50 percent of the current matriculated students of the College received an interview from an alumni or alumnae.

As alumni interviewers, we realize that our conversations only represent one aspect of an applicant’s overall profile, which also include high school transcripts, test scores, recommendations and other application materials, both objective and subjective. Our efforts, however, do make a difference as our conversations with applicants provide direct insight into the most subjective and very important “personal category” of an application, as referenced by Dean of Admissions, Greg Buckles, in your article.

As leaders of AAP, we are all proud of our work. Looking at alumni admissions programs at peer institutions, Middlebury’s AAP is often recognized as a model of the college admissions process in terms of the number of interviews completed and the quality of the reports.

As we all know, the landscape of higher education is changing rapidly and in ways that many of us do not fully comprehend. The college applicant of today is smarter, global, socially-networked and more technologically advanced than we ever thought possible. In order to make sure that Middlebury continues its tradition of attracting the best and the brightest, programs like AAP are critical to the overall process, and we are proud to know that all of the work done by the alumni/ae volunteers of the College is valuable and appreciated by the Admissions Office.

Best regards,

Ed Soh – ’94, AAP National Chair and MCAA Board Member

Wendy Russell Tracy – ’95, AAP National Chair and MCAA Board Member

Skip D’Aliso – ’78, AAP National Chair and MCAA Board Member