What Are the Factors that Influence Interview and Acceptance Decisions?
We systematically analyze a number of factors, including the student’s personal and professional accomplishments (e.g., research and applied experience), the quality of his or her letters of recommendation, and of course “objective” data such as GRE scores and undergraduate GPA. We seek to identify the top tier of applicants, in terms of both intellectual abilities and interpersonal strengths, as well as “fit” with our program’s model, strengths, and faculty expertise. This is done through a multi-tiered approach in which the applicant pool is gradually winnowed down to the handful who will be offered admission. We select students with a strong dedication to, and experience in, applied developmental research. A small number of applicants are then invited to campus for an in–person interview (or, when necessary, via telephone or videoconferencing) meet with three to four faculty members and at least one graduate student. Faculty and students rate each applicant based on their impressions during the interview, and these ratings are factored in to admissions decisions. Finally, all ADP faculty meet to discuss the applicants and to identify applicants who might have been overlooked by the actuarial approach, and/or those who may overlap too heavily with one another (e.g., to avoid offering admission to multiple students who seek to work with one particular faculty member). These rankings and faculty discussions are used to identify the small group of applicants who will be offered admission, those who will be placed on the waitlist, and those who should be rejected.