The Harvard interview doesn’t test your subject skills, and in fact bears little resemblance to the type of interview you’d get at a UK university. It is very informal – more of a wide ranging conversation than an interview – and provides the opportunity for you to talk about things that matter to you (both academic and outside of school) so that the interviewer gets to see what kind of person you are. All interviews are undertaken by Harvard alumni/ae, giving you the opportunity to ask them about their own experience of College life.
The interviewer’s job is to find out enough about you so that he or she can ‘make the case’ for you back to the Admissions Office when writing their report. Harvard looks for outstanding students, but just as importantly, wants to find people who will be a good ‘fit’ for the Harvard community and contribute to the life of the College. The calibre of student who applies to Harvard tends to be very high, so the challenge is to find individuals who are also exceptional in other ways and who will make their mark among exceptional peers.
Most, if not all, UK applicants will be offered an interview, depending on the volume of applicants in a particular year. Interviews are organised by the Harvard Club of the UK. Once you have submitted your application, you will be contacted by a member of the Club who will arrange a convenient date and time for the interview. Normally, interviews take place in a public place such as a coffee shop, but if this is not possible, they are sometimes undertaken remotely by Zoom, WhatsApp or by phone.