Many schools give applicants the opportunity to interview with local alumni as part of the application process. In some cases, this is offered to all applicants, while others require applicants to follow specific procedures. For example, if you want “priority consideration” for an interview with a Duke alum, you need to submit your Regular Decision application earlier than normal - by December 20. At Carnegie-Mellon, you need to search the alumni directory and submit a request online. Be sure to check specific instructions for each school on your list.
Alumni interviews typically occur in a public place like a coffee shop, and are generally low-key and conversational. Be sure to come prepared with questions for the interviewer, and do your homework to show you are excited about the particular school.
Basic etiquette rules always apply – dress appropriately (suits are not required, but no ripped jeans or sneakers!), be on time, turn off your cell phone, and send a thank-you note. It never hurts to do a practice mock interview with a counselor or a parent!
For some great insight on what questions interviewers typically ask, and what they are looking for, check out this recent article from Business Insider: “A former Harvard admissions interviewer shares the 5 questions she asked almost every applicant.”