Alumni and Parent Volunteers
They say success breeds success, and it must be true. Your success as a graduate of the University of Rochester helps us spread the word to prospective students and parents. Each year, we receive more applications for the same number of spots, making the process of selecting a new freshman class incredibly rewarding, but also much more challenging. We value your assistance at every stage of the process!
We’re here to support you as you help us fulfill our annual mission to bring the best and brightest to the University of Rochester. This page contains links to the information and materials you may need to assist you in fulfilling your role as an admissions volunteer.
Would you like to create or increase awareness of the University of Rochester in your hometown? Work with us as we expand our outreach efforts to prospective students, parents, and high school guidance counselors across the country. One of the most beneficial and fun ways to do this is to represent Rochester at your local college fairs. When our Admissions staff cannot attend a fair event but recognize the importance of attending, we reach out to our volunteer alumni for assistance.
You don’t have to know everything about the University in order to staff a fair. All that’s required of you is a few hours of your time, and your enthusiasm for Rochester—we’ll provide the rest. College fairs are typically a first point of contact, so questions are usually general and the handout materials we will provide are in high demand and address most questions. Check out what some of your fellow alumni volunteers have to say about staffing college fairs:
Craig Plummer ’93, ’94W (Mas)
UR Involved volunteer since 1995
“I have staffed several college fairs, and I never get over the excitement of sharing my joy for Rochester with high school students who are looking for that perfect place. You don’t have to be an admissions expert to share stories and excitement about a place that you love!”
Christopher Composto ’83, ’84W (Mas)
UR Involved volunteer since 2007
“I have had several great experiences staffing college fairs and talking with prospective students about Rochester. Talking to parents about the University and helping students wade through the myriad information available is a very rewarding experience. Being a ‘salesperson’ in nature and having had a truly wonderful experience at Rochester makes it easy to ‘sell’ the University to prospective students and parents. There is a completely different perspective staffing a fair when you are a Rochester alumn. The students really want to know what it’s like to attend Rochester, and who better than an alum to fill them in? I think the parents also get a much better feeling about the University by talking to alumni versus talking with someone who works for the University.
“I was a bit nervous at first, not knowing what kinds of questions would come my way. But my nerves were quickly calmed by talking about our alma mater and the wonderful and innovative programs Rochester provides. The ‘cheat sheet’ the Office of Admissions provided was also a big help! By the end of the evening, after repeating the same statistics over and over, I was a pro! The Office of Admissions provides all the tools necessary to have a successful, rewarding experience staffing a college fair.
“It’s also wonderful to speak with parents about the finances of college life! The statistics the Office of Admissions provides prove to be a welcome surprise for parents who think that Rochester is financially unreachable. Parents are equally impressed by the Take Five program!”
Adam Konowe ’90
UR Involved volunteer since 1988
“Even in the Internet age, characterized by various new admissions tactics (virtual tours, online videos, and chat rooms), college fairs remain a vital tool for University of Rochester representatives to communicate with prospective students and their parents. Face-to-face interaction is still the ideal way to convey enthusiasm for Rochester to high school students who might not have had the opportunity to visit campus or may have additional questions best posed in person. Attendance at these events is also a concrete manifestation of Rochester’s commitment to recruit students from a given region, as well as the enthusiasm of local alumni for their alma mater.”
Generally, college fairs take place from September through November, and March through May. Look for emails regarding fairs in your area, or register for fairs for which we’re currently seeking staff assistance.
Thank you for your support for the University of Rochester and the Office of Admissions!
We consider the admissions interview to be a crucial part of the application process. These one-on-one conversations allow us to get to know our applicants in more depth than the application can provide, and help us gauge the applicant’s fit for the University of Rochester. We could not do this without the help of our alumni across the country, which is why your role as an alumni interviewer is so important to us and to the University.
Here you will find information and materials to assist you in your role as an admissions volunteer. If you can’t find what you are looking for, please email Beth Luke or Suzanne Dianetti in the Office of Admissions.
What We’re Looking For
- Is this student prepared for success in higher education?
- Are they a good relative fit for the University of Rochester?
It’s our opportunity to learn their stories, or add a personality to a paper application. What we want to know is what makes them unique, and if they are a good fit for Rochester and vice versa. Your goal is to have a relaxed conversation from which you may uncover some additional insight about the student not included or discussed at length in their application materials.
It’s not just what they do, it’s why they do it. The application tells us how many AP classes the student is taking. We see the extensive extracurricular list. Rather than asking for a list of classes or activities they participate in, try to find out why. What are the student’s motivations? Passions? Goals? These are things that are harder to determine from the application alone, so you can use the interview as a chance to dig a little deeper and find out what drives them.
Here in the Office of Admissions, we find it useful to ask personal, open-ended questions to get to know the student and to get an idea of how he or she might fit at Rochester. Remember, there are no required questions you must ask and no specific information (like test scores or GPA) that you must gather.
Here are some sample questions:
- Why are you interested in Rochester?
- What are your academic interests?
- Which high school class have you found to be the most challenging, and why?
- Outside of academics, what can you bring to the University of Rochester?
- What factors are most important to you in your college search?
Tips and Ideas for Interviewers, by Interviewers
Our interviewers share what has worked for them. Feel free to give any of these suggestions a try, and see what works best for you!
Adam Konowe ’90, Washington DC area:
- Questions to ask: Rather than asking a candidate to characterize him/herself, I prefer to ask how school friends view him/her. It allows the student to give a slightly more detached and less self-conscious answer.
- Interview site: I prefer Starbucks or other comfortable location near my home.
- Climate: I readily admit to interviewees that Rochester is colder and receives more snow than the Washington, DC area. But I also explain that unlike DC, snow is no big deal. There is a lot to do on and off campus in winter, and the River Campus tunnels make getting around a bit easier.
- City: Rochester is large enough to offer a diverse range of opportunities (concerts, museums, minor league sports, a great small zoo, beautiful parks, etc.), but not so big that getting around is a hindrance like here in DC. Plus, Toronto is only about three hours away.
Bill Robinson ‘72, Boston area:
- Making contact: Email is way more effective as the medium for initial contact with this high school generation. It also makes the phone a workable follow-up as needed.
- Set-up: At least in my area, Starbucks is the best location. (It’s unanimous, and I’m not a a Starbucks fan, so I’m not plugging it). The local kids know it well, and it’s a good point of reference for kids coming from out of my town.
- Questions to ask: The best lead-off I have is: “How have you heard of us (Rochester)?” The best next one isn’t a question, but a ground rule I set early. I tell them that I am not trying to “sell” Rochester, but that our chat is about seeing what kind of match there is between you and the University. Then in general, I try to gauge their familiarity with the school, the Rochester area, and Upstate NY to anticipate their questions to me, which is the next topic.
- Answering questions:
Climate: They get a laugh when I explain Rochester is not in the Arctic Circle and not all that dissimilar statistically from Boston. I see if they are winter persons or not. The tunnels are always a hit.
Campus activities: I build upon what they have told me about themselves in terms of their activities and what they wish to try out in college.
City of Rochester: Again, any familiarity is something I build upon. It’s increasingly likely now that there are family/friend connections to Rochester and even the area itself. I emphasize our mid-sized city status and metro area of more than a million people, saying it’s large enough to have a lot of activities without the congestion of the big city. In fact, for its size, Rochester has a lot to do and see.
- In general, I focus on a relaxed discussion to help both of us discern what “match” there is between the student and Rochester. Also, I always emphasize a campus visit. The consistent feedback I get from those who have visited is that it is highly impressive, still one of our best visual attributes to students and their families.
Emily Hart ‘12, New York City area
- Pick a Sunday afternoon and set up in a coffee shop you like so you can schedule multiple interviews in one day. This saves you time and gives you the chance to interview a lot of students.
- I always start the interview by telling the students a bit about myself. This gives them some time to get comfortable before they need to talk.
- My first question is usually, “How did Rochester come onto your radar?” You can easily gauge a student’s interest and prior knowledge with this question. From there, I always ask them to tell me about their high school. I find this helps me understand their view on education and easily leads into asking what they are excited about for college.
- I always send the student a quick follow-up email explaining that they are free to ask any other questions that come up. This opens the door for students who are admitted to have another point of communication about deciding.
Matt Vaughn ‘02, Kansas city area
- The main thing I keep in mind when interviewing a potential student is that they’re interviewing me as well. It’s this reasoning that allows for some really good conversations. While I try to stay consistent on my focus points so I have a good frame of reference when submitting evaluations, every interview is unique. Personally, I much prefer meeting in person, and I try to find places that are common and comfortable—Starbucks or other coffee shops tend to work well for this. I’ve also conducted a lot of interviews over the phone and done a few on Skype. I try to email the student as soon as the request comes through and then go back and forth to find time and location (or phone number).
- Focus points:
1. I start the conversation with something I think helps the students feel a little more at ease. I tell them that this isn’t an “interview,” in the traditional sense of the word, that there are no set questions, and it’s just a conversation where they can ask me anything. I tell them that I understand there are lots of factors that go in to choosing the right college and that I’m here to help them get a little more information to guide that. I’m partial to Rochester since I went there, but I’m not going to criticize any other schools they’re considering and I try to be as non-biased as possible if they want a comparison (assuming I can provide it). After I’ve gone through this, I ask if they have any questions they’d like to start with—it helps them feel more comfortable and sets the tone if they want to ask questions.
2. After this, I almost always lead with the “How did you find out about Rochester in the first place?” question since my interviews have been in Chicago, Denver, and Kansas City. I’ve found that many of the people I interview come across the school from specific searches including music (Eastman School), fast track medical admission (REMS), or a professor or subject area for which we’re notable.
3. I ask what they’re looking for in a college experience. This leads to good discussion about what Rochester provides, how this may compare to other schools, and what my experience was like. I always directly ask if they’ve visited or are planning to as it’s one of the main points that sold me on enrolling. A lot of the students I speak to can’t or don’t get the chance to visit campus, so it’s always a little bit trickier for me to help them get a real feel for what it’s like there.
4. Because my interviewees are 1000+ miles from Rochester, I take some time to figure out if they’re truly ready to be that far from home. Most are, because they probably wouldn’t otherwise be looking at Rochester, but I still ask. This also leads into discussion about the city and what it’s like to live there (yes, it snows).
5. When discussing academics, I make sure they understand how it works with clusters. When discussing campus activities, I encourage them to reach out to group organizers to get a true feel for what’s actually going on. When discussing financial situations, I tell them to talk to admissions/financial aid.
- When we’re wrapping things up, I make sure to tell them I’m available beyond this interview if they have more questions. I also let them know if they’re having trouble getting information about something to let me know and I can try to help. Yes, it’s an interview in the sense that I’m writing up an evaluation when it’s over (seriously, do this ASAP after you’ve completed the interview), but I view the whole process as being a resource for this student as they try to figure out what works best for them. I know not every kid is going to come to Rochester and I know not every kid is right for Rochester. But it’s not my call to make and I want to provide both the school and the student with the best information possible to make that decision.
More coming soon!
For approved interviewers, please use this instructional tutorial for use of the new interviewer software:
Interviewer Workflow (.pdf)
As an alumni interviewer, you may be asked questions about the admissions process. Here is some useful admissions information:
- We accept both the Common Application and the Universal College Application.
- We have a holistic review process, with no minimum requirements for admission. The typical Rochester student has:
- Ranked in the top 10% of their high school class
- Taken 2–7 AP or IB courses
- Maintained a median academic unweighted GPA of 3.8
- Submitted an SAT score between 1900 and 2200 or an ACT score between 29 and 33
- We have a test-flexible policy, which means that a wide variety of test results can fulfill our standardized testing requirement, including the SAT Reasoning exams, the ACT, two or more results from SAT subject exams, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and results from many other national secondary exams.
- Application Deadlines:
Regular Decision Freshmen
All Application Materials: 12:00 am EST, January 5
Notification Date: by April 1
Response Required: May 1
Early Decision Freshmen
All Application Materials: 12:00 am EST, November 2
Notification Date: Mid-December
Response Required: within 3 weeks of notification
Professional Degree Programs (REMS, GRADE, GEAR, Dual Degree)
Application and All Other Forms: 12:00 am EST, December 1
Response Required: May 1
For updates and news about what’s happening at the University of Rochester, check out our Newscenter.
The Rochester Curriculum: Study What You Love
People do their best when doing what they love. At Rochester, students build their own curriculum with their own unique strengths and interests. There are no required subjects. Students here study only what they’re passionate about, choosing a major in one of the three divisions of learning and taking thematic three-course clusters in other areas. Most Rochester students find they have room to double- and even triple-major.
A cluster is a set of related courses that fall within one of the three academic divisions: Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences & Engineering. Each cluster contains a minimum of 12 credits of coursework. Rochester students created many of these clusters. They’re just one more way students can customize their college education.
Corporate Finance & Accounting
Digital Media Studies
Latin American Studies
Audio & Music Engineering*
*This program is seeking ABET accreditation. Meanwhile, graduates are not eligible to receive maximum professional education/experience credits toward NY State licensure.
See the full list of majors & minors.
Best values in private colleges: 30th
US News and World Report 2015
National Universities: 33rd
Best value schools: 29th
Best graduate schools, physics (atomic, molecular, and optical): 6th
Best graduate schools, political science: 15th
Best graduate schools, economics: 22nd
Best graduate schools, Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences: 37th
Academic Ranking of World Universities (China) 2014
World universities: 90th
US universities: 49th
Times Higher Education World Rankings (UK) 2013–2014
World universities: 95th
Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities 2012
A new ranking released by the National Taiwan University; offers annual performance rankings for world universities based on the production and impact of their scientific papers.
Clinical Medicine: 64th
Social Sciences: 79th
Life Sciences: 103rd
Thank you for all you do for the University of Rochester!
The Office of Admissions has seen an increased demand for interviews overseas. To help us meet this need, we’re embarking on a new initiative to offer interviews with Rochester alumni internationally.
As a University of Rochester graduate living outside of the United States, you can speak to international students’ questions about Rochester and about adjusting to life in another country. It is our hope that you will join us as a powerful resource in our effort to bring the best students to Rochester—from all corners of the globe.
If you’re interested, please fill out the Alumni Interviewer Application, and an Admissions representative will contact you.
Thank you in advance for your valuable support!
Alumni Interviewer Application
Alumni interviewing season is roughly four months in duration, from October through early February. Throughout this timeframe, alumni receive requests directly from applicants and initiate follow-up with them to make arrangements for an in-person or Skype/telephone interview. Within 48 hours of completing an interview, the alumnus/a submits an evaluation which is used by admissions counselors as part of the application review process.
* IMPORTANT * Because all applicants are encouraged to interview as part of the application process, thousands of interviews are conducted by alumni and staff each year, and this number continues to grow. We are seeking alumni who can take on the significant commitment that this role requires of representatives of the University in terms of time and responsiveness. When follow-through is not timely and professional, it reflects poorly on Admissions and the University, and negatively impacts the student and our relationship with their high school. If your professional or personal schedule would inhibit your responsiveness, alumni interviewing may not be the best alumni opportunity for you.
Responsibilities and Expectations:
Alumni interviewers are responsible for…
- Reaching out to (possibly multiple) prospective students who’ve requested an interview with you, to schedule a mutually convenient interview method, date, time, and location.
- Dedicating time to self-train by utilizing the available online volunteer resources or by scheduling a time to connect with an admissions counselor to complete a volunteer training session via webcam, Skype, WebEx, or chat session.
- Devoting a half or full weekend, or evenings as needed, throughout the season for interviewing events and/or several 30 minute time blocks for individual interviews.
- Monitoring one’s interview requests on a regular basis (we suggest daily) during the interviewing season (September-early February) and following up accordingly within 3 days of the request.
- Submitting an evaluation within 24 hours after completion of an interview, using the prompts on the interviewing evaluation form as a guide for the information most valuable for admissions staff.
If a reasonable effort to meet these expectations is not maintained by an alumni interviewer, the Office of Admissions reserves the opportunity to remove the interviewer from active status temporarily or permanently.
Prior to submitting the application form, please take a few moments to consider the questions below to help us, and you, determine if alumni interviewing is a good match for you.
- Why are you interested in being an alumni interviewer?
- Do you have enough time in your schedule to monitor your interviewer account and requests, conduct, and evaluate your interviews? For example, if you travel frequently or on short notice causing delays in responding to and scheduling students, alumni interviewing may not be the best opportunity for involvement at this time.
- Would you describe yourself as an “active listener”?
- Do you have any interviewing experience? (Prior experience isn’t required to be an alumni interviewer, but can helpful.)
- What is your comfort level interacting with high school students?
- How would you describe your current level of knowledge about the college admissions process?
- Do you have relatives who may be applying to the University within the next 3 years? (Please note that we ask interviewers to take a year off from interviewing the season during which their relative is applying.)
Whether you’re just starting to think about college or you’re narrowing your choices, we hope you will keep the University of Rochester in mind. As a potential legacy applicant, the Office of Admissions welcomes you (and your family) to visit campus, take a tour, attend an information session, and apply to the University of Rochester when the time comes.
If Rochester is right for you and if you are a good fit for Rochester, we hope you will carry on a family tradition while creating your own legacy here. Because Rochester values such legacies and traditions, the Office wants to keep in touch and serve as a resource for you as the college admissions process begins.
The Colony Club is an exclusive opportunity for children and grandchildren of Rochester alumni. The benefits of being a member of the Colony Club include:
- Eligibility to apply for the Meliora Alumni Scholarship
- Special interviewing opportunities
- Discounts on Pre-College Programs at the University
- Advance notice on when Admissions staff will be in your area for high school visits, college fairs, receptions, and interviews
- Application fee waiver
- Personal communication directly from our counselors before and during the application process
* Membership in the Colony Club does not imply nor guarantee admission to the University of Rochester.
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