Almost 6,000 applications included an interview provided by Beijing-based InitialView during the 2013-2014 application cycle, an increase of more than four times the amount of the previous cycle the company claims.
The boom in interest is driven by demand from admission officers looking to seek assurance as regards a student’s English language capabilities. Academic programmes partnering with InitialView have risen to 180, up from 13 in its first year.
“There probably isn’t an admission officer in the USA who hasn’t seen our interviews”
According to January 2014 quarterly figures from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), 29% of all nonimmigrant students in the USA are from China, up from 26% the same quarter in 2013.
However, a 2010 report from Zinch China shows that among Chinese applications to US institutions, 90% of recommendation letters are fake; 70% of essays are not written by the applicant; and 50% of high school transcripts are falsified.
In addition to providing more transparency to the admission process, InitialView CEO Terry Crawford told The PIE News that some universities report that students who have interviews attached to their applications double their chances of admission.
“There probably isn’t an admission officer in the USA who hasn’t seen our interviews,” he said. “We keep getting feedback from new schools about how much they appreciate the value of seeing an unscripted exchange.”
The service, free to universities, operates based on universities recommending it to students. InitialView then arranges an interview with the candidate, records it and provides it to admission officers via an online platform.
A writing sample can also be included with the interview at an additional cost to students.
High fliers keen to stand out from the crowd and increase the credibility of their applications that they often send to 10-to-15 schools have also contributed to the company’s growth, Crawford said.
“As top students become our evangelists, the number of schools using our interviews shot up”
“As top students become our evangelists, the number of schools using our interviews shot up,” he said. “It is an easy question for the receiving schools – do they want something which will help them make better decisions that the students are proactively providing?”.
Although targeting only US-based schools, interest for the service has come from students all over the world. Interviewees in the last application process were located in eight different countries including Tanzania.
“We’re looking forward to seeing how this opportunity is going to expand next year as the students who first interviewed with us move into prime internership-seeking age,” added Crawford.
Similarly, we’ll see a “credibility demand” with regard to proving financial capacity: Students want to elevate their applications, and admissions officers need to improve their yield — with the thoughtful use of technology.