How to Prepare for Your Rice University Interview

Thursday, September 21, 2023

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If you’re planning to apply to Rice University, you can request to be interviewed as part of the admissions process. While Rice University interviews are optional and not guaranteed, they provide a unique opportunity for you to learn more about the campus experience, showcase your knowledge of Rice, and highlight your life experiences and accomplishments. If you don’t have an interview, it won’t hurt your chances of gaining admission. However, participating in an interview can give you a competitive edge, since your interviewer submits a report to the admissions committee.  

Currently, Rice does not offer campus interviews — all interviews are conducted virtually, but this may be subject to change in future admissions cycles. Keep reading to learn more about what to expect during college admissions interviews at Rice University so you can feel prepared and confident.

What Is the Interview Process at Rice University?

It’s well worth requesting an interview, even though it’s not required. The college admission rates at Rice University are low, so requesting an interview is a good way to demonstrate your interest in attending. Opportunities to interview are limited, and prospective students do not interview with an admissions officer. Instead, you can interview with a current senior or a member of the Rice Alumni Volunteers for Admission (RAVA) — Rice has no preference for either option.

You can request an interview with a current Rice senior through the university’s campus visit website, even if you haven’t submitted your application. Slots open in late August and are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s best to request an interview as early as possible. Interviews with current seniors must be completed by November 21 for Early Decision applicants and December 1 for Regular Decision applicants.

To request an interview with an alumni volunteer, you must first submit your complete application and then submit a request through Rice University’s online applicant portal. Interviews with alumni volunteers must be requested by November 3 for Early Decision applicants (November 1 application deadline), December 17 for Regular – Priority Deadline applicants (December 15 application deadline), and January 6 for Regular Decision applicants (January 4 application deadline).  

Interview Length

Expect the interview to last no more than an hour, regardless of whether you interview with a Rice senior or a member of RAVA — though interviews often run shorter than that. The length of the interview depends on several factors, such as how many questions the interviewer asks you, how many questions you ask the interviewer, and the length of responses.

Interview Difficulty

The interview shouldn’t be difficult, especially if you’re prepared. Regardless of the format, preparing for your college interview is the key to making a good impression and will help the interview go more smoothly. Take the time to do as much research as you can about Rice University. Attend information sessions, virtual campus tours, and webinars so you can be specific and detailed in your responses.

You may also find it helpful to practice your interview skills by asking a friend or trusted adult to conduct a mock interview and provide feedback about the clarity of your answers, tone, and body language. However, be careful not to over-rehearse your responses. You want to sound human and authentic.      

Interview Experience

When IvyWise students interview at schools like Rice University, they typically find the experience to be more conversational than formal. Your interviewer will likely take notes as you respond to their questions, but the tone of the interview will generally be relaxed — it’s an exchange of information and thoughts, not an interrogation. This interview advice from Rice seniors can help you anticipate what to expect and what to talk about during your interview.    

Will the Interviewer Have Read My Application?

Interviewers do not have access to the student’s application. It’s likely they will only know your name and contact information, so you will have to provide information on your academic and extracurricular interests. The primary purpose of the interview is for them to get to know you and how you think, learn how much you know about Rice and what you can contribute to the campus community, and answer any questions you might have about the university.  

Commonly Asked Rice Interview Questions 

Rice interviewers aren’t required to ask a specific set of questions. This can make it a bit tricky to prepare, but you’ll likely be asked questions similar to these:

  • What are your academic interests, and why?
  • What extracurriculars are you involved in, and why?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • What is your leadership style?
  • Can you give an example of a project you led?
  • What would you describe as your greatest achievement to date?
  • Give me an example of a time you failed.
  • Give me an example of a time you faced conflict. How did you handle that?
  • Why Rice?

Answering the “Why Rice?” Question

This is the most common question asked during Rice University interviews. The interviewer will expect you to articulate your thoughts about the campus culture, academic programs of interest, faculty you want to work with, and specific clubs and/or organizations that appeal to you. This may lead to additional questions about Rice, such as:

  • Have you visited the campus? (If not, mention that you will prepare for your college visit.)
  • How will you contribute to Rice?
  • Is there anything unique about Rice that you feel could contribute to achieving your future goals?

Questions to Ask the Rice University Interviewer

You will get a perspective from a student or alumni interviewer that you will not get from an admissions officer, so be sure to ask questions at the end of the interview. Of course, feel free to come up with your own questions, but here are some ideas:

  • What is your favorite campus tradition?
  • What is it like to live on campus and in the city of Houston?
  • How would you describe Rice’s culture?
  • What’s one thing you think many incoming first-year students don’t know about Rice?
  • Why did you choose to attend Rice?

When the interview is over, don’t forget to thank the interviewer for their time. We also recommend sending a thank you note within 48 hours.  

What Was It Like to Be Accepted into Rice University?

Rice University has a low acceptance rate — for the Class of 2027, it was 7.73% — so it’s important to submit a compelling, authentic, and competitive application that makes you stand out to the admissions committee. It can only help you to request an interview as well.

Do you want to be accepted into Rice University, too? Learn how a college counselor can help you have the best chance for acceptance at Rice.  


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