I was an active interviewer in the Northwest Ohio region for over 14 years, and I estimate interviewed over 100 applicants. I have mixed reactions to the process.

First and foremost, the applicants are almost without exception great to meet. They are representative of the brightest and most engaged of their generation and make one truly optimistic about society’s future.

And, truth be told, meeting them generally made me glad I wasn’t competing against students like them when I applied to Princeton (although I am proud that my generation did not benefit from the cottage industry of advisers, tutors, and consultants who now polish students’ résumés like diamonds).

I did find it a bit off-putting to never get any feedback on my interview reports. I get that there are privacy concerns at work here, but never to get any response that my evaluations are too hard, too easy, just right, way off the mark, or right on point does make it impossible to know if I am doing a decent job or providing useful information. It’s hard to resist a sense that my input just goes to West College and gets filed someplace, never to see the light of day.

It would be satisfying to learn who got accepted. Again, I understand the privacy concerns. One time I did not learn two siblings I had interviewed were accepted until after they had graduated, and that was because I ran into them at an event.

While the great majority of applicants I met were terrific, I was surprised by the number who applied without knowing anything about Princeton. There were students who asked about a sports management major, the law school and med school, and those who had never heard of the senior thesis or the eating clubs. I chalk that down to the Common Application and the virtual arms race that applying to competitive schools has become.

I thought I would stop interviewing when I retired from work. At that age, I was as old as the applicants’ grandparents, and thought the students would be better served by someone whose knowledge of the University was more recent than 47 years ago. But then I moved to Southern California, and the local Princeton region needed some volunteers.

Naran Burchinow ’75
Los Angeles, Calif.