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Law School Launches Online Video Interviews for Applicants

New option allows prospective law students to interview any time, anywhere
  • Northwestern is the first law school to offer online video interview option
  • Applicants still may request the traditional on- or off-campus interview
  • Video interviews remove the hurdle of availability 

CHICAGO --- Northwestern University School of Law has launched a new online video interview option that allows applicants to interview wherever and whenever they want. Northwestern is the first law school to offer this option.

Northwestern Law is the only law school in the country that strongly encourages all incoming JD program applicants to interview as a part of the admissions process. Though the Law School does not require admissions interviews, the video interviews are another option for applicants wishing to do so. Applicants still may request the traditional on- or off-campus interview.

In 2014, about half of the Law School’s applicant pool completed an admissions interview.

“Philosophically, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to conduct an interview,” says Johann Lee, assistant dean, Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at Northwestern Law.

“One of the main reasons cited by applicants for not doing an interview is availability both on-campus and off. The video interview basically gives us unlimited capacity for applicants to conduct interviews at any time and location at their convenience -- thereby, removing the hurdle of availability.” 

Lee says another benefit is having the actual interview itself available for the admissions committee members to view.

“Should a reviewer have a question about an interview report, he or she can view the interview to form a judgment.”

Lee says the interview questions are based on competencies such as maturity, motivation, empathy, problem solving and resilience.

Through a registration link, applicants can sign up to do an online interview. Within 72 hours applicants will receive an email granting access to the online video interviewing portal and further information. Before beginning the interview, applicants can watch a one-minute video about the Law School narrated by Dean Daniel Rodriguez, and Lee describes how the online interview process works.

Applicants will be asked a series of recorded questions, posed by members of the Northwestern Law community, given prep time and a set amount of time to respond to each question. The system allows for unlimited practice sessions, which are not saved, but once the formal interview questions begin, applicants get one chance to respond. This allows the admissions committee to see applicants’ candid responses.

The interviews are expected to take between 30 and 45 minutes, with applicants answering six questions. Practice questions may include:

  • What relationship do you see between your own failures and successes?
  • Tell me about a time when you were criticized, criticism that gave you pause and how you were able to move on with the work you needed to do.
  • Think of a teamwork situation you were in where everyone could not agree. What, if anything, did you do to facilitate better understanding of each other?

In recent years, a few business schools, including Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, have added a mandatory video essay component to their application process. Northwestern Law decided to go a step further and offer applicants the opportunity to conduct their actual interview online, using Kira Academic, an online video interviewing and talent assessment platform that helps admissions teams select students that are the best possible fit for programs. 

The portal went live in September for the 2016 admissions cycle and will close in mid March.

“Anecdotally, we have heard the questions are difficult and there is not enough time to really think of a good answer,” Lee says. “However, in real life, you have less than a minute to answer similar questions. The actual responses have been quite strong thus far.”