Admission Volunteers (OVAL)
OVAL Frequently Asked Questions
- What is OVAL?
- Who can participate?
- How do I sign up?
- I signed up but haven't heard from you.
- I have moved since I signed up to volunteer. How can I update my information for OVAL?
- I don't live in an interview area, should I still register for OVAL?
Attending College Fairs and Other Events
- Why is Stanford offering an alumni interview?
- Where are alumni interviews offered?
- What is the role of the alumni interviewer?
- How will the alumni interview be used when making admission decisions?
- Will a student's application be affected if he/she does not have an interview?
- My son/daughter or sibling will be applying to Stanford in the next couple of years. Am I eligible to be an alumni interviewer?
- My son or daughter will be applying to Stanford this year and he/she does not attend high school in an interview area. Can he/she still have an alumni interview?
- I know a student who is applying to Stanford. Am I permitted to interview him/her?
- When will interviews take place?
- How many interviews do you expect each alumni interviewer to conduct?
- How will applicants and alumni be matched?
- Would it be helpful if I network with others who may know my interviewer?
- I'm an OVAL volunteer and live in one of the areas offering an alumni interview. When can I expect to receive more details?
- If I have participated in OVAL Alumni Interview Training, do I need to participate again in subsequent years?
Stanford's OVAL (Outreach Volunteer Alumni Link) is an initiative by the Office of Undergraduate Admission that engages alumni (and sometimes parent) volunteers in enhancing Stanford University’s presence and visibility across the country and around the world.
The OVAL program augments the Stanford undergraduate admission process from the recruitment of applicants to the yielding of admitted students through volunteer activities.
In select regions, volunteers for the OVAL program may attend college fairs, assist with regional information sessions conducted by Admission Officers, interview applicants (alumni volunteers only), host/attend admitted student receptions, and host alumni interview training sessions.
As an OVAL interviewer OVAL members must be alumni (undergraduate or graduate) or parents of current Stanford undergraduates. An understanding of or willingness to learn about the Stanford undergraduate experience is required.
Alumni who are OVAL volunteers interested in interviewing should live or work in one of the interview areas and have an understanding of or a willingness to learn about the Stanford undergraduate experience. Parent OVAL volunteers are not eligible for to serve as interviewers.
You are not eligible to participate as an OVAL volunteer if you are a college admission professional (including a high school guidance counselor or independent consultant), if you have a child or sibling who is a high school senior, if you interview for any other undergraduate institution, or are engaged in volunteer or professional admission activities. (Please send an email to email@example.com if you are unsure of your eligibility.)
In general, Stanford faculty and staff who are also Stanford alumni may serve as OVAL volunteers. Employees of the Office of Undergraduate Admission, Financial Aid, and Visitor Information Services are not eligible to participate.
To volunteer for the OVAL program, alumni and parents of Stanford undergraduates must complete a simple registration process. Participation in the alumni interview program (limited to alumni and parents who are also Stanford alumni) requires additional training.
Please visit the OVAL registration page for step-by-step instructions. Registering for OVAL will ensure that you receive information about the program and does not obligate you to participate in the program. As a registered volunteer you will have access to the MyOVAL website. Alumni interviewers will use the MyOVAL portal to accept interview assignments and submit interview reports. Regional volunteer leaders and the Office of Undergraduate Admission’s Alumni Volunteer Relations team will be able to view your areas of interest and contact you regarding volunteer activities in your region (also referred to as your OVAL chapter).
The Admission process is dynamic and ever-changing. Our needs vary greatly depending upon time of year, geographic locations and our applicant pool. We will contact volunteers on an as-needed basis.
Much of the success of OVAL depends on having a reliable group of volunteers at the ready. We ask for your patience as our network grows and evolves, increasing the opportunities for volunteers in a variety of regions across the country and around the world. We appreciate your enthusiasm and willingness to be ambassadors for Stanford’s Office of Undergraduate Admission.
If you recently registered online for OVAL and did not receive an automatic email confirmation within 24 hours, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No matter where you move, you can still be an OVAL/admission volunteer!
Please log in to the MyOVAL website using the Volunteer Login portal. If it's your first time logging into the site, follow the registration steps to get to the MyOVAL home page (you'll be prompted to update your contact information and preferred chapter along the way). Your OVAL chapter is generally the state or country in which you live, and domestically is determined based on your zip code. If you spend significant time in another location or prefer to affiliate with a nearby state or country, you may select an alternate OVAL chapter. This will determine the OVAL activities for which you receive notifications and invitations. We encourage all alumni living near the borders of another OVAL region to select that chapter as a secondary chapter so that you may participate in OVAL activities there as well.
If you have previously registered in the MyOVAL system, log in and click on "My OVAL Profile" to update both your University profile and preferred OVAL chapter(s), as well as your volunteer status and eligibility.
Alumni interviewers: Please note that if you change OVAL chapters mid-cycle, any interview assignments you have not already accepted in your former chapter will be reassigned. It is your responsibility to complete interviews already accepted or alert your Regional Chair (alumnus or alumna volunteer responsible for managing your OVAL chapter/location) if you cannot.
Yes! There are a host of other OVAL opportunities available to alumni, such as representing Stanford at college fairs and regional information sessions, serving on panels, and attending/hosting admitted student receptions.
See the Volunteer Roles page for a list of OVAL opportunities.
Thank you for your initiative! College fair attendance must be approved by the Office of Undergraduate Admission. If you are interested in attending a college fair for Stanford, please email email@example.com at least one month prior to the event so we can put you in touch with the admission officer who coordinates fairs for your area. Volunteers may engage in typical college fairs and are not eligible to participate in special college fair panels as a representative of Stanford. It is the Office of Undergraduate Admission policy that only admission officers may represent Stanford on a panel or special presentation (except for regional events sponsored by Stanford in which an admission officer leads the program and alumni serve as panelists).
The same procedure applies to other college information sessions, panels and admission related events in your area.
Our resources do not extend to every informational opportunity, but we appreciate knowing about these regional events in your area.
The Office of Undergraduate Admission has identified two compelling reasons for offering an alumni interview:
- Outreach- An alumni interview offers a unique opportunity for applicants to learn about Stanford in a personal and meaningful way.
- Evaluation- An alumni interview offers the Office of Undergraduate Admission an opportunity to learn more about applicants beyond the written application.
For the 2015–16 admission cycle, the Office of Undergraduate Admission will operate the optional alumni interview program (based on applicant's high school location) in 36 domestic locations and 26 international locations as noted below (areas new to the program are noted in italic).
- Illinois (expanding beyond Chicago)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina (expanding beyond Raleigh-Durham)
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington, D.C.
- Hong Kong
- Mexico (expanding beyond Mexico City and Nuevo León)
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
If alumni interviewing is not being offered in your area, there may be other volunteer admission activities in your area. We encourage all alumni interested in volunteering to register.
The optional interview is designed to be a casual, comfortable conversation between an alumnus/a and an applicant. After an interview is completed, the interviewer will submit a report which will become part of the applicant's file.
The interview report provides a supplementary perspective on the applicant and the Admission Committee will consider it as one piece among many in the holistic review process.
No. The alumni interview is not required even if an applicant lives in an interview area. In addition, alumni resources are limited, and while we will make every effort to offer an interview to applicants in the interview areas, we may not be able to reach everyone.
Applicants who do not interview, whether by choice or due to program limitations, will not be adversely affected, and their applications will be considered complete without an interview.
13. My son/daughter or sibling will be applying to Stanford in the next couple of years. Am I eligible to be an alumni interviewer?
If your child or sibling is a high school senior (regardless of whether he/she plans to apply to Stanford), we require that you suspend your OVAL volunteer activities until the application and decision process is complete. If you are already an OVAL member, please go to the Volunteer Login portal and update your OVAL profile to reflect your change in eligibility status.
14. My son or daughter will be applying to Stanford this year and he/she does not attend high school in an interview area. Can he/she still have an alumni interview?
No. Alumni interview resources extend only to the designated interview areas. A student's application is considered complete with or without an interview.
No. If an interviewer is assigned a candidate he/she happens to know, even peripherally, we require that the interviewer recuse him or herself and request another applicant to interview. Similarly, if you have a social, business or professional relationship with an applicant or a member of an applicant's family, we require that you excuse yourself from interviewing that particular applicant. This policy safeguards the best interests of applicants and the University.
We will offer applicants in current interview areas an optional alumni interview for both the Restrictive Early Action and Regular Decision admission cycles. Interviews for Restrictive Early Action will take place in November, and Regular Decision interviews from approximately early January–mid-February.
We estimate alumni will conduct at least 3–5 interviews over the course of the admission cycle (October – February). This number may vary due to the makeup of the applicant pool in any given year or region. Some alumni enjoy the program so much that they offer to do 10 or more interviews.
Interviews will be assigned by the Office of Undergraduate Admission based on geographical location and the number of available alumni. Once assigned, applicant contact information will be sent to the alumni interviewer. Alumni will call or email students and invite them to interview.
To maintain an interview program that is fair to all applicants, we ask that you do not network with those you know who may know the alumni interviewer who contacts you. Interviewers are not permitted to interview applicants with whom they have a personal connection whether it be a direct connection or knowledge of an applicant acquired through networking. Interviewers are required to maintain the confidentiality of all information related to their volunteer role.
20. I'm an OVAL volunteer and live in one of the areas offering an alumni interview. When can I expect to receive more details?
We expect to provide alumni interview volunteers with training and logistics details in late summer/early fall. Registered OVAL members in interview areas who have indicated Alumni Interviews as an area of interest will receive updates via email.
21. If I have participated in OVAL Alumni Interview Training, do I need to participate again in subsequent years?
OVAL volunteers are welcome to attend alumni interview training workshops each year, though only one training program is required. Volunteers who attend training are marked as trained for the future.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated on September 17, 2015 1:21 PM