I was recently asked a good question about what it means when we invite domestic candidates to interview ... and what it means when we don't. Let me start by explaining our interview policy. We have an open interview system, which means that the vast majority of people who interview with us initiate the interview themselves. Our system is different from that at many other schools, where most or all of the interviews are conducted by invitation only, after an initial review of your file. We believe that our open interview policy is consistent with the rest of our review process; specifically, we believe in giving all applicants equal consideration, regardless of their quantifiable metrics. So, even if your GMAT, GPA or work experience is below our average, you still have the opportunity to come to campus, meet us and interview. We really encourage all interested candidates to visit Tuck and get a feel for our community. Fit, as I have mentioned before, is extremely important to us; and it is crucial that you experience Tuck so that you can also make an informed decision about the environment.
What can you expect when you get here? (And will I ever answer the question about invitational domestic interviews?!) Most often, candidates will sign up for an interview, tour and class visit. Your day at Tuck will include multiple opportunities to interact with current students, who serve as class and lunch hosts as well as tour guides. The interview itself is a very important part of our evaluation. However, we do not believe in "stress" interviews, and will not deliberately try to destabilize you. Instead, the interview is an opportunity for you to get to know us and for us to evaluate your interpersonal skills, learn more about your experience and interests, and for you to learn more about Tuck. We do not ask questions like "if you were a tree, what kind of a tree would you be?", but you can expect to talk about your career goals, teamwork and leadership skills and your interest in Tuck. Many of you will interview with a highly trained second year Tuck student, which is another great opportunity for you to learn about our school. (Interviews with second year students are every bit as official as those conducted by an Admissions Officer. In fact, our students are in a unique position to evaluate fit and your ability to contribute to the community.)
All of which brings me, at long last, to the question about invitational domestic interviews. It is unusual for us to invite a domestic candidate to interview. People travel from all across the globe to visit Tuck, so if a candidate who lives on the East Coast doesn't make the effort to schedule an interview, we are disinclined to schedule one for them. However, each round we usually invite a few domestic applicants to interview. We would like to get to know these people better, and they often (although not always)live relatively far away from campus, so we understand that it may not have been feasible for them to come. Of course, we also understand that candidates have all sorts of valid constraints - financial, work and family commitments, military obligations, etc. Nevertheless, although we do invite some people with these kinds of constraints to interview, it is unusual. The bottom line is that it is definitely a positive sign if we invite you interview, in that it indicates our desire to learn more about you, but don't read too much into it if we don't extend an invitation. Most domestic candidates schedule their own visits, and we are unlikely to prompt you to do so.
I hope this helps to clarify our thinking - and I know that there is lots more to discuss on this topic, including international interviews. Please feel free to suggest topics / ask additional questions. Thanks for your interest!