Admissions interview policy

This policy applies to all interviews conducted to assess the suitability of applicants to entry to University of Exeter programmes and which result in a formal offer or reject decision on an application to study at the University. Informal meetings with University staff where prospective applicants can discuss the University’s programmes, entry requirements and their suitability for selected programmes are not considered interviews in the context of this policy.

Colleges should ensure that selection procedures for interviewing prospective students are consistent with this policy.

Why do we interview?

For the majority of programmes, the University does not require candidates to be interviewed as part of its recruitment process. However, in some cases the University will interview applicants if it is felt that this is the best method of identifying potential for study, and/or where there is a relevant legal/regulatory requirement or guideline.

No offer for BMBS Medicine or BSc Applied Psychology (Clinical) will be made unless an applicant has attended an interview.


Those involved in drawing up interview criteria or assessing candidates should have had appropriate interview and equality and diversity training.

Selection criteria

Appropriate selection criteria and assessment methods should be documented and agreed in advance. Criteria and assessment methods used should be consistent with the University’s Admissions Policy.


Interviews should be scheduled as flexibly as possible to minimise the chance of applicants being unable to complete this part of the selection process. This should include, where possible, publishing in advance the likely interview dates; providing adequate notice (usually at least two weeks and ideally more to applicants who have to travel from overseas) when inviting an applicant to an interview; and offering applicants an alternative interview date (if requested) where possible.

If the University cancels or postpones an interview, applicants should be offered a revised interview date.

A revised interview date may not be offered if the applicant fails to attend an interview without informing the University in advance.

Telephone or SKYPE interviews

The University may conduct telephone or SKYPE interviews if appropriate (eg, for international applicants who may not be able to travel to the campus). In some cases legal or regulatory requirements may mean this option is not available. Telephone or SKYPE interviews should follow the same principles and guidance as face-to-face interviews.

Interviewing applicants aged under 18

If a candidate will be under 18 years of age at the time of interview, the arrangements should include ensuring that emergency contact details are available. 

Interview procedures should also be consistent with the University of Exeter policy, Codes of Practice and Guidance Notes on Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults on Campus.

Travel and accommodation costs

The University does not routinely refund the costs applicants may incur when travelling to an interview. If refunds are available this will be made clear when applicants are invited to an interview.

Prior to the interview

Where applicants are to be interviewed, the processes, criteria and nature of assessment should be made available to all applicants. Where appropriate, information may be published and available prior to application. More detailed information should be supplied to those invited to an interview.

Applicants should be invited to provide details prior to the interview of any medical, special or cultural needs that should be taken into consideration to allow any reasonable adjustments to be made.

Interviews should normally be conducted by a minimum of two trained interviewers and where possible have an appropriate gender balance. Interviewers should try to ensure that they are not alone with the candidate at any time. It is essential that at least one member of the ‘interview panel’ has received recruitment and selection training, offered by the University.

During the interview

Procedures should be in place to verify the identity of the interviewee for both face-to-face and telephone/SKYPE interviews.

Interviewers should avoid over-aggressive questioning or joking familiarity at interviews, and should avoid behaviour that might frighten, embarrass or demoralise the applicant.

Interviewers should not enter into discussion about the equivalence of qualifications with applicants (queries about the equivalence of such qualifications should be noted and then discussed with the Admissions Office).

Interviewers should not refer to choices made at other Higher Education Institutions, if the applicant is a potential undergraduate student.

Interviewers should ensure that they follow agreed procedures for keeping a record of the interview.

After the interview

Following the interview the outcome should be communicated to the applicant as quickly as possible (normally within three weeks). If there is to be any delay in communicating a decision (for example if all interviews are conducted before decisions are communicated) the applicant should be notified. Communications with applicants following an interview should be coordinated by the Admissions Office.

Colleges should ensure that the formal records of the interview are collated and securely stored. A copy of these records should also be made available to the Admissions Office. These records should then be destroyed in accordance with the timelines laid down by the Data Protection Act.


Feedback on any interview is available to all candidates and any interview records compiled are subject to the Data Protection Act. Any written notes of the interview can be requested by applicants following an interview. It is important that care is taken in the wording of such notes.

Requests for feedback should be made in writing by the applicant to the Admissions Office.

For more information, please see our Feedback policy.

Policy approval and updates

This policy was approved by the University of Exeter Admissions Widening Participation and Policy Group, May 2012.

The University may be required to amend any of the above recommendations in line with new legislation and good practice.