Much has changed in the three short years between our two college-application journeys. One of the newest trends: interviews by Skype. Great schools such as Wake Forest, Penn, Pitzer and Bard now offer applicants the chance to dress nicely from the waist up and have a chat with an alum or admissions official via a Macbook Air.
Parents of Skypers on College Confidential suggest conducting the interview in front of a "neutral, uncluttered background," but one girl we knew took the opportunity to the next level by prepping her room. She removed her Marilyn Manson poster, strategically placed her bassoon and mandolin on a shelf behind her and stacked such works as The Portable Nietzsche and Absalom, Absalom! on her desk.
Sure enough, the admissions rep asked about the instruments, and, before they ended their call, the girl had a chance to impress her Skype-mate with a few bars from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.
This trend has inspired the Neurotic Parent Institute to offer a new service: Skype Staging, which will include wardrobe consultation and bong removal. For desperate applicants we will offer the upgraded Gold Package, featuring tips from a hair stylist, lighting director and sound guy. We will also provide the expertise of an IT expert, who will coach nervous interviewees in how to cause glitches and temporary breakdowns, such as freezing their screens, cutting off their callers, and even creating power outages when asked difficult questions.