As most college-bound families know, the college admissions process is complex. From writing essays to chasing down recommendation letters, there is a lot for an applicant to keep track of. And for selective schools, you might want to consider adding one more thing to that list: the college interview.

Scheduling a college interview and making a good impression is a great way to differentiate yourself from other applicants. While very few colleges actually require their candidates to be interviewed, many strongly suggest taking advantage of the option. As far as how important it is, that really depends on the selectivity of the school and program. For institutions or specialized programs that only admit a very small percentage of their applicants, anything you can do to give yourself an edge is a good idea.

Here are some of the reasons you should consider scheduling a college interview.

Demonstrate your interest in the school

Making the effort to visit the campus and sit for an interview does not go unnoticed by the admissions department. It’s another way to indicate to an institution that you are not only being proactive and serious about your college search, but that you also consider their school a strong possibility and good fit. Your passion for the school may be apparent in person, and that can only help you.

Ask questions

The college interview is a two-way street, making it a good opportunity to get the inside scoop about aspects of the institution that interest you. Be mindful that admissions officers or other interviewers pay close attention to the questions you ask. Take that as a chance to show them that you’ve done your research and that you’ve spent the time thinking about your future. Don’t waste the opportunity with throwaway questions answered on the school’s website. Your goal should be to ask in-depth questions about internship opportunities, special on-campus events and what sets the college apart from other schools you’re considering.

Make yourself more “real” to them

You can share more details about who you are during an admissions interview than in a 500-word essay. If you are passionate about a particular field of study, possess a unique talent or have a personal experience worth sharing, this is the perfect time to talk about it. Anything that reveals who you are beyond your application packet — that tells a story of why you’d be a great fit for that specific school — has the potential to make an impression on the interviewer that can help sway a decision your way.

Whether you decide to interview or not shouldn’t technically make or break your application. But, if you wow your interviewer or offer them a memorable detail about you, it can give you an advantage over a similar applicant who they haven’t met in person.