Interviews and Recommendations
Interviews. I cannot stress how important it is to practice interviewing if you are poor at public speaking or uncomfortable about being cheerful and outgoing. Also, you need to research your college thoroughly before you go to an interview and plan out some thoughtful questions that you can ask your interviewer when they ask “So do you have any questions for me”. If you can click with your interviewer and spend 3+ hours talking about something other than yourself, them, or the college, then you know that they will write you a really good recommendation to the college. Otherwise, write this off as a nutcase check – don’t do anything stupid to screw your chances over. The interviews also don’t make that much of a difference; it’s more of a way for the college to create a more personal connection with strong applicants and increase their yields. I did interviews for UChicago and of the people that I recommended strongly, none of them got in.
Teacher recommendations. Get ones from teachers who know you and write well. You really have no control over this and I doubt it matters unless they write negative things about you. Most of the time they will be generic and are simply used as a nutcase check.