I'll give you my own experience, but living in Canada it may be different, I don't really know. We no longer offer college diplomas for nursing, only university degrees, but most colleges are affliliated with a uni so many students still attend there. When I applied there were some schools
that just looked at grades, others that required an interview or a written test to get in. In my opinion, an interview doesn't tell anybody anything about you except how you look. People can easily BS their way through an interview. Unfortunately, you often don't know (and your profs don't either) whether nursing is right for you until after you do a couple of rotations in the hospital. I know people that are very book smart but will make horrible nurses. On the other hand I know people who aren't so book smart but are interested and will make great nurses...as far as I'm concerned, its not the smarts, its the drive to get there.
As for the schmoozing...would you really want to attend a school where you have to brown-nose your way into the program? It doesn't say much about the school and even less about the program. Just a thought.