I’m doing alumni interviews this year and I’ve spoken to other alumni about their interview process. These are some red flags that I’ve seen or heard about. You can bet that the alum wrote about this in their feedback, which the admission committee definitely looks at.
- You don’t know why you’re interested in [your activities, the school, what you want to major in]. If you can’t explain why you liked robotics club even though you were president, it makes me wonder if you actually cared or just did it for your resume. If you can’t explain why you want to come to HYPSM, then why did you bother applying? Obviously, “just for the prestige” is not an impressive answer.
- Your parents are hovering. It’s awkward for me, and it makes me wonder if you’re ready to be independent in college. They shouldn’t be holding your resume for you or, worse, participating in the interview. Just tell them to wait in the car. If they don’t agree, show them this post.
- You don’t talk much. Perhaps you’re shy or nervous in a high-pressure situation. I understand. Still, the interview is supposed to tell me about your interests and personality. You don’t have to talk at length, but if carrying on a conversation is like pulling teeth, it doesn’t bode well for the many discussion-based classes in college. More immediately, it doesn’t give me much material to write about in my feedback to admissions.
- You don’t ask questions about the school. If you don’t have any questions, can I really believe that you’re interested in attending? There’s no way that you already know everything you need to; plenty of things aren’t publicized online. At least ask me how the dining hall food is (answer: not that great, but survivable). But, this should be a genuine question about something that you wonder – we can tell if it’s a canned or forced question.
Let me know what you think of these red flags in these comments. Were you about to accidentally do any of these things? Are your parents going to agree to wait in the car?