I really need some help for the interview

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Discus: Individual Schools: US News Top 25: Massachusetts Institute of Technology: 2004 Archive: I really need some help for the interview
By Amagetdon01 (Amagetdon01) on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 11:31 pm: Edit

Hello. I'm a aspiring MIT student, and I have a interview this upcoming saturday. But I have no idea what to say! I'm not even fluent in English, so this interview is making me really nervous. So I was wondering if u guys who already had the interview could tell me what kind of questions you were asked, and some tips, the do's and don'ts, so I can at least prepare what to say.
I'm open to any suggestions. Thanks!

By Over30 (Over30) on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 01:32 am: Edit

I copied this from a November post by Northstarmom. Hope it helps.

The most important thing that you can do to prep for an interview is to take the time to carefully read the college's web page. Make a list of questions that you have as a result of doing this.

I interview for my college, and few things annoy me more than students who ask me very basic questions about the college. Virtually all students whom I have interviewed, have clearly not done any research on my college (which is one of the country's most well known ones).

One thing that all interviewers will want to know is why you're applying to the college. A thoughtful reason is what they hope to hear not something vague such as, "People told me it's a good college."

Interviewers also hope to hear that you have questions indicating some kind of intellectual interest in the colllege.

"What are the dorm rooms like?" isn't an example of a good question to ask. And someone did ask me that question! Such questions also are typically answered on college's web pages.

An example of a good question to ask would be, "I was very excited when I read on the web page that Prof. XXXX is an expert in XXX, a subject that I'm interested in. Do you think that there's any chance that I could get to do research with him or with another professor who is an expert in that field?"

I am not aware of disqualifying questions.

Things, though, that a candidate could do that would disqualify them would be telling a lie in an interview such as falsely claiming to be on the board of a local organization that by chance the interviewer happens to be on the board of.

Insulting the interviewer, having horrible hygiene (An adcom told me that she has done interviews with some students who came in wrinkled clothes and hadn't even bothered to comb their hair!), saying profanity, racist, homophobic or sexist things all would be things that could rule out a student's acceptance.

Typically interviews aren't that important except as tipping factors in that if they are extremely good or extremely bad, the interview can make or break a candidate's chances.

And always send a hand written thank-you note, letting the interviewer know what you enjoyed about the interview, and emphasising how the interview has made you even more enthusiastic about attending the college. Send the thank-you ASAP so that the interviewer gets it before writing their interview report. And do make sure to use proper grammar and spelling.

When you go to the interview, it is a good idea to bring a resume and copies of any materials that you think would be helpful for the interviewer to see. This could be, for instance, newspaper articles about you or a well written term paper.

Even if the interviewer doesn't spend lots of time looking the materials over, having the materials there will help you remember important points to highlight about your background. Interviews aren't modesty tests. Just as is the case with job interviews, college interviews are times for you to sell yourself.

Also, in the same thread was this post by Dadx:

You are the one who gets to ask the disqualifying questions....the ones which are answered clearly on the university's website and printed materials. One wont hurt you, but if you ask enough of them, it will become clear that you have done no preparation for the interview, and haven't bothered to read what the school has written for you.

I found during info sessions I attended that 99% of the questions asked (mostly by parents) were answered on the school's website. Actually, I cant think of a single one that wasnt. Spend a little time thinking about this stuff.

Amagetdon01 - this is from me. If you are nervous about your English ability, write down some questions you want to ask and questions the interviewer might ask you (such as why do you want to attend MIT, what do you want to study and why, etc). Then ask a family member or friend to practice with you. They should also ask you some questions you didn't make up, just to practice what the real interview will be like. It's the same reason you take a practice SAT - being familiar with this process should help you overcome some of your nervousness.

Northstarmom and Dadx - hope this was okay. You gave good advice.

By Foreignboy (Foreignboy) on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 12:24 pm: Edit

ooh.. that probably sums it up..

"People tell me it's a good college, that's why I'm applying"
THIS IS THE WORST THING YOU COULD POSSIBLY SAY, except of course, something like 'huh, MIT? isn't this the Yale interview?'

firm handshake, look the interviewer straight in the eye.. dont be self conscious about english fluency, it doesn't matter

By Soundasleep (Soundasleep) on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 02:51 pm: Edit

but how many ppl actually know of prof XXX from this college. let's be realistic. that's gonna be a few percentage. i think the most cliched answer is correct: be yourself... but Be Prepared. my ec asked me to elaborate on my extracurriculars. then she got to talking to me a lot about the mit environment. i didn't hafta ask stupid questions about oh wow, i heard that they just did [insert really smart event here] at mit, blah blah blah. i was really interested in what she was saying. be sure of yourself. they ask you questions about yourself. how are you, so know thyself. good luck!

By Magerturbyd (Magerturbyd) on Sunday, January 18, 2004 - 01:28 pm: Edit

Thanks for the info on the interview - that helped calm me down, even though looking through people's profiles gave me an inferiority complex...

So what does it mean if your interviewer says "I think I have enough information to write a good recommendation."? Does that mean he/she will recommend me, or that it's enough info to write the recommendation well?

Hopefully I'm just being cynical...

By Vsage3 (Vsage3) on Sunday, January 18, 2004 - 01:38 pm: Edit

The second part of that or doesn't make much sense to me, so it would be the first one ^_^. That was a pretty straightforward thing for your interviewer to say: mine just said "spend a lot of time on your essays and good luck", which I took as a bad sign. What your interviewer said was probably a good sign though

By Quakerboy2 (Quakerboy2) on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 02:06 pm: Edit

I know it seems counterintuitive, but if you ask a lot of interesting questions, then your interview will go a lot better. The more it resembles a conversation and less of a monologue, the better it will feel. I did about half the talking in my interview because I asked my EC everything I wanted to know about MIT (and a few other random questions).

Also, make friends with your interviewer. Keep it as relaxed as you can without being disrespectful. Mine was pretty low-key, so I basically ended up on a first-name basis with a professer from a local university for 2 hours. We talked about more than just college too, so that probably helps. For example, we ended up having just about the same taste in music. It is possible to impress them just by talking about what you've done, but hopefully, you already wrote that on you application.

If your EC likes you, it doesn't particularly matter what you've done. The interview report will turn out well for you.

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