May 2, 2011 by Nick Velleman
Every year William and Mary opens the doors of its admission office to rising seniors in high school who wish to interview with current William and Mary students. This past summer I was one of those students fortunate enough to interview with nearly 200 prospective students as part of their application process to William and Mary.
I met so many different people. I met a student who was displaced by Hurricane Katrina. I met a student who could figure out in his head the perfect square of any number from 1-1000. I met another student who started an annual concert series for blues musicians in her little town in North Carolina. I met a girl with cerebral palsy who started her own blog and through it was able to meet her favorite feminist activist and personal hero. The list goes on and on…
But don’t get me wrong, if you’re going to interview you don’t need some grandiose story about how you disproved E=mc2, or stopped a stampede of bulls from ravaging a little village in Brazil in order to be successful (though if you do have stories like this, don’t be shy about sharing them).
Here are a few things to keep in mind when interviewing:
-One kid said to me in an interview “you don’t care about my grades” and he was right. In the 20 minutes that we have in that room, relating to you in some way and getting to know what makes you tick as a person is much more important to me than trying to judge your scores. Everyone we interview is in National Honors Society, has awesome SAT scores, and a 4-point-something-ridiculous GPA. We know that there is more to your life than the classes you take, so relax, be yourself and share that with us.
-Have questions prepared for the interviewer. This shows us that you are interested in our school. Also, it allows the interview to become an exchange as opposed to an interrogation. When I ask someone if they have any questions and they just say “no” and leave, it feels like some sort of twisted academic one-night-stand.
-There is no single formula that is guaranteed to get you into a school, so stop acting like you know it.
-One kid asked me to rate the girls on campus on a scale of 1-10. Don’t do that.
Finally, remember that interviews at William and Mary can’t make or break an application. So instead, think of it as an opportunity to meet a current student and to see if W&M is a school you’d like to attend. Relax, get to know them, and enjoy some good conversation. Good luck!