August 11, 2011 by Michael Vereb
This summer has been a learning one for me here at the Admission Office. I’ve gotten to glimpse inside the admissions process and see all that goes into creating each incoming class at the College. More directly, I’ve been an interviewer for rising seniors like you! Being a student, and thus having no direct involvement in your actual selection, I can’t talk with any authority on “The Check-list” of things you need to get into William and Mary (in fact, W&M’s holistic approach to admissions means that even the Deans are not able to do that!). What I can do, however, is talk to you about talking to me. Here’s some tips for how to present yourself well when coming for the interview.
It’s important to know when you come to interview here that you are indeed talking to a student. I’m your advocate, not your adversary. I can’t tell you to not worry and then expect it to happen, but that’s what I want. I want to have a conversation with you- to hash out what it is that makes you tick, what you’re passionate about, where your motivations lie.
Before you come to the interview I would recommend that you look at yourself, what you do, and why you do it. When we interview multiple students a day, they can string together…it’s up to you to prevent that. Evaluate yourself and find where you stand out. What are you doing that exceeds the expected responsibilities of your groups? How are you creating community? Helping others? Learning?
One of my favorite questions to ask earns that distinguished title because it is so relevant to me. You and I share something: we have one year left at our respective schools. I ask everyone person I interview what they want to do to get the most out of their senior year and then what kind of legacy they want to leave behind. This question is helpful for me in finding what you care about and want to do in the future but I ask it mostly for you. When I ask this question of myself I can evaluate ways to be intentional about my actions this year. If you’ve never thought about that I want the interview to be an opportunity for you to really evaluate yourself and your upcoming year. I really want to hear about you when we interview so, in fear of getting a wave of responses like mine, I’m not going to fill you in on the legacy I want to leave here. I’ll be happy to answer though if you ask when we’re through talking.
The people I’m most proud to call my classmates are ones that look at the requirements for their role or group and then exceed them. They jump at opportunities to help, to serve, to experience new things. They are intelligent, really intelligent, and bring unique contributions to classroom and dining hall discussions alike. How do you see yourself doing those things? Think about it, and then come visit me! I look forward to meeting you.