The other thing about asking questions is that when I talk to students to set up the interview, I tell them that this is their opportunity to ask me questions, especially about things not on the website. So, I give them a really big hint that I will devote part of the interview to answering their questions.
Off the top of my head, I can't think of anything I've been asked in all my years of interviewing that was "impressive." I always think a good question is one that also reveals something about you. Like -- "I really enjoy doing research with my AP bio teacher on xx, what are opportunities for research like at Brown?" or "I started a composting program at my high school, what is Brown's record in sustainability?"
I also like it when students ask about dorm life and social life.
On another topic: I noticed on another thread that students seem to prefer getting an email to set up interviews. The only time I sent an email was to the student who had not listed his phone number. In my opinion, the interview is a conversation, and it begins with my phone call.
I agree with fireandrain about calls-- I've waited to contact a couple of students because I want to have time to sit down on the phone, even if it's just a couple of minutes, in the right frame of mind. I would never use email for the first contact.
I just received an email requesting an interview! This helped calm my nerves a bit, thank you so much!!
Only problem is, I'm so nervous that I don't know how to properly respond to the email..do I call her Ms. ___ if I know she's older than me? Or just respond back using her first name? I'm from a traditional Asian family so every time one of these situations come up I automatically think about respect issues.. I'm sure it doesn't matter I'm just being paranoid..but still any help would be greatly appreciated!
It can only be done by a moderator. That Columbus Day thread was started by a mod upset/shocked by the decision and stickies before anyone posted in it, while helpful perennial threads are ignored because the mods don't come to the Brown forum often.
Hey everyone, I have my Brown interview tommorow, but so far most of my interviews have been around the 30 minute range. I wanted to talk more and had quite a few questions, but many of my interviewers lead busy lives (or at least it appeared that way), and kept their responses brief and pretty closed ended.
I'm not the best conversationalist, because I tend to overanalyze things and sort of trap myself into situations where I can only confirm what the interviewer is saying and not really introduce a two-sided casual debate. I am not overly zelous or exuberant either (I guess this is just a temperment thing) and I'm worried that this may give the impression that I am not completely interested. I am very knowledgeable about current events, international affairs, politics, but so far of the 4 interviews I had, everything was pretty shallow and I couldn't discern how well I did.
I want my Brown interview to go differently, because Brown is my #1 choice (I didn't apply ED for financial reasons), but what can I do or ask to make sure this interview stands out? In terms of asking questions about the college, most of the information I'm looking for can be found online somewhere, so I don't want to make it look as if I didn't read up on the school. Asking about life on campus is a good open ended question I guess, but my interviewer is an older fellow who can't possibly know how contemporary life is compared to when he went to school 50 years ago.
That older guy might have children or grandchildren who went to Brown. So don't assume. (Although it is a good assumption.)
Here's a thought -- it might not work, depending on the interviewer.
The first thing the guy might ask is "why did you apply to Brown." If he doesn't ask it -- then take charge of the interview and say, "I'd like to tell you why Brown is my first choice." And then answer it in depth. Talk about all the classes you will take because of the open curriculum. Describe what type of academic topics and research and current events get you really excited. Describe one or two of the clubs/activities you plan on joining, because you've enjoyed them in HS.
If you're not a good conversationalist, and the interview doesn't result in a "two-sided casual debate," that's OK. What you really want is to give this guy enough information to fill out the form.
He's going to have to explain why you want to go to Brown and if your reason is thoughtful and genuine; he has to describe your "intellectual qualities" and say whether you'll take advantage of the curriculum; and he has to write about the interests, talents or experiences that you would bring to the Brown community.
A tough situation for me is when I start writing, and realize that I have nothing to say about this candidate's approach to learning. Maybe I don't ask the right questions, but for some students I don't get a window on this. So think about a research project or experiment or book or something that you dug into and why that meant so much to you.
If this helps you relax a bit, know that Brown interviews are not weighted heavily in the admissions process. Though my Brown interview went poorly, I still got in ED. Also, rather than writing a general report, interviewers respond to these questions: BAA - Volunteer & Give: BASC Interview Contact Form
This being said, I think that my interview could have gone better if I didn't have an agenda. As a physical sciences person, I wanted to show more of my humanities side in the interview. Problem was, they paired interviewers with interviewees by concentration. While I could have had an excellent conversation with my interviewer about Sciences I instead chose to talk about humanities and the conversation felt awkward. If your interviewer doesn't give you any chance to really talk about yourself and just asks "What questions do you have for me?" (This happened at my friend's Yale interview) then you should try to shift the focus. Otherwise, I'd say just let the interview flow. I had no agenda at my WashU interview and it felt more natural.
Problem was, they paired interviewers with interviewees by concentration.
This does not happen all the time. It depends on the area chair how students are matched with interviewers. Some may do it by academic interest. Some assign one interviewer to a high school.
vpsuser, you may have thought your interview went badly, but perhaps it didn't in the eyes of the interviewer.
have you had people that gave horrendous interviews with you and still got in?
That has never happened to me. But I've had friends tell me that this has happened to them, and it's been very disillusioning for them. In these instances, the students had strong hooks -- like recruited athlete.