Cross-dress for style and uniqueness points.. But really, I would wear business casual. Khaki pants with a long sleeved collared shirt and maybe a tie. Don't wear tennis shoes because that wouldn't go with the outfit. I took the middle ground because that's what I was comfortable with. I would feel silly dressed up in full formal attire or I would feel disrespectful if I came in with athletic shorts and a worn t. I haven't had my CHicago interview yet, but have had a princeton alumni interview where the setting was very casual. As far as conversation went, my interviewer seemed to just ask whatever was on his mind to keep the conversation going, and I would add my opinions and thoughts, and then he would say something based off what I said.
Wear something casual and comfortable. I went with khaki pants and a green sweater.
If your interview's taking place in a cafe (Starbucks, haha), DON'T order something to eat. That's just ... awkward (when your mouth is full and they finish asking their question ... yeah.) Ordering a drink is fine; gives you something to do with your hands and if your throat starts itching, take a sip.
The interview itself is more of a conversation than an interrogation. Don't be nervous. During my interview, she started off with a generic "tell me about yourself" question and we ended up talking about fencing, Science Olympiad, forensics, anthropology (I was lucky; she had a PhD in anthro and anthro's my prospective major), books, writing, coffee, writing, culture, writing, fantasy and sci-fi, writing, etc. And then at the end of the interview, I gave her some book recommendations (since we were in Barnes and Nobles). Not as intellectual as some other interviews around here, I'm sure.
Also: Firm handshake. :P
And seriously, don't be nervous. I'm shy and socially awkward and my brain shuts down when my mouth opens, and I was completely fine (and I got in EA). Think of the interview as a way for you to get to know more about UChicago; I do suggest you prepare some questions, though.
Last edited by neltharion; 12-30-2008 at 09:04 PM.
Oh yeah, sorry I forgot to mention that. ^ poster is ABSOLUTELY right that you should prepare questions b/c they always ask if you have any questions. And if it is at starbucks or some cafe or something and you do order a drink, don't sip on it constantly, only when you feel like you are actually thirsty or else you give off the impression you are apprehensive. And don't laugh at everything the interviewer says. You want to have a lot of confidence going in so make sure you have posture as well. Look at the interviewer not at your shoes. Maybe work out beforehand to get that body glow and ripped feeling when you go in lol
I had an alumni interview in early October (and got in EA). For me, at least, it was very casual--much more of a conversation than an interrogation, as aforementioned in this thread. I wore nice slack-like pants and a nice long-sleeve pants, as well as a good pair of non-sneaker shoes. My interviewer just started out asking some really basic questions, and we talked about some very random things--theoretical vs. practical learning, whether or not certain musical instruments have stereotypical types of players, the benefits of listening to world music, etc. Like with so much else in the Chicago application process, the interview is about getting to know how you think and view the world, what sorts of things you like to talk about.
We met at a local Panera, and the first thing we talked about was how much I hate coffee, since it was about 10 in the morning and while my interviewer ordered a coffee like a normal person, I was drinking a Jones soda. This was an excellent starting point, since I got to show some mildly irreverent (but still reasonable and respectful) humor about my choice of drink. :>)
I had my interview on campus during my official visit. It was very casual. We just talked about my high school career, sports, athletic recruiting in division one, where I was looking at besides Chicago (I replied enthusiastically NO WHERE!) But please prepare some questions. I did not and it was a little awkward as I groped my mind for questions. They threw a couple odd-ball questions at me like "If this pen was a magical wand what would you change about yourself" and than please be prepared for this one because I wasn't: at the end of the interview he asked me if the whole admission process disappeared and the university made its decision on solely 10 words or less, what would your ten words be? Needless to say, I just fumbled out 10 random words. But I was accepted EA so ya!
One thing I always did for interviews that took place in coffee shops was to ask the interviewer if they'd like anything, and to order/pay for it for them. Nine out of ten times they will say no or will insist on paying for their own, but it's a nice gesture, costs at most $4, and is a thoughtful way to recognize that the person is taking time out of his/her day to meet with you and help you get in to the school. It's definitely not a requirement by any means, but it shows thought and respect for the time they are spending with you, and gives them something to sip on while you're sipping yours.
Also, send a thank-you note afterward, or at least a quick e-mail thanking them for their time. Nothing crazy, nothing desparate, nothing that makes it seem like they are your last hope for your admission and ohmygod if they don't write you a good report you are going to DIE, but something along the lines of "Hey, really enjoyed meeting with you, thanks for taking the time to do my interview". Again, it shows respect and, if done properly, will hopefully leave the interviewer feeling good about having taken the time to meet with you.
And, whatever you do, don't wear the school's t-shirt to the interview.
OK, so my interview was not really like others that were described. I think I asked more questions than my interviewer, lol. It only lasted about 35 mins and we never really deeply discussed anything, maybe it was just not the same type of person. So, I don't know if this went well or not.
Actually, it surprised me how much leeway i was given in terms of directing the conversation. For example, we must have spent at least the first 10 minutes on the varying uses of duct tape (i made a duct tape jacket for my friend, which he wore to prom--thank god i had a pic on my phone). It was pretty casual. The best advice i can give you (besides stop freakin) is to come up with some unique angle and present yourself from that perspective. That's not to say just focus on one aspect of your personality, but DO show him/her that you weren't just bs-ing a totally rad essay and that you ARE weird in a dorky cool way. I interviewed on campus and i wore jeans, small heels, and a nice blouse. Now, this might have been overkill, but i went to an Ace hardware store earlier in the day so i could make some duct tape roses for my interviewer. Seriously, i thought that was pretty stupid after i thought about it afterwards. She seemed to like it though, and i was accepted EA. So i guess, in any case, just go for it! (though minimize the sucking up)
I would suggest mentioning clubs that you're really passionate about. Don't mention anything that you're involved in, but don't care about, because the things that you list will probably be the things that he/she asks you about.
If you have an idea of what you would like to study, put that down, and even possibly a future career goal if you have one.
besides that, the normal stuff. community service hours. jobs. gpa and SAT/ACT.