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Blue and Gold interview

USNAathlete2013USNAathlete2013 Registered User Posts: 29 New Member
edited September 2009 in Naval Academy - Annapolis
My Blue and Gold officer is coming to my house tomorrow ofr my interview. Should I get dressed up? And what kind of questions do they ask you? Is it like a job interview?
Post edited by USNAathlete2013 on

Replies to: Blue and Gold interview

  • USNA1985USNA1985 Registered User Posts: 604 Member
    Views on dress vary but I would at a minimum wear a collared shirt (or equivalent), pressed trousers or a skirt, and close-toed shoes. I've had candidates wear everything from a suit to sports clothes w/o socks. The latter does not make a good impression. I'm not sure you need to wear a suit, but the female equivalent of a coat & tie is never going to hurt you.

    There is no set list of questions for BGOs to ask (although there are topics we must cover) and interviews are as varied as the BGOs. Generally, we try to make sure you have some understanding of what a SA/USNA is about. Other topics are plebe summer, the honor system, limited majors, career options, ROTC interest, etc. I often ask candidates about their school activities, sports, and other interests. May talk about NASS if they attended.

    Many people find the "interview" to be an enjoyable discussion. Some view it solely as another hurdle in the process. Your view will likely depend on how well you and your BGO get along.

    One thing you can/should do to prepare is make sure you've read about USNA. If you haven't read the catalog (available at usna.edu), do so. You don't need to be an expert, but asking questions such as "Do we have to do any sports while we're there?" or "Can I major in criminal justice?" shows a certain level of ignorance.

    That said, don't be afraid to ask your BGO questions. I'm always amazed by candidates who have NO questions about anything. There really are very few stupid questions and, if you're thinking about committing at least the next 9 years of your life to the military, you probably have good ones.
  • navy2010navy2010 Registered User Posts: 3,607 Senior Member
    Comparing it to a job interview is close enough.

    Dress: "conservative" should be the guiding word. Have your mom help you to select something. Since the interview is in your home, a neat pair of slacks- a nice shirt (no tank tops, halters, etc)- neat shoes (no flip flops)- conservative hair and makeup- hold off on the perfume- should be fine.

    Welcome the BGO to your home. Introduce them to your parents if they have not already met. Start off with an icebreaker of your own..."how was your trip here- did you have any trouble finding us?" is an easy one. Lead the way to where you will sit. "I thought we could sit in here...(as you are leading).... it will be quite for us to talk." (note: You are leading the way, not your parents!) If it is a nice day, you can even sit outside.... consider it "neutral territory." Just make it a place where it can be quite and out of the mainstream of the other activities in the house. Perhaps you can arrange for your mom to bring in some ice tea or lemonaide (consider it secondary, optional and conditional, but it tends to break the ice a bit). No cookies- keep it low-key. (Parents, I would not "ask" the BGO "if they would like".... they are too polite and will decline... so just bring in 2 glasses all filled, leave them there, and take your leave. Keep it simple).

    If you do some researching on this site, you may find a list of the questions that typically get asked.... but IMO, that would be a mistake. There is really no "right" or "wrong" answers- so rehearsing them ahead of time really takes the spontanenity out of your responses and dulls it down. What you want to do is give your BGO "your" answers- expressed as clearly as you can.

    Think about "why"- why you want to attend USNA, what brought you here, what you hope to get out of it. Be able to articulate your reasons, your goals, and the attributes you have to be successful in that environment.

    "adversity"- what have been the challenges in your life to date? How did you handle it? What did you learn?

    "stress"- how have you learned to set priorities? How have you managed your time when faced with competeting interests?

    "leadership"- how have you demonstrated leadership in your life? Is there an occassion you can speak to about how you led others? What did you do? How did you do it? What did you accomplish?

    "honor concept"- have you read it? Do you understand it? How would you feel about having to turn in a peer for breaking a rule that you don't agree with in the first place? Have you ever been in a situation where you have had to "stand alone" for what was "right?" Speak to it.

    Each BGO will approach this differently, but at the heart of it, they are all trying to ascertain whether you have the "right stuff" to make it in a very stressful environment. They are looking not necessarily at the answers but at how you handle yourself. Are you sitting with your feet flat on the floor, or are you figiting all over the place? Are you making good eye contact, or searching the floor for what to say? Are you speaking with confidence, or are your answers full of "you know's" and "whatever's?" Is this "your" goal, or something your parents want for you? If you get posed a question for which you have no clue as to what the answer is, are you poised enough to say "I don't know much about that...?" How are you responding to the pressure of this interview?

    It's easy to say "stay relaxed," but that is the goal. Be honest with your answers. If your answer starts to get a bit long-winded (mine tend to drift that way), ask your BGO "shall I continue?" Likewise, if the response is short (a man of few words!) then ask "did I answer your question?"

    Last- prepare.
    Did you read the catalogue?
    The mission?
    The honor concept?
    Do you have an idea of the majors offered?
    The service selection afterwards?
    You don't have to make a choice one way or the other today- but it's good to have an understanding of what is offered, and what is not.

    have a question or two of your own to ask.
    Remember, the BGO is there to make sure you are a "good fit" for the academy- this is your opportunity to make sure the academy is a "good fit" for you. Now is the time to ask any questions for which you have been unable to find an answer to in doing your homework. The BGO's love the academy- and will gladly share their insights if asked. If you are unable to come up with a question of your own, then use this as a failsafe... "what single attribute is most important to be successful at the academy?"....
    hopefully you will have lots of great questions of your own!

    Final suggestions.
    Firm handshake. Practice. No one likes a wimpy handshake- and for most kids, shaking hands is still a bit awkward- and for girls especially, not something that comes particuarly natural (we tend to hug!) So practice. Go and shake your mom's hand. Your Dad's. Your friends. Their parents. Anyone you can find- start shaking! Absolutely no hugs!!!! From anyone!!!

    Eye contact. You don't want to "Stare anyone down," but making eye contact- being able to look directly at another- is most important. Practice tonight at dinner. It does not have to be continuous- meaning, it is ok to divert your eyes away now and again- as long as you keep coming back to that direct contact.

    Posture. It does matter. Sit up straight. Feet on the ground. Hands in your lap. You don't want to be a piece of wood- you can move around- but don't figit, nail bite, sit on your hands, cross your legs (unless at the ankles) etc.

    Humor. A good sense of humor is good. Knowing where and how to use it is key. Use it sparingly, and only if it comes natural. And by humor, I am not taking about telling a joke. But being able to smile- brightly- brings a twinkle to your eye and lights up your face, so be sure to brush those pearly whites and smile!

    Coffee, sodas, red bull---- don't. Nothing to make you any more nervous than you need to be, or any more twitchy. Eat before the interview so you are not sitting there with a lot of grumbling in your stomach.

    Tell your story. Sell it. Mention your accomplishments- do not overinflate, and do not under-recognize. Humility is a good thing in a leader, but right now you want to tackfully let your BGO know what you have to bring to the table. Motivation, determination, honesty, leadership- all desirable attributes.

    As much as you want to be a fly on the wall, this is not the time. Say your "hello's," get your candidate and the BGO settled, drop off some ice tea or lemonaide, and then graciously leave. " I will leave you now so you can chat" is just fine. Go away and busy yourself with something else. Give it 40-50 or so minutes. Ask your son/daughter to give you a call when they get a sense that the interview is coming to an end. Then join back in. That would be a good time to ask any questions that you may have of the BGO and the application process.

    Having said that, some BGO's welcome parents to "stay." My advice is that even if "offered," as much as it kills you, DON'T. Your son/daughter will be much more talkative without you in the room, and perhaps a bit more honest. So leave. Graciously, leave. You can join back in later. Give it the 40 minutes... 50 minutes... then you can always come back in and say "How are things going?"

    Best of luck!
  • SemperExcelsiusSemperExcelsius Registered User Posts: 238 Junior Member
    I have a question that is somewhat related. I apologize in advance if this question sounds dense but here goes: As I've been filling out apps and starting essays and whatnot, many of them ask about "adversity" and "challenges that you have faced in your life" and others of the sort. What exactly constitutes "adversity?" I realize that its more an argument on definition but can someone give me a basic idea?

  • navy2010navy2010 Registered User Posts: 3,607 Senior Member
    Adversity: difficulty or misfortune.

    You can think of it in several ways.

    Certainly a loss of a parent is an adversity.
    A challenge faced as a minority....(this had many applications other than ethnic background)....
    standing alone for a principle when the majority disagrees with your position...

    A challenge that seems insurmountable at the time, yet you addressed it- successfully or even not so successfully. The lessons learned.

    Anything that had you stand apart- take a different direction- corrected your course-

    Perhaps a course you struggled with in school- what you did about it- how you approached it.

    Challenges- at home, at play, on the athletic field. What was the challenge you faced- how did you approach it- what was the outcome in terms of what you learned- especially about yourself- in the process. Think about the biggest hurdle you faced and how you got over it.

    And it does not have to be a "success" story in the typical sense of the word. Perhaps it was a failure- and how you got past it to move forward, and again, what you learned from the experience.

    The only important thing is to speak from your own experience.... not what you think will make a good read.... but something you can speak first hand about.

    Hope that helps!
  • upatel23upatel23 Registered User Posts: 98 Junior Member
    youve got ur intervirw already....good luck
  • upatel23upatel23 Registered User Posts: 98 Junior Member
    did usnaathlete2013 get the medical alrady? how was it
  • xcpetersenxcpetersen Registered User Posts: 126 Junior Member
    Good luck at your interview!!! thanks USNA1985 and navy2010, i will be sure to copy this down for later use!!
  • USNAathlete2013USNAathlete2013 Registered User Posts: 29 New Member
    upatel23 i got my DODMERB stuff in the mail saturday and i made my appts today..they are at the end of july..ill let you know how they are!
  • USCGA2013USCGA2013 Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    Lucky. I have called my doctor and optomotrist every day since I got the Concorde packet, and they both have never been there. I have only gotten answering machines. I am starting to get worried.
  • zircon52zircon52 Registered User Posts: 28 New Member
    my son had the same question on adversity. He emailed his regional USNA contact (an Lt) that question, the reply (which I read) said the adversity question is a catch all, it does not mean you have to have had a parent die or grow up in a getto (although those examples may be good ones). The response was we are just trying to get to know who you are with that question high school kids have a lot of different backgrounds. Put in whatever you think the board needs to know about you. I think my son is going to use a situation in varsity sports that he overcame.

    good luck
  • USNA1985USNA1985 Registered User Posts: 604 Member

    Everyone has had some adversity in life. Although some would argue that certain experiences (loss of parent) may be more "adverse" than others (losing a big game), you can only deal with the experiences you've had and something that may seem adverse to one person may not seem adverse to another.

    This really isn't an invitation to write a sob story -- just think about some time in your life when things didn't go the way you wanted/expected, when you were called upon to do something difficult, when you suffered a setback, when you faced a challenge you at first felt was insurmountable, etc. And how did you deal with it? Maybe it opened up a new world to you. Maybe it started you working harder on something. Maybe you joined/started an organization to deal with it.

    Remember, it's not a trick question. It's not a "contest" to see who's adversity is the "worst." There is no right or wrong answer. As Navy2010 put quite well, it's simply something in your life that you had to deal with and how you dealt with it.
  • 2011USNAMom2011USNAMom Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
    When my son was asked the 'adversity' question in his BGO interview, he simply answered that, as a child of divorced parents, he had to deal with organizing all his stuff in two separate households (joint custody, equally shared).

    He described how he kept all his sports equipment for whatever he was playing that season in one duffel bag. Another duffel was for his work clothes and equipment. A backpack for school. A last duffel bag for non-duplicated clothes that needed to go between our homes.

    I think this was a no- B.S. answer, and the BGO had a big smile when he heard it.
  • grad/dadgrad/dad Registered User Posts: 187 Junior Member
    My experience with BGOs (many of my class mates fill this position) is that they are all different. However, one comment that was common to all was they did not want a robot answering questions. So, they tried to ensure their were somewhat off the wall. This enabled them to find out how the candidate thought on their feet; how they expressed themselves when they did not have a prepared answer; and what were their original thoughts.

    navy2010: I am always amazed by the knowledge who have about everything that is USNA. I sent you a Private e-mail.
  • JC2013JC2013 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Ok I have finished about 70% of my application. Now I have a question about the additional information page "Have you ever experienced any exceptional adversity that we should know about?" and "Have you had a unique life experience of which we should be aware?" are two questions I am having trouble with. Are these questions in my best interest to answer?

  • navy2010navy2010 Registered User Posts: 3,607 Senior Member
    navy2010: I am always amazed by the knowledge who have about everything that is USNA. I sent you a Private e-mail.

    Thanks!!! :o
    Well lets hope curiousity doesn't kill the cat!!! ;)
This discussion has been closed.