College Interview Season

One of the things I do volunteer-wise is do Alumni Interviews for my alma mater.  I love this, primarily because it lets me see what kind of kids our education system is producing, as well as giving me some insights to what it’s like applying to college these days.  While my oldest is only in 7th grade, I look at this as preview of coming attractions.

Over the past few years, I’ve interviewed around 20 high school seniors.  Some of these kids have done so much and are so impressive, I would buy stock in their IPO immediately.  Others are average, and a few are applying because they have nothing better to do- it’s a bell-shaped curve.

I look at this process as a chance to write an additional recommendation for these kids, not to pile on stress or ask screw-ball questions.  Sometimes I try to get them to see the wider world.  One kid last year wanted to go into broadcast journalism, and I couldn’t help but recommend trying a blog or podcast to get some experience, since broadcast journalism will be WAY different by the time this kid graduates than it is today.

So my primary question to all of you is:  What do you wish an interviewer would ask you?

Some kids are naturally forthcoming, others have a very hard time talking about themselves.  Some want to hand me a resume- yet I have no information about their grades or activities in advance of this process- just which school within the University they are applying to and their phone number and email address.   I am less interested about their awards, as I am in what they are most proud of, how they overcome adversity; how they will adjust to college in a city over life in the ‘burbs; How do they see the future changing.

Having an interview show certainly helps me to get them to open up and talk freely.  But are there core questions, things you would want to know about someone, before recommending them?  What do you think?

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