Help me prepare for nomination interviews!
November 7, 2009 5:40 AM   Subscribe

I'm applying for the Air Force Academy. I have interviews with my senators today, who will hopefully extend me a nomination. What can I do to make it the best experience possible?

What questions should I be prepared for? What should I wear? General interviewing skills I should know? Any other tips about the process that I should know?

posted by pyrom to Human Relations (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You should competently and thoroughly articulate your back-up plan in the event that you do not get into the academy after a nomination is extended. Three people from my high school got into academies. The one who didn't said it was because she told her Representative that she couldn't think of anywhere she was applying other than west point.
posted by parmanparman at 5:46 AM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Wear a business suit, subtle makeup and jewelry, shake hands, make eye contact, don't chew gum, not too much perfume. Good luck.
posted by fixedgear at 5:53 AM on November 7, 2009

Best answer: I interviewed with my representative for her nomination to the Air Force Academy. I received it.

I actually never saw her during the interview process: I walked into a meeting room, where there were three or four old white guys who asked me questions. They were exceptionally intelligent, and I was impressed by how quickly they could form questions that got right at what they wanted.

The questions were mostly about honor, service, why I want to go, etc., but don't think that you can spit out a "serve my country SIR" and be done with it. You should have an acute understanding of your own goals and how they align with the USAFA's.

I wore nice khakis and a nice shirt. I saw a couple of other applicants wearing ties, but I got the nomination, so hey.

Good luck!
posted by aaronbeekay at 6:26 AM on November 7, 2009

It's too late for me to offer advice about your interview but when I was active duty and teaching at the Academy, I also sat on the USAFA admissions board so if you get the nomination, I'd be happy to offer you some advice on the remaining application process and what to do to prepare yourself for your first few weeks. Good luck to you.
posted by notcomputersavvy06 at 3:02 PM on November 7, 2009

Also, my son's a grad so I'd be happy to answer any questions as well (He's class of 08 so he's relatively recent.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:16 PM on November 7, 2009

For future readers, be polite and friendly to all of their staff.
posted by kathrineg at 8:43 AM on November 8, 2009

Response by poster: I finished my first two interviews. I dressed in black dress pants, heels, and a black sweater. I put my hair up under the pretense that it would make me look more professional.

To my surprise, the interviews themselves were relatively laid back- my first took place in a small office room, I sat in a swivel office chair and an older woman and man (he mentioned he was a navy captain) sat across from me with an end table between them. They invited me in and we chatted for a bit about things only semi-related to the application process before the actual interview started. They were very friendly and seemed genuinely interested in my life and the activities I described to them. One thing I noticed is that they commented on my letters of recommendation- they asked specific questions about what people said in my letters and what I thought they meant. I'd received a letter from a retired member of the nomination review board, and they asked me how he was doing and how I liked him.

The second was a bit more formal, the interview was held in a courtroom which made the atmosphere slightly intimidating from the get-go. But it ended up being about as relaxed as the previous interview. Again, there was one woman and one man, both pilots, both friendly and both interested in what I had to say. They asked me questions from a sheet, and took notes on what looked like rubrics you'd use to score an essay. At the end, the woman told me that I reminded her of her daughter, who attended the Merchant Marine Academy, and talked for awhile about her experiences in becoming a pilot and going through the application process.

Both asked fairly similar questions, the ones I can recall being:
-How I decided I wanted to go to the Air Force Academy, why I wanted to go, and how much I knew about it
-What activities had the most impact on my high school career
-What leadership activities I participated in
-What my backup plan was in case I did not make it into the Academy
-Describe a situation where, as a leader, I needed to deal with someone in order to help them reach their potential or confront them on a mistake they made
-If I were to be given an order that was unquestionably immoral, whether or not I would follow it
-Where I see myself 5, 10, or 15 years after graduating
-What I hoped to have gained after graduating from the Academy
-How I would deal with the Academy experience

Overall I came out with a good feeling. They gave me a bit of feedback at the end, telling me some positives about my interview and wishing me luck. The best advice I can give to prospective applicants is to stay relaxed, but be confident and proud of what you have accomplished. Don't be afraid to boast about yourself when you need to. Good luck!
posted by pyrom at 6:00 PM on November 8, 2009

Let us know how it turns out!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:19 PM on November 8, 2009

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