to Parents and Candidates for the West Point Interview
The West Point interview
is an integral part of the application process. Much like the
Congressional nomination interview, it should be treated as an
important formal interview and one of the many hurdles you will
need to successfully clear before obtaining an appointment. You
are sending many verbal and non-verbal messages to the interviewers.
Although directed at the West Point application process, the following
is good advice for any school or job interview.
- Bring a copy of your resume
including data sheet, sports, clubs, activities, awards, letters,
offices, volunteer history, etc. Also bring a copy of your
transcripts. Having a copy for the interviewer will impress
them as to your organization and help them with the interview
and avoid the need to rely on your memory.
a note pad and pen to take notes, write answers to questions
and get contact information.
well (white shirt and tie with a jacket and slacks or suit works
for males; professional looking blouse and skirt or pants or
modest dress for females).
a firm handshake.
eye contact and face the person you are addressing.
- Be attentive when listening.
- Speak clearly. Do not
use slang. (Use “yes” instead of “yeah”.) Use proper English
and the use of “Yes Sir” and “Yes Ma’am” or “No Sir” and “No
Ma’am” is excellent advice and good practice as most interviewers
are formerly military (some are current military) and civilians
are impressed by the respect shown in an unexpected setting.
- Think about your answers
briefly and answer firmly and to the best of your ability.
Represent yourself honestly, not someone you think they are
- Be knowledgeable about
the process, and the prospectus and USMA website to demonstrate
that you are informing yourself about the opportunity. Compile
questions in advance that you may have about the process, the
school or cadet life.
- Ask yourself questions
such as "Why do I want to attend West Point?"; "What
do I expect from a West Point education?"; "Is it
my first choice?"; "Why am I a good candidate for
West Point?"; "Am I prepared for the hard work, sacrifices,
rigor, demands and intensity of West Point?" The questioning
process will act as preparation for your interview, but most
importantly, help with the decision to attend if you are successful
in winning an appointment. Share your answers with your parents
so they are not surprised at the interview.
knowledgeable about world events and the news.
prepared to give details about your application points and bring
up any new events, awards, letters, recognition, achievements,
- Ask your parents to be
available, but understand that this is your interview. The
interviewer will want to assess whether the parents are supportive
and believe in your ability to succeed. Some interviewers prefer
that you be alone and others desire to have them present and
may bring more than one interviewer. Many like the home setting
where you and your parents are available and you are most comfortable.
- Now with all that advice
and preparation, relax and be yourself!