Thursday, July 30, 2009

Yale Interview

I had my interview with a senior Yale student on Wednesday at 1pm. I had asked my friends in the Ivy Scholars Program how their interviews went, because since it would be my first college interview, I was nervous. They told me not to worry; the interview was quite casual and conversational and the interviewers they had had not been intimidating. Still, while standing in the Yale Admissions Building Lobby, waiting for my name to be called, I was consumed with anxiety. However, that changed when I met my interviewer, Susan.

She bore a friendly smile and made me feel at ease as soon as I sat down in a chair across from her in her office. She asked me to tell her about myself, so I proceeded to explain my background, most especially about my involvement in band and speech and debate at school. From there, she asked me questions such as "What has being a drum major taught you?" and "Can you give me an example of an impromptu speech?". For the former, I elaborated on the valuable skills in leadership, communication, professionalism, and confidence I've gained as being leader of the marching band. For the latter, I gave a short persuasive speech about why Yale should install paper towel dispensers or air hand dryers in their bathrooms. When she was done asking me questions, she asked me what questions I had for her. I asked her "What do Yale students who are interested in attending graduate school for business typically major in? (Yale, like Stanford, doesn't offer an undergraduate major of business). She told me that many major in economics, but many others major in just about anything, like history or comparative science. The question I posted to her that garnered the most interesting response, however, was "What made you fall in love with Yale?". She talked about her experience as a whole, but for a specific answer she described an experience in her sophomore year. Despite being a comparative science major and having no experience in composition, Yale let her write a complete one act play. Not only did Yale let her do it, however. It encouraged her to do so; she gained much guidance while writing the piece and many talented Yale actors readily agreed to act in her play. I loved how this story of hers reflects how Yale is for people with eclectic interests, and besides satisfying your interests in many different fields, it encourages you to do the most that you can with them. I'm not entirely sure about if I did well enough in the interview to greatly increase my chances of acceptance into this wondrous school, but it was definitely a half-an-hour well spent


  1. Yohanna,

    I suppose it’s only natural to feel apprehensive before an interview but it’s still foreign to me. These people are only human just like you. You have a lot of wonderful attributes and abilities so there’s no reason at all to feel insecure. The very worst that they can do to you is write you up poorly and in the grand scheme of things even that doesn’t really matter. Yeah, Yale is a great school but if you don’t get in the sun will still come up in the morning, you’ll find another university to give you a great education and all will be right with the world.

    No matter what we do in life we’re going to be handed setbacks. It’s what we do with them that determines what kind of person we are.

    I hope that your interviewer saw you the same way we do and they roll out the red carpet for you, Yohanna.

    When I write these comments I usually write them as I’m reading the original post and after I read your first graph about your interview I was prepared to suggest that you tell them about what it’s meant to you as the leader of your marching band. Then I read that that’s exactly what happened in your interview and how you even ran with that concept.

    I KNOW that this isn’t what defines you but it’s had a strong impact on your development so it’s natural and proper to focus on this.

    By the way, I would have loved to have heard your arguments about the hand drying methodology in Yale’s restrooms.

    As we listen to admissions officers they often have widely varying takes on the importance of the interview. Sue Kim could tell you more than I could but unless you really blow it, a good interview can only help you.

  2. Yohanna,

    I am glad your interview went well. What a great learning experience this was and you will only improve as time goes on! Like Mr. Gosney said, your interviewer is only human just like you. Try to keep that in mind in the future.

    I am sure Susan was impressed with you just as I am! You are an intelligent, hard-working and pleasant young lady with so much going for you. Always remember that!

    Ms. Larson