Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Don't Believe You

I should probably do two posts at some point to get a day ahead, and then when I miss the deadline it will be less of a technicality.

Today I had interviews for the School of Drama. I can't remember how many times I've done this. There are probably as many as a dozen opportunities per year, maybe I do half of them, so in the neighborhood of 60 times? 4-5 candidates an outing, sometimes more, so somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 candidates? Must have been more than that actually. I used to be at the interviews more in my early years.

We have this form people have to fill out before they get their session. It has a place where we attach a picture, and we will append their resume, if they remember to bring it.


So there's a picture and maybe their resume and the bottom half is for our notes: who was there, anything of particular interest, and out rating of the candidate against a bunch of standards we've come up with over the years. I don't have one in front of me, but the list sounds something like: resume, portfolio, presence, presentation, academics, ideas, expression, maturity, and tenacity. They all mean roughly what you think they would.

The top half of the form is to be filled out by the candidate and includes address and other contact information, a space where you can write anything you like, and then prompts for GPA, Class Rank, and SAT/ACT scores, along with any AP scores.

I interviewed for college in... 1985 maybe, that's like 150 years ago, right? If someone today walked up to me totally out of context and asked me what my SAT score was I could tell them. In point of fact I could come up with SAT, ACT, and class rank. I don't off the top of my head remember my GPA, but lets be fair, it was 150 years ago and I am not currently applying for colleges.

Which is all a very long winded way of saying that if when you fill out the form and decide to leave the test score blank, and then when we follow up in the meeting and ask "Did you take this test? What was your score?" and you decide to answer: "I don't remember." Well, you just sound foolish, and pretty much everyone in the room assumes you are lying.

Based on the impact that exchange has on the interview process I'd have to say that your score would have to be PRETTY BAD for this to be a net positive effect. Truth be told, the folks at your interview weigh the test score lower than the people not at your interview. You HAD to tell those other folks, so it's already hurting your chances as much as it can, you can actually only HELP yourself by giving us the score at the interview, regardless of how bad it is.

If you have a lousy interview and a lousy score - you had a lousy interview anyway so it didn't really come into play. If you had a good interview and a lousy score, we can ask what you think happened with the score and possibly weigh your response in how we lobby our own and the university admissions discussions. If you have a lousy interview and hide a bad score, the hiding will only amplify our other judgements. And if you have an otherwise good interview and hide a bad score we'll be wondering what it was you were hiding and how hiding that fact reflects on our assessment of your maturity. Also, when it comes back from admissions that you had a bad score, and it will, we will be caught unaware, unable to place the piece of information in context, and unready to form a case in your favor.

So please, if you are going to college interviews anytime soon, be conversant about your GPA, Class Rank, SAT/ACT, and AP scores. If you think you'll be nervous and will blank on the spot, take a moment and jot the relevant information down on an index card or a copy of your resume (you know, the resume you will remember to bring) so that you have it right in front of you when you need it. That way, even if the score isn't what you would hope it to be you will come off as prepared and organized rather than as being evasive.

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