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Blunders That Will Torpedo Your College Interview

Try to avoid self-sabotage because a bad interview can hurt your chances of getting into your dream college.
BY Braingain Staff Writer |   04-08-2015

Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz reveals in his new autobiography that he was hung over during his interview at Brown University.

Most colleges run interviews to get students to talk themselves into a place, not talk themselves out of one. As it turns out, Texas Republican and presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz, has a revelation in his new autobiography "A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America" which should be a cautionary tale for college interviewees.

Minutes into an interview with an admissions dean at Brown University, Cruz conceded he wasn't feeling "too good" because he spent the night blowing off steam and partying hard at fellow Ivy Leaguer Dartmouth College.

"I had to ask her to please lower her voice because, I told her, I was really hung-over. That probably did not leave the best of impressions," writes Cruz in his new book.

Of course, Cruz managed to pull it together for his next interview and went on to graduate cum laude from Princeton University with a Bachelor's degree in Public Policy. He followed this up by attending Harvard Law School and being the editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review.

There are unspoken guidelines when it comes to dressing for college interviews. Try not to sabotage yourself by having a "wardrobe malfunction" or wearing outfits that are too revealing, too casual or make you look like you tumbled out of bed.

"Classic colours and clothes are fit for those preparing for a path into a classical career: architecture, teaching, business; lawyers prefer to be suited up. And fashion students must also remember to maintain their own, self-styled eclectic look in order to stand out," writes Rakhi Bhandari in

At a time when we are tied to our electronic tethers it is worth noting that rudeness constitutes checking your cell phone, eyeing your Apple watch and fiddling with your Blackberry while speaking to the interviewer.

You should also avoid too much information. "Applicants sometimes get too chatty by sharing their dating histories or declaring they want to lose their virginity in college. I was stunned when a girl wanted to show me her non-visible "One Direction" tattoo," said Angela Sherman, who spent years interviewing students at an East Coast Ivy League college.

Linda Meehan, the Assistant Dean and Executive Director for Admissions at Columbia Business School, says schools have "specific things" they are trying to learn from an interview.

"Applicants are assessed on four separate measures. First, is this somebody you would like to hire? Second, is this someone you would like to go to school with? How do they think they would contribute to the classroom? And fourth, would you want them to wear the Columbia Blue?," says Meehan.

She adds that interviews at Columbia are mostly conducted by alumni or Hermes students, who are hand-picked students trained by the admissions office.



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