Any advice on MOC interviews?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by suddensam, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. suddensam

    suddensam USNA BGO

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    17
    My son has has first interview with a member of Congress next week, one of our Senators. He's a bit nervous. Does anyone have any experience that they can share on what he can expect? I'm sure that it's a little different for each MOC, but some general experience would be appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. USNA2016Dad

    USNA2016Dad Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2011
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    8
    When my son interviewed for his congressional nomination it was at our congressman's local office. He interviewed with a panel of 3 people. One was from the military, another was from local government and the third was from the congressman's staff. The interview lasted about 30 minutes. The questions asked were about current affairs, domestic and international, military matters and general, personal subjects. My son said it was friendly and more relaxed than he expected. He also said being familiar with and able to discuss current affairs, which at the time included military matters, helped set the overall tone of the interview. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  3. newhampshirecandidate

    newhampshirecandidate Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    0
    I had my three interviews last year-two of my MOCs had boards of 3 people interview me, all were active or former military, though not necessarily Navy/USMC, and the third had a panel of 7, 2 USNA grads, 2 former Army officers, a congressional staffer, an Air Force reservist and a school teacher. The three person boards were, as USNR said, pretty laid back and it was more a conversation than an interview, with questions thrown in. My advice to your son is to be loud (not obnoxiously, but make sure they can hear you), confident (he's applying to become an officer in the military, they need to see this), and sincere. He needs to tell the truth, why he's applying, what he hopes to get out of it, what he plans on doing after USNA, etc. and they can cut through the BS if they think he's just saying what they want to hear. Also, all three boards asked me about the academy's honor code and how I would adhere to it (ie you walk in and find your roommate/best friend/etc cheating, lying, stealing, what do you do?), and they also asked about current events, what I thought about specific military policies, stuff like that. Tell your son not to be afraid to say he doesn't know, as opposed to trying to BS his way through, it actually makes him look more intelligent. Good luck!
     
  4. suddensam

    suddensam USNA BGO

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    17
    Thanks. NHcandidate, how do you think you did? Did you find it stressful? How did you prepare?

    USNR1315 suggested that they might ask about current affairs. That's not my son's strong suit.
     
  5. Seahorse

    Seahorse Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here is the advice my DS received from a very wise person…..
    He took the advice to heart, practiced (with his parents) and fine tuned his responses so that they came off naturally.
    He received two nominations and is currently at the Academy.

    “Here are a few tips and some potential questions you may be asked to better prepare yourself.

    1) Dress should be business casual at a minimum. That means NO JEANS. Girls can wear dress pants/skirt and a nice top to suits. Guys can wear dress shirt (with tie) to sports jacket to suits. Try not to wear running shoes or any other athletic shoe unless you really don't have anything else (don't rush out and buy shoes you will never ever wear again).

    2) RELAX! Nobody is there to perform torture or police interrogation techniques. Be relaxed. Don't try to speak w/ "big words" to impress (unless those big words are part of your everyday vocabulary!). Be yourself.

    3) Make sure when you speak, you have good eye contact with every panelist.

    4) At the end of the interview, if asked "Do you have any questions for us?" have SOMETHING prepared, even if it's sort of lame. More lame would be to say, "No, I don't think so."

    5) Plan on arriving about 20 min before your interview is scheduled. Some offices are more organized than others. You may have to wait well beyond your interview time slot. When you finally are collected for your interview, do not appear annoyed, even if you had to wait an hour (hopefully, this won't be your case, but it has been known to happen). While you are waiting, drink water so your mouth won't turn into a desert when you step into the interview room.

    The panels will be evaluating the candidates under four categories: Academics, extracurriculars, personal motivation/character, and knowledge of the academies, and so you will be asked questions out of each category.

    1. You probably should be familiar with the Honor Code and be able to articulate what it means to you.

    2. You should be able to articulate why you are interested in attending a service academy as opposed to a civilian college.

    3. What do you feel you have to offer the academies? Why should Senator / Congressman ____ select you out of so many to represent his / her state at an academy?

    4. Do you participate in athletics? If so, be able to talk about your sport -- why you chose it, etc.

    5. What is your family's attitude toward you attending a service academy?

    6. Describe a stressful situation that you have experienced. How did you handle it? What have you learned from it?

    7. Describe a leadership challenge you have experienced.

    8. What is your greatest strength? Your greatest weakness? (Remember, turn a "weakness" into a potential strength.)

    9. What do you plan to study at the academies? What job do you see yourself doing once you graduate? So, go to the academy web sites or do some quick research on the branches of service so you have some clue about what you may be doing after graduation from a service academy.

    10. Do you know anybody who has attended an academy? What advice did they give you?

    11. Are you willing to serve others without any personal benefit to you? Give an example.

    12. Have you ever been "bad" at something? What was it, and what lesson did you learn from it?

    13. What is leadership? Give an example from your own personal experience/observations of a good leader (and why you felt this person was/is a good leader) and a poor leader.

    14. You probably should be familiar with the service requirement (number of years you are required to serve after graduation).

    15. Who is your personal role model and why.

    16. You are considering entering a service academy during a time of war? What are your feelings about this? Your family's? What have your friends said about your choice of college?


    If you have been recruited for a sport, let the panels know this. If you have received a Letter of Assurance, it's probably not a bad idea to let the panel know, but don't inform them in an arrogant way. If you can't think of a way to do it without coming across as a jerk, don't. Hopefully, you will stand out anyway!

    Be confident, but not cocky or arrogant. This IS the time to toot your own horn. This is NOT the time to be self-deprecating or "humble." Make sure you give the panel the impression of you that you want to give the panel.

    IF your ACT/SAT score has increased since you applied, make sure that you let them know how your scores have changed. It wouldn't hurt to bring in a copy of your score sheet. Let them know if you plan on taking any other ACT/SATs this application season.

    Read over your essays (both the ones you submitted to the academies as part of your application and the ones that you sent in for the service academy applications to refresh your memory on what you have said in the past. You have (hopefully) already put a lot of thought into your essay responses; your interview responses will most likely be very similar.”
     
  6. newhampshirecandidate

    newhampshirecandidate Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was actually told in the first interview by a Vice Admiral in the US Coast Guard Academy that, while I had high SAT scores, good grades, extracurriculars, and leadership positions, I seemed quiet and he had a difficult time imagining himself taking orders from me (hence my "be confident" tip). Nonetheless I received all 3 nominations, although I wasn't a principal nomination so I ended up missing out on making the academy last year. I had a friend who had gone through the process give me a mock interview, and he also lent me a very helpful book, which I will have to see if I can find to give you the name of. Also, Seahorse's advice is spot on. Part of confidence is how you sit, how loudly you speak, but also looking your interviewer in the eye, "yes sir, no ma'am" etc. That stuff lets them know you're confident without being cocky (one of the panel of 7 for me was also on the original panel and told me in private after the interview that I seemed much more confident the second time around - the more times your son practices it the more at home your son will be in the interview situation).
     
  7. LakeErie69

    LakeErie69 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you Seahorse! that's very helpful
     
  8. COmom

    COmom Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    6
    Excellent advice

    My DS had 3 interviews, 2 nominations, is presently sweating his behind off at Plebe Summer. Seahorse's advice covered it all.
     
  9. mdrob214

    mdrob214 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok, this may seem silly but your Son has to do it himself. When my DD went in for her interviews with all three of our MOC sources my wife rode with to the location (the local office of the MOC) just to "be there" to help with nervousness before and talk after. She sat in the lobby of the building. She didn't even go into the MOC office in the building. My wife said she saw three other candiates go in or come out. All of them with a parent leading them. In two cases she watched as the parent coordinated with the staffers and the candidate stood back. DD got two of the three nominations and is currently a member of the USNA Class of 2016 "enjoying" Plebe Summer. Was that a factor? I don't know but it sure helps show the kid isn't doing it for Mom or Dad.
     
  10. momcolo

    momcolo New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Seahorse... BRAVO ZULU (wish we would have had your specific advice a year ago ;)

    and yes, your DS needs to do it on his own.

    Not to say you shouldn't help him practice...

    Set up a murder board / mock interview. Offer critical (read CONSTRUCTIVE) criticism. If done right.... both he and you will feel better about the whole process.
     
  11. MMMom

    MMMom Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    0
    I didn't get the impression she was planning to do anything for him, just gathering information to relay to him to put his mind more at ease. I often ask questions on here for my DS... he is not terribly fond of spending time on the computer, thinks facebook is a waste of time and would never even think to find a forum. I, however, am an information gatherer and think the internet is a wealth of knowledge. I gathered quite of bit of useful info about the BGO interviews from this forum, and passed it along. He followed the advice, and had a very successful interview (that I was obviously not apart of) last week... a parent is a resource just like any other and nothing wrong with using all your resources.
     
  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,498
    Likes Received:
    447
    Great advice Seahorse.

    Would echo the "doing it alone." Drive your kid there if you like but STAY IN THE CAR.

    Don't over-prepare. Think through answers to the above questions but don't memorize them.

    And one minor tweak -- don't always try to turn a weakness into a strength. This goes to the "what are you bad at" question, which is one I always ask. Sometimes, we want to see that you realize you aren't perfect at everything. No one is. I get somewhat annoyed at those who say, "I'm too organized" or garbage like that.

    You can either say something like, "I can't sing at all, so try not to do it other than in the shower." Or, "I'm not the best runner in the world, but I've been working with our track coach at school for the past year and have brought my mile time down from a 7:30 to a 6:15."

    Also, you can get questions from left field. I've heard MOC committee ask, "What are 5 adjectives that describe you? or "What is the last non-school book you read and why did you choose it?" And many more. Unlike BGOs, they have no specific things they must cover, other than those dictated by the MOC.

    If a question seems from left field, take a deep breath and give yourself a few seconds to think about it.

    As for current affairs, no one expects an encyclopedic knowledge. However, having SOME idea what's going on in the world makes sense. Have your child read the "front page" of a major newspaper or on-line service (CNN, NYTimes, FoxNews, Washington Post) each day. That will be enough to talk intelligently, more or less.:smile:
     
  13. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,826
    Likes Received:
    591
    Agree...lots of great advice on this posting (especially Seahorse).

    I don't think I saw the following point brought up (if it was, excuse my scanning over this thread)...ANSWER THE QUESTION BEING ASKED! Don't try to skirt around or indirectly answer what is asked. I had A LOT of candidates do this in my BGO interview and at the end, I gave them some advice for their MOC interviews (one of which was to abide by the above).

    It is perfectly acceptable for the room to be silent for a few seconds while you think about what is being asked and respond. It is very likely you will get a curveball question that no one ever pondered about before, answer it as it comes.

    Current Events is important. It shows that you are aware of what is going on in the world around you and it is expected of officers in the military. At USNA you will have to read 3 daily news articles (national, international, and sports), so you might as well start doing it now!
     
  14. suddensam

    suddensam USNA BGO

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    17
    DS's interview is tomorrow. Just wanted to thank everyone for the advice. He seems reasonably confident and well-prepared.
     
  15. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,180
    Likes Received:
    105
    The following is an except of an email that was sent to us regarding MOC interviews:


    The interview is typically a panel with retired/active military on it. The following is list of the most asked questions:

    Why do you want to go to a service academy?
    What will you do if you do not get in?
    Suppose you went to the academy and later caught your best friend cheating, could you turn your friend in?
    What are your strongest and weakest points?
    What makes you think you can stand the stress?
    Are you prepared physically?
    How have you handled failure?
    Who is your hero?
    How do you think the United States should deal with the nuclear proliferation in North Korea? (in other words one current even question)
    Do you have any questions for us?


    The first three are Always asked. The next few are almost always asked, the last few are sometimes asked. There ARE right and very wrong ways to answer. Always have an excellent question prepared to ask them at the end.
     
  16. MIHOSER

    MIHOSER Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Messages:
    302
    Likes Received:
    17
    Be prepared for the unexpected...

    In my S's MOC interview, the panel of 3 asked him how he managed his time with 3 varsity sports and then they proceeded to talk about the 3 sports. They then asked him what type of duty he was thinking about and when he replied "subs" they started talking about the movie Crimson Storm for 15 minutes.

    In other words, there is no set program and just about anything can and does happen.
     

Share This Page