AROTC/AFROTC Interview tips?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Thompson, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. Thompson

    Thompson Member

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    Hello,

    I just would like to say thank you for everyone on this forum for contributing to the "share of wealth" [of information]. I've been looking around this particular form, but could not find any posts on interview tips.

    I am fixing on applying for both Army & AF ROTC scholarships, and I have my Army interview up at Penn State next Monday; have previously met the LTC once over a summer visit. I've been reading posts everywhere online about tips and suggestions. Does anyone have any further tips for interview?

    Academics:
    GPA (unweighted/weighted): 4.97/3.89
    SAT: 1090 (M: 620 R: 470)
    ACT: Composite ~ 24
    Have taken/will complete approx 20 honors/AP courses by years end. (6 AP, remaining honors; NO dual enrollment)

    Sports:
    Cross Country (11 + 12)
    Indoor (Winter) + Spring track (11)

    Extracurricular:
    Anchor Club (school service organization) (11, 12 - secretary)
    Model UN (11, 12 - VP)
    Renaissance Club (11, 12 - honorary officer)
    In a bunch of other clubs, NHS, Steering Committee, miniTHON committee, yearbook, varsity club, german club, right way club

    Voluteerism via Anchor Club + NHS; approx. 75 service hours
    High school tutor

    Summer job (grades 9-12) mowing lawns for my dad's business

    Leadership Conferences:
    Keystone Boys State
    Freedoms Foundation Valley Forge - Spirit of America
    National Student Leadership Conference - Intelligence and National Security (** part of wreath laying ceremony at Tomb of the Unknowns)

    Awards:
    Cross Country - varsity letter + scholar-athlete award (12th)
    Honor Roll (9-11th)
    Student of the Month award (11th)
    Society for Academic Excellence in Foreign Languages (11th)

    I am currently Penn State Class of 2017 (regardless if I get a 4 year scholarship); College of Engineering - Aerospace Eng. and will most likely go AF. I'm not in it to get the money; I'm in it to get that commission, to be a leader of men. I am planning on at least 20 years active + 5-10 Guard/Reserve. I want to Serve my Country.

    I've ready in many places mixed answers of what to wear to an interview. I've heard suits to khakis and everything in between. I am fixing on wearing a suit; is there some wrong with that? I attended Keystone Boys State over the summer and had a chance to speak with the ROTC cadre at Shippensburg. The admissions officer told me to "dress for success", referencing a suit.

    In terms of the interview questions - how many should I prepare for? I've got about 30 nailed down so far; how many more should I prepare for? 25? 50? 100? And for the actual questions themselves - would I just pull them from typical job interview questions -- but modify it to fit ROTC instead of it being a job?

    For the interview, what all should I know? Geneva Convention (to what extent?) Army/AF core values? Army/AF history (to what extent?)

    In terms of situational questions, does anyone know where I can find some online? I've tried looking for ones involving military situations - couldn't find any. Are these suppose to be the type of questions in which you can't really prepare for - requiring on-the-spot answers? ... a friend who goes to AFA also told me, that there ARE wrong answers to situational questions - true?

    And also, I've gotten the general big idea of the essential questions that I will be asked:
    Why do you want to be an officer?
    Why should I admit you into ROTC?
    Why do you want to join the Military?
    Biggest high school achievement?
    Biggest failure?
    What are you strengths?
    What are you weaknesses? (then state how to turn them into strengths?)
    Tell me about yourself.
    Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

    Are there any other questions that I am missing? What other questions should I study/prepare for? ... how many more questions should I prepare for?

    ... also; I know this is probably a very, very stupid question. But for answering: Why do you want to be an officer ... what could I say? Does anyone have any brainstorming ideas; because frankly - I have no idea what to say about this (I know; I want to be a leader, and can't answer this question ...)

    I've also run into another issue with some of the questions I've been preparing for. For some questions like: "Tell me about yourself", "greatest high school accomplishment", "What have you done to prepare", and "What adversity did you face, how did you handle it?" I seem to be some what repeating myself. For all of the above stated questions, they all have reference to Cross Country. For the first question, I mentioned how basically Cross Country unlocked a whole new world for me; social development; extracurricular involvement (10+ clubs), interest in photography. 2nd question - greatest accomplishment was Cross Country - told me that you can push yourself past what you thought was your physical/mental limit in order to achieve a goal. 3rd question - physical conditioning via Cross Country. 4th question - Cross Country, sprained my ankle during senior year + resprained ankle twice more ...
    Is this bad that I mentioned Cross Country more than once? Or will it be viewed in a positive manner - how it changed my life?

    Be honest and truthful; be confident but NOT cocky/arrogant. Is showing up 30 minutes early okay? or should I just stick to around 15 minutes early?

    Also, I had another question pop up. As I've mentioned before, I am interviewing for Army at Penn State on Monday @1000 EST.

    ... I have just received news from my local AF ROTC/AFA liaison officer, that due to her schedule she can interview on Monday as well, requesting it @ 1530EST. I'm just a little concerned w/ the time. Worst case scenario, the Army interview lasts for two hours; ending at 1200 - drive back home takes about 2 hours 30 min (w/o traffic) - a little worried that it's cutting it close - will request to move time to an hour later.

    Anyways; my main question I had, was for my AF interview - how should I word the email requesting to move it back an hour? Should I make any reference to the Army interview? I fear that my chances of 4 year scholarship may decrease if I tell her I'm also interviewing for Army.

    Or should I just not mention the Army interview; and just ask to move the time one hour back?

    Any and all help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. Thompson

    Thompson Member

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    ... also, judging by the responses in the forums - I want to point out that I don't quite know the lingo yet. So, if you wouldn't mind ;)

    I know a few for the Military - but apparently none for ROTC/SA ..
     
  3. Darrowboat

    Darrowboat Prospective Officer

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    Interview tips

    Hello and welcome to the forums! Also, thank you for your desire to serve our nation.

    I had my NROTC interview 1-2 months ago. After about 2 questions the Captain told me to wait, jumped up all excited and ran out the room. He came back with another guy and apparently was so happy because he realized they could both interview me simultaneously. So be prepared, you might be answering to multiple people. Try to give both your attention if that happens.

    Also, make sure you look sharp. I wore a suit and on my way out saw some girl wearing a low cut tank top and short shorts for her interview. My recruiter just shook his head and laughed and patted me on the back.

    The first question I was asked was what I knew about the ROTC program. I was extremely nervous at this point and stumbled on my thoughts and said something like, "Well sir, it's a program that helps young people pay for college and commission into the military as an officer." Thinking back, I could have given a much more detailed reply and therefore a better first impression. I probably should've prepared for the interview a little better lol.

    For the "Why do you want to be an officer?" question, I had trouble too don't worry. Just be honest. I basically said how my whole family keeps telling me not to join military, that I could do anything and that basically what I WANT to do is be a officer, it is not a 2nd choice/last resort or anything. Seriously, as long as he/she sees that you are genuine, they will approve.

    Please note that it is pretty common for the interviewer at the end to say something along the lines of: (and this is exactly what mine said) "I am going to give you a golden opportunity. You may ask me anything you'd like, personal or otherwise."

    All I can stress is TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY. I came prepared with 1 question and thought of 2 more while we were discussing. Make sure they are open-ended questions that will promote a TWO SIDED conversation. Don't let him just talk the whole time, try to engage. Here are the questions I asked:
    What are your thoughts on the Obama administration's handling of the crisis in Benghazi?
    If you were put in a situation where you had to choose between following your superior's orders or following your moral obligations, which would you choose?
    What are your thoughts on the rules of engagement (i.e. how we cannot attack until we are attacked first)? <--He literally said, "That is an excellent question" to that one.

    Each question we talked about for roughly 10 minutes. If you want details on those questions/answers/conversations PM me! The entire interview lasted for roughly 90-120 minutes.

    My weakest point was that I was pretty nervous. Don't let yourself be too nervous, it causes mistakes and awkward pauses. Remember, the interviewer was once in your shoes.

    In any case, good luck on your interview! If I think of anything else I'll add another reply. Hope I was helpful!

    -Darrowboat
     
  4. Darrowboat

    Darrowboat Prospective Officer

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    I guess I should note that while in my interview, the Captain asked if I had applied to other ROTC programs. I said no (which was honest) and he said, "Good, that shows your commitment to the Marine Corps."

    If your interviewer asks you if you have applied, definitely don't lie to them. However given what the Captain said to me, I wouldn't mention it unless asked. Somebody else may disagree with me, I'm just speaking from personal opinion. If you don't mention the Army interview, don't lie to them and tell them you are busy with something you are not.
     
  5. Thompson

    Thompson Member

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    ... apparently I can't send you a PM until my post count reaches 15 ...

    So anyways, I've been thinking about the "golden opportunity" question for a while. And, I'm thinking about asking something like this: What is it like raising a family in the military? What obstacles did you face? Was it hard having to rotate every 3 years?
    I figured this would be a suitable question, which demonstrated my seriousness about doing ROTC, and more importantly - the Military as a career.
    Do you think this would be a good question?

    For, the question asking what you knew about the program - is it basically your opinion of what ROTC, or is there a right answer?

    And for why I want to be an officer; if I say something like: because I consider myself a natural leader of men, and consider being an officer in the Military something I have always wanted to do --> does this sound arrogant/cocky? or would this be an acceptable answer?

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  6. Thompson

    Thompson Member

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    Also, I've been wondering what my chances are of receiving a 4 year scholarship. I have provided information in the original post - if anyone has any input I'd greatly appreciate it!
     
  7. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Thompson,
    First try to get the SAT scores up, especially that CR score. Take the SAT again as soon as possible.
    Second, you're over thinking this. You seem to have the right questions down. There are no right answers to these questions. They're looking for motivation, maturity, and thoughfulness. Has this kid really thought about why he wants to become and officer and serve? Just be yourself and be honest. open, frank... and give complete answers. No you do not need to know about the Geneva Convention. Knowing something about core values and history is nice but not necessary... I think anything on these topics are something you will need to work into your responses. I doubt you'll be asked anything about them directly... and even if you are and aren't prepared, simply say I don't know.
    Mentioning the other interview is entirely up to you. You might just say you have another commitment and don't think you can make it in time for the scheduled interview and see if you can put it off for another hour. If you are asked what the other commitment is tell them. They expect students will be pursuing all their options and it may even be a plus to show them you are.
    Loosen up and have fun at the interview and as others have said, be prepared with questions of your own. Good Luck.
     
  8. Thompson

    Thompson Member

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    Hi kinnem,

    Thank you for your help! Unfortunately I do not think taking SATs again will make I difference; I've taken them 3 times, that those two were my highest from one sitting. I've taken the ACT twice; 24 composite score both times.

    And by this,
    are you referring to "topics" in reference to core values & history, or Geneva Convention?

    Would you suggest preparing for any other specific questions & answers? Or are the ones I have supplied enough for the interview? Are there any "big" questions that I didn't touch upon/missed?

    I'm sure I will have a great time with the interviews! I've met with the Army LTC (who is my interviewer) before in a sot of mock-interview/coaching appointment; very nice man. Have also heard about the LtCol from the AF who will be interviewing me from my friend; current fr. @ AFA!!
    It's just nerve wracking to know that the interview can decide my (financial) fate for the next four years!

    Thanks for your help!

    NOTE TO ALL: Just noticed a mistake for GPA; it should be flipped; unweighted = 3.89; weighted = 4.97
     
  9. Darrowboat

    Darrowboat Prospective Officer

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    I think that is a really awesome question and would like to hear the results of what he/she says after the interview. I too am wondering. If the interviewer doesn't offer this "golden opportunity", you might consider asking toward the end of the interview if you could ask a few questions. That would be impressive in my opinion.

    As for the knowledge on the ROTC program, I think the question was more of a warm-up for the real questions type deal. He also mentioned that he was asking so that he might correct any misunderstandings I have about the program (i.e. it does not pay for room/board as many believe). Don't stress too much about it.
     
  10. Darrowboat

    Darrowboat Prospective Officer

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    Also, I pretty much agree with everything kinnem said. I personally have never even heard about the Geneva Convention, nor was I asked any crazy questions concerning the history of the military. They were basically standard questions (why do you want to be an officer, strengths, weaknesses, etc.). As kinnem stated, don't over think it.
     
  11. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Unlike AFROTC, Army ROTC Superscores both the SAT and ACT, so if you combine the best scores from each test, your overall scores may be a bit higher.

    You need either a 1100 SAT or a 24 ACT along with a GPA of 3.5 or higher to receive the max points for the academic section of the interview, looks like you have that covered.

    Be yourself, don't over think things, and most of all relax.
     
  12. Thompson

    Thompson Member

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    ... so then I don't need to go insane trying to create answers to all of these questions: http://career-advice.monster.com/jo...00-Potential-Interview-Questions/article.aspx

    So, basically - the questions that I have listed in the first post should be sufficient for the interview?

    And, I will definitely get back to you about what both lieutenant colonels have to say about that question! I am just as interested as you about what they have to say about that!

    Thanks!
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree that your SAT/ACT is going to hurt you regarding an AFROTC scholarship. Statistically you want to raise it by 200 points for the SAT, and by 4 pts for the ACT. As stated it is best sitting.

    I also think you are over thinking the questions, typically the questions are generic, for them to get a feel for you as a person, not your knowledge of the geneva convention.

    Even when DS interviewed for the AFA with the MOC committee they didn't ask anything like that.

    They (MOC and ALO) did ask him, what was the last book you read that wasn't assigned? They asked him why with a 720 M, 34 M he got a C 1st semester in AP Calc?

    They also asked if he felt the surge was the right decision, defend your position.

    He was asked what he wanted to do career wise in the AF, and like many it was to be a pilot, which created the do you realize how difficult, and the what if you don't get it. He was able to say he did realize since his Dad was an F15E WSO, so it was pounded in his head at home. His back up plan was to go JAG.


    As you can see none of these questions needed studying. They know you are a 17 yo and expect you to be nervous, thus why they keep it simple.

    I would be honest if they ask about interviewing with other ROTC branches, so prepare to have that answer.

    One last thing, for at least AFROTC they do not use a 5.0 for weight scale. They will re-weight your cgpa. They will also look at your school profile, percentage that go to Ivies, 4 yr private/public, 2 yr/tech, or nothing. This allows them to know if the A's are being handed out like candy on Halloween.
    They will also see how many APs or IBs are offered and % of students that take APs.

    If you decide to go AFROTC, you really need to up your SAT/ACT because as a C200 it will be used for SFT selection. The avg SAT score for a Type 1 scholarship is 1360 or a 31 ACT. They will be your competition at that point, so if it means even taking it all the way until June when you even have a scholarship on hand. Scholarships are masked for the SFT board, the SAT/ACT isn't masked.
     
  14. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    Wait...you asked your interviewer what he thought about Benghazi? I would recommend avoiding any politically controversial questions. What would be the purpose of asking that question? Were you looking to see if you future commander had the same political views as you? Asking his views regarding Rules of Engagement? Why? Why did you not ask relevant questions like how often does ROTC class meet, or how many summer training seats does the unit get each year. It's going to be a long, long time be for you have anything to do with ROE, other then abide by them. Glad your interviewer thought that was a good questions, but I'd bet most won't.
     
  15. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree with Clarkson, if you are asking the questions, it would be more prudent to ask questions showing them your desire to be in their unit. I would ask how many are on scholarships?

    If you want to get in the weeds regarding politics, the only thing I would ask is if we go over the fiscal cliff, should I be worried about ROTC scholarships?

    As I said our DS was asked the question about his opinion regarding the surge he did not ask them what they thought of the surge.
     
  16. Darrowboat

    Darrowboat Prospective Officer

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    Of course I wasn't trying to get into a political debate. I've heard many sides of the story and was looking to see what really could have happened from a more reliable source. He explained everything.

    I didn't ask him much regarding ROTC because I have done my homework - I could pretty much google every answer regarding the program. What I was looking for was more of how a commanding officer thinks, how he responds to specific things. I understand some people may not agree with the questions I asked but I had reasons and I was very satisfied with his answers. It was not a political debate and honestly he seemed to be favoring the opposing party (if only slightly). I was not upset at all because that wasn't what it was about.

    The Captain said it was an excellent question because the ROE is a very difficult subject and often cause the loss of American lives simply because those men don't want to be destroyed by the media for attacking "innocent" people. Obviously, in some cases this is completely necessary but because it is so situational, it is hard to decide. The Captain said this, "Personally, I would rather be judged by my men than carried by them." In other words, he would rather be punished for not following the ROE than following them, dying, and having to be carried back by his fellow Marines.

    Again it was something I was concerned about. I believe it is perfectly acceptable to be concerned about something that may very well affect me in the future.
     
  17. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    You'll make a fine Marine
     
  18. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Too bad about the SAT. I assume you took a prep course or something as well? That CR score may really hurt but the math looks good enough.

    I was referring to the core values and history. Personally I wouldn't spend time prepping on that stuff, but if you think it helps give you a leg up and you have time to burn then by all means do so. I don't think they would ask you any questions about it but I'm sure there would be an opportunity for you to work in references during your interview. I wouldn't waste any time on the Geneva Convention unless its for your own personal interest. I'm sure you're already familiar with the general gist of that anyway.

    Yes, the interview is important but most of it is to verbally confirm the things you've already listed on your application and to make sure they're speaking to a mature young adult with a head on his/her shoulder and not a blithering idiot. Your Academics are by far the biggest qualifier. The interview will confirm some more qualitative things like your leadership skills - like "Just what did you do for Club X. How is it, specifically, that you played a leadership role?"

    Yeah, I caught that error on the weighted/unweighted but didn't think it worth mentioning. I don't think it's mathematically impossible to have a weighted average lower than your unweighted, but it would certainly be highly unlikely.

    Good luck on the interview. It is serious but it isn't the be all end all.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  19. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    LMAO. I don't mean to belittle the question and I can see that a lot of the reaction to it would be based on how it was asked. If it was conversational then I would have no problem with it, although I certainly wouldn't recommend it.

    The reason I literally laughed out loud when i read this is the thought "How could he possibly be a reliable source on Benghazi? He was no where near Benghazi. Anything he said could only be conjecture".

    I think Clarkson's and Pima's posts on asking relevant questions should be well heeded. Even if you think Google has explained all the in's and out's of ROTC for you, it always helps to have another perspective either as a confirmation or a way to draw out some new bits of information or a different perspective. Google isn't going to adequately explain the levels of stress you are under during various parts of the program or various parts of the school year, and why. Nor will it explain how to deal with that stress. An officer perhaps could. And that's only one area regarding ROTC where another's perspective could be helpful. How about a question like "What do you think are the most important character traits that help one get through a ROTC program successfully?" Certainly an open-ended question from which you the interviewee will derive some value.
     
  20. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    LOL. I would pay vast sums to hear the tone of voice of that remark!
     

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