Over the holidays, I had a conversation with a relative, a retired Master Sgt, recently with ROTC - he sat through a lot of interviews, We were just chatting about the entire application process, over a couple barley pops. His pet peeve; He thinks that many of the students he saw have Zero understanding of how to treat an adult as a superior. Thought this was a result of parents and teachers trying to be 'best friends' all the time. Even during the interview many would address the PMS as sir, at first (if at all) and during the interview switch to first name basis without being told to do so. (i.e. you can call me Bob) "Kids need to understand the difference between being friendly and being buddies, and your commander is not your buddy." (followed by long rant on Jon Stewart calling President Obama 'dude') Some of his other comments; --Interview dress code; Shirt with collar and no graphics, long pants, closed toe shoes, clean and pressed, no visible underwear, no gum, no food, no drinks, no caps, no chains, no visible tattoos or piercings, no music player(s) including earplugs, no video games, no laptops, no cellphones, no texting. He had major problem with inappropriate attire on females (He really did not want to see underwear). He said he has had kids in flip-flops, sleeveless shirts, short pants, sucking on a coke, texting on their iPhone get upset when he told them to shut it off during an interview. --Things looked for: Poise, self confident, likability, strong handshake, would 'look him in the eye', did not look to parent when unsure of answers. Understood some things about military life. i.e. Asking about married/family life in the military showed actually thinking about real life. Had a well thought through reason to join. Well rounded resume, contained something that is about serving others, 'not all about me'. --Major red flags: -A parent who attempts to monopolize interview. -Kid who asks a series of questions that they really should all ready know. "Do I have to do PT, do I have to get my hair cut, do I have to go to Boot camp" etc. -They only want to talk the scholarship money, not about career in military. -Kids who think the military is like the movies/video games. "They all play Battlefield and watch the Bourne Identity, but the ones that think that's real are a little scary" "One kid actually said, I want to be just like Jason Bourne, which job is that?" --points for pressed cloths, polished shoes and a tie "shows they are taking it seriously" --points for well informed, supportive parents --points for being a couple minutes early --points for calling - if running late "that shows respect for others" --points for having a pen and note pad "shows planning ahead" --points for immediate - thank you card or email after interview. "shows good upbringing" --Address correspondence to Military Personnel as their web page shows. If the ROTC web page shows "LTC Smith", use that as you salutation. If it shows "Lieutenant Colonel Adam I. Smith", use that on emails. "Addressing it to 'Adam' or 'Mr Smith' shows basic misunderstanding of the military". --Firefox has built a in spell check - use it. Watch spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization. "Sloppy just looks sloppy". Biggest gripe with cadets; procrastination and excuses...did not feel well, hung over, out late, broke up with girlfriend, studying late, sore muscles...etc., can I make it up later? "if the stipend is a day late they scream bloody murder, but make endless excuses for being absent or late themselves" "The best cadets are the ones that don't skip classes" He said after years of watching, he thought the entire application process was somewhat meaningless... That who did well and who failed was not predictable. He would get all enthused about a kid who seemed to be great, highly motivated, good grades, sports and leadership, just to watch him fail miserably. And another kid, who he thought was marginal at best, would really rise to the challenge and exceed everyone's wildest expectations. "In the end it's really all up to them."