Nomination interview questions:


Oct 5, 2017
My son will be having his interviews for nomination to USNA soon. Aside from the typical “Why do you want to go” questions, does anyone have any insight to the interview questions???
There are numerous threads on the forum regarding the topic.

Here are but a few:

My favorite tips:
  • Dress suitably for the region.
  • Use good posture.
  • Know a bit about the Academy.
  • Role play some questions at home, especially if you have never been interviewed for job etc. before.
  • Be prepared for a large panel interview (Most MOC's use a committee interview)
  • Listen to each question and take a moment and think before answering.....don't blurt.
  • Prepare a couple of questions to ask the interviewer(s) ahead of time.
  • Read up on key current events.
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Read the Honor Concept/Code is each school and have a working level knowledge of what that means. Know a little bit about the career fields you are interested in.
AROTC-dad's best advice above is Listen.
Many people (not just teenagers) do not practice active listening skills, because they don't know what they are.
If you get a question in any sort of interview, the person asking you the question wants to gain insight about you (obviously).
The way they ask you the question may inform you as to what they're getting at - more than the words that are coming out of their mouth - because some people don't articulate their own thoughts clearly.
Nevertheless, sometimes all you have to go on are those words, so you must "be in the moment" and consider those words with rapt attention.
Discourse is wonderful (meaningful discourse, anyway). You can have a great time in an interview, or it can be a tremendous ordeal that you must endure. It is almost entirely up to you.

Ask yourself a question days before you even step into the room (with anywhere from 4 to 6 people on a nomination review board):
1. "Why am I here?" If you can't answer that one with an absolute equivocal "because I am a quality candidate, and I should receive an appointment!", then maybe you should get your mind right first.
If you don't believe in yourself, neither will they. You should walk into the room confident (not cocky) and be happy to be there (rather than trying to make them believe you're happy to be there).

The second part of AROTC-dad's advice (which I also like) is to wait.
I was interviewing a college grad the other day who kept finishing my sentences before I did. There are few things more annoying (to me, anyway) than someone cutting you off in mid-sentence because they are so
obsequious that they want to blurt out the "right answer" to everything and move on to the next thing. Take 4 or 5 seconds. Silence is okay while you are considering the question.
Don't feel the need to tell me "That's a good question", before you answer. I already know it's a good question, because I just asked it. :)

Finally, any answer you give should not be terribly rehearsed. If your answer comes from the heart and speaks to your motivation for making a service academy part of your long-term goal in life, it's a good answer.
If you think making your answer into what they want to hear is a good idea - I can only say that after interviewing countless prospective employees after decades in business - that's the last thing I want to hear.

That's just my opinion, of course. One last thing; don't take a beer to the interview. :biggrin:
Good to review the many older threads on this topic.

Each MOC operates their own interview process, so what one does many not necessarily be the same as another. Some do ask unexpected questions to see how applicants can answer something they haven't prepared for. One good example was 'name a kitchen utensil that best described your personality'. Since these are primarily h.s. students experiencing their first big interview, do NOT try to memorize answers to expected questions or you will most likely get things all jumbled and appear overly coached.

Don't try to be a comedian since that usually doesn't come across well, no matter how funny you think you are. Best to be serious and self-confident. Being arrogant is a good way to lose your chance at a NOM. The interview panel will likely ask challenging questions in their limited time to assess your ability. Be respectful of the panel, they have been doing this a lot longer then any applicant.
I must ask, is there a story behind that piece of advice?
Nope. Just trying to interject some humor!

Or if you do, make sure its a good beer, and you bring enough for the entire panel !
(I know its not acceptable in today's environment, but I for one would be pretty impressed by the candidates moxie !)
I'm with you, there.
I wonder if anyone (of drinking age, of course) has ever brought a 6-pack (or a cooler) to a job interview?
That would take some serious cojones. Hoo boy!
For those who frequently use the words "like" and "basically," practice speaking without them. Seriously. I cannot tell you how annoying it is to the "older" generation -- that would be the ones conducting the interviews -- to hear an answer that sounds like this:

"Basically, I want to go the Naval Academy because like I want to like get a great education and like serve my country. Like my grandfather graduated from the Naval Academy and like basically he inspired me to like want to go there. And, then like I applied for Summer Seminar and it was like fantastic and I really liked it. And basically that made me sure it was like the right place for me."

Trust me, most teenagers who have the above tendencies don't even realize they're doing it. Or, they're so used to hearing it from their friends that it actually sounds normal to them. It is NOT normal for most adults. Not only is it incredibly annoying but people either stop listening to the answer because they can't follow the conversation or stop listening and instead start counting the number of times the candidate uses the word "like." (I actually did this in an interview and reached 114 in (literally) three minutes of conversation). The common theme is that the adult is NOT listening and that is a bad thing.

So if you (the candidate) or your child is prone to this type of speech, start now to break the habit for interviews, especially the MOC interviews.
When I talk to my youngest I use "like" repeatedly. She gets it after a while. I hate it. It's "like" we played today and "like" we won and "like" then we drove home. You can't stop them.
It's "like" we played today and "like" we won and "like" then we drove home. You can't stop them.

Actually, you can stop yourself. It just takes focus and practice. Start by videotaping yourself. That does wonders, trust me.

It's not a huge deal with the BGO interview b/c that isn't a competition. So it's annoying (to the BGO) but not fatal.

Your MOC interview is a competition. If Candidate A is using "like" constantly and driving the panel crazy and Candidate B is speaking articulately without using "like," you're deluding yourself if you think it won't make a difference if there is a close call.
I don't have to stop myself I have to stop her. Proper English in any situation does not use "like". I am in my late 60's and I or my peers never used "like" as a break in a sentence.
I don't have to stop myself I have to stop her. Proper English in any situation does not use "like". I am in my late 60's and I or my peers never used "like" as a break in a sentence.
California from the 60s onward, horrible habit that infected the world. :D
Every generation has its verbal tics. In my day, it was "you know." (Combined with "like" as in "like, you know, like" it's a real treat!).

Seriously though, people can and should talk however they want in social settings with family and friends. Relax, be yourself, talk however works for you.

The business environment is very different -- especially for certain professions. Ditto for job interviews. If you or (as a parent) your child uses current verbal tics, consider trying to break the habit for interviews -- and, for the purposes of this site, MOC interviews.