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).
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.