NROTC MO interview questions

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by intruder533, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. intruder533

    intruder533 5-Year Member

    Jan 27, 2012
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    Can any Marine Option students remember questions that they were asked during their initial ROTC interviews? I am trying to prepare my son for his august interview.

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  2. VMI82

    VMI82 Room 131

    Dec 2, 2013
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    I'll answer for DD as she is at VMI STP and neck deep in Statistics.

    1st of all there are two interviews. The primary and first one is the one I assume you are inquiring about.

    I'll give you the questions DD was asked but will set the stage first:

    1. DD emailed and called the Selection Officer (S.O. 12th district) several times prior to his arrival in our town. She emailed him questions about the application, PFT, etc. We obtained his contact information from our local Recruiter.

    These emails/phone calls established a basis for the S.O. to know her and she him prior to the actual interview.

    My takeaway - do not hesitate to contact them and show an honest desire to understand the process. BUT do not a kiss-a** be either.

    This will vary by S.O. (usually the XO of the recruiting District) according to his personality and nature of their District (ours is large geographically, low population density)

    2. The Interview will have standard questions (which I'll get to) but, IMO, the primary tone will be set by the application and its essays. This is 90%+ of what the S.O. will have as a basis to 'pre judge' the applicant prior to shaking their hand.

    The S.O. later told me:

    - don't come across as applying for the scholarship money only
    - do NOT come across as being blasé about being a Marine
    - DO demonstrate a sincere desire about earning 'the Title'

    3. Questions DD was asked:

    - Why did you apply to the Marine Corps? (in DD case - ONLY NROTC MO)
    - Why do you want to become a Marine Officer?
    - What strengths do you think you will bring to the Corps?
    - Tell me about adversity you have overcome
    - What will you do if you do NOT win this scholarship?
    - Why is this important to you?
    - Why you?

    2nd interview was not a formality. But it was conducted over the phone by a Reserve Major that mainly asked DD about her desire to fly and what her school selections were, etc. My thinking was it was not as intense by design and more to see if there were any slip ups/guard down moments.

    My takeaways:

    I. More than any other service the Corps wants to KNOW your DS/DD wants to be a Marine.

    * Disclaimer. As a Marine I concur. this is not to start a post war/counter comment. This is my honest evaluation. You are 'in' every other branch. But in the Corps you ARE a Marine. Being a Marine is part of your identity forever. That is why it is called 'earning the title' and is guarded jealously.

    II. While I believe they understand certain applicants are applying to multiple channels (SA, AROTC, AFROTC) there is a cachet to an applicant that 'stakes it all' on earning the title 'US Marine' vs 'shot gunning' approach. That said - I suspect you will hear from many other families here their DS or DD applied to several channels and were successful in gaining NROTC MO.

    III. Be prepared for the 'standard' questions "Why do you want to be a Marine" and demonstrate some knowledge of the Corps special history and place in the world. BUT more importantly - the interview is your DD/DS place to shine on the character trait - that special 'thing' that makes them unique, makes them stand out from the crowd. Do NOT brag. Do SHOW (by deeds) how you fit the mold of what the Corps is looking for.

    What is that mold? Simple to see - observe the Corps' advertising: "Most people run away from the smoke … some run towards it. The Few. The Proud. The Marines."

    What about your DD/DS makes them run to the smoke?

    DD practiced with several Marine Officers & spouses prior to the actual interview.

    When the interview came the S.O. already 'knew' her from her application, essays and her phone calls and emails.

    DD, with our tutelage, assembled an 'interview' wardrobe from local thrift shops of navy Blue Blazer, linen khaki tourers, nice black shined shoes and simple white blouse. She looked professional. Most interviews are decided in the first 60 seconds. Impressions matter. Dress for success.

    DD explained her desire to earn the title. She gave the SO her reasons why. She was sincere, 'hungry' and open about her desire to 'earn the title.'

    Her quote "With all due respect Sir, you and the selection board have the say on whether I commission through ROTC. BUT I have the say so over whether I earn the title or not. And, respectfully, if I do not receive the scholarship I will enlist and earn the title that way. But either way … I will be a Marine!"

    Was that over the top? Not if you knew the background of our DD. We adopted her at age 12. She had experienced the worst in life until then. Her application addressed this directly. She discussed this with the SO in her interview.

    You cannot mimic my DD's answers. Your DD/DS CAN find their 'One Thing' that will SHOW the SO and the Corps why they will run towards smoke.

    DD was selected 1st round and given one of only 4 slots to VMI.

    She had green lights across the board on her PFT (285), GPA (4.0 weighted 4.23) dual college credits, spartan races, extreme outdoors woman.

    HOWEVER she miscued on her ACT test (she had a severe cold/flu the day she took it) and she mistakenly filled in her test off by one line for a portion of the exam. Initially her ACT score was only a 22. (Later re-scored but she had already been selected by then)

    The morale is - despite an ACT of only 22 she won the scholarship in the 1st round. I believe she did so on three primary components of the overall application:

    1. The interview.
    2. Her essays in her application.
    3. She ran her PFT with a cold/flu and 'gutted it out' and still scored 285.

    This is not a brag. Please understand that. Though I am understandably proud of her - I am more interested on showing the way, on this forum, for future NROTC MO candidates to see what worked.

    1,2 & 3 above demonstrated DD character. They showed she has 'grit' They showed she did her homework. They showed she has that special 'it' the Corps is looking for that led them to believe she will 'run towards smoke.'

    Study the Marine Corps Core values (Honor, Courage, commitment) and focus your DD/DS essays, application, and interview prep on convincing the SO your candidate deserves the chance to 'earn the Title'

    Always faithful
  3. intruder533

    intruder533 5-Year Member

    Jan 27, 2012
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    Thank you for the great response and congrats to your daughter

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