hbrady

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Mar 2, 2019
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15
Before my NROTC Interview I was looking through the forums for any advice I could find. Most threads weren’t up to date and there wasn’t a lot of information about what women should wear for the interview, so I thought that I’d drop my two-cents here.

Interview Tips

  1. Be overqualified
This may sound obvious, but your interview is going to be ten times less stressful if you are overqualified. If you are overqualified, to some degree, the interview is just meant to determine if you are a “regular” person. To help “overqualifiy” yourself, do all the obvious things such as take (and perform well in) challenging classes, get those SAT/ACT scores as high as possible, be in good physical condition, and have good leadership roles.

  1. Bring your life on paper
It cannot hurt to give more information than needed. Personally, I brought my congressional nomination recommendation letters (I applied to service academies as well so I had these), my high school transcript, the transcript for a class I took online over the summer, my resume, and a sheet listing my current classes for senior year and my classes for next semester as well as my AFA scores. It might seem like overkill, but my interviewer skimmed through what I brought before the interview started and I believe found the information helpful.

  1. Dress the part
This is subjective, but here’s my take:
  • You don’t need to be super formal. For guys, this means that you don’t need a suit, and for girls this means that you don’t need a skirt, or anything of that matter. Since it was winter during my interview and I interviewed in a cold area, I tailored my outfit toward that. I wore black jeans (they didn’t look like jeans—definitely more along the lines of nicer pants). I wore a very simple maroon sweater with a simple, brown trench coat. I wore simple brown wedges, small pearl earrings, and a simple grey necklace.
  • For my hair, I twisted the front part of my hair back on one side into a low bun (think a simpler, more practical version of Emma Watson’s hair as Belle). I fidget with my hair a lot when it’s down, so it was crucial for me to have it pulled back. Since my hair is longer, a bun looked cleanest and most professional. The twist in the front was practical since I have a lot of stray hairs, and it made my hair look more interesting.

I chose to take a more casual, but still very presentable and professional approach because it is what I was comfortable in, and it was truer to who I am. I am an eighteen year old girl. I feel like it would be strange to be wearing super formal business attire.

Secondly, my interviewer interviewed me in a flannel and jeans. If I was wearing something super formal I think we both would have felt a bit uncomfortable.
  1. Be prepared
You will be asked questions such as “why do you want to join the military/your branch?” and “what do you want to do?”

You really need to have a solid answer to these questions (especially for NROTC since it is a question in the application). If you don’t, you probably should not be applying to ROTC.

If you interview well, minimal practice is required. If you don’t interview well—practice. Also, don’t be afraid to actually take a moment to think about what you want to say—a quick answer doesn’t necessarily mean a better outcome. You might think of a better response later and too many very quick answers could potentially seem scripted. Being contemplative isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

  1. Be confident
Confidence is key...as cliche as that is. Be confident, enthusiastic, and personable. You can’t go wrong with that trio!


Important Things

  • If possible, try and interview at your top choice school. An in person interview is best (though understandably not always possible), but many schools are willing to do FaceTime, Skype, etc. interviews. If an officer is interviewing you at their NROTC unit and they’re not your top choice they will most likely feel that to some degree, the interview isn’t meaningful for them. If they’re not even in your top five list, that’s even worse!
  • Arrive early if possible—do not be late!
  • Ask questions at the end, but make sure they’re meaningful questions


Best of luck to everyone and I hope that this helps!
 

SunnyCal

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Joined
Apr 7, 2017
Messages
89
I personally would have omitted bringing the "congressional nomination recommendation letters" to the interview. It may turn off the interviewer into believing that the NROTC was your 2nd choice or backup plan. I would instead want to impress upon the interviewer that the NROTC was my main focus. As an analogy, you would not apply to Facebook and brag to your interviewer that you also applied to Google and Apple.

When I did my interview with the Army ROTC, I took my physical fitness assessment scorecard and my interviewer actually kept it. Definitely recommend bringing your score to the interview and show off your fitness.

I wore a suit and a tie.

My 2 cents.
 

hbrady

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Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
15
I personally would have omitted bringing the "congressional nomination recommendation letters" to the interview. It may turn off the interviewer into believing that the NROTC was your 2nd choice or backup plan. I would instead want to impress upon the interviewer that the NROTC was my main focus. As an analogy, you would not apply to Facebook and brag to your interviewer that you also applied to Google and Apple.

When I did my interview with the Army ROTC, I took my physical fitness assessment scorecard and my interviewer actually kept it. Definitely recommend bringing your score to the interview and show off your fitness.

I wore a suit and a tie.

My 2 cents.

I agree in general about the nom letters. However, in my case I felt that they were important for two reasons.
1. I found out about NROTC late. I didn't want my interviewer to think that I knew nothing about the military and was only interested in NROTC for the money.
2. The female retention rate for NROTC is pretty low. I wanted my interviewer to know that I was committed to the service.
 

Tbpxece

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Nov 13, 2018
Messages
770
I agree in general about the nom letters. However, in my case I felt that they were important for two reasons.
1. I found out about NROTC late. I didn't want my interviewer to think that I knew nothing about the military and was only interested in NROTC for the money.
2. The female retention rate for NROTC is pretty low. I wanted my interviewer to know that I was committed to the service.
You were completely correct to bring those nomination letters (and any other documentation that helps make your case).

ROTC (any branch) does not view SA applications as hostile competition. As long as you presented well, and didn't come across as an arrogant know-it-all, any military officer understands that letters of nomination and/or recommendation letters are important-- not something that would indicate a lack of commitment. If you have a strong enough package to be congressionally nominated to an SA, then it would be unusual for you to not to explore that route.

Letters of recommendation will play an important role throughout your career, and will be critical in certain applications for various schools and career-broadening opportunities. Never be embarrassed by them and never assume people automatically know about them.

Again, good luck to you and thanks for your willingness to serve!
 

SunnyCal

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Apr 7, 2017
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89
You guys are great passive aggressive entertainment value. :wiggle:

Merry Christmas! 🎁🎁🎁
 
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galactica

New Member
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Jun 3, 2019
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To add to your list of tips, for those of you wondering what kind of questions are asked during the interview, the gentleman who conducted my interview just read off of a list of leading questions which could be found here.
 

shock-n-awe

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May 12, 2015
Messages
489
The OP gave some great pointers! Many kids apply to both ROTC and the SAs. That is what highly motivated Candidates who know they want to commission and serve, and are less concerned on how they get to that end goal. Many may have a preferred top pick school, Branch etc..in the beginning, may not get their top pick, plan to reapply and realize that plan B or even C is where they are now most happy to be at!
Back to the ROTC interview, for DS it was a long interview. He told the PMS his plans upfront, and that his top goal was to attend an SA and why. They discussed everything ROTC had to offer and the many great benefits as well. The interviewer was impressed enough that he basically told DS good luck at the Academy, we would love to have you here though. Being open and honest about your goals and preferences is fine as long as you can articulate how /why you feel that way. In other words a statement such as “I’ve always wanted to go to ———since I was seven years old”. Does not prove your point! So as @hbrady said, know your stuff!
Once again for those lurking, any interview in this process is absolutely critical for you to Ace it. Don’t take it lightly, and prepare both your overall package as well as yourself to hit a home run!
 

Jarhead713

Junior Mod
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Mar 21, 2019
Messages
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If I'm not mistaken, for AROTC, your PMS has access to your entire file. (Remember, you select whether or not you're competing for appointment.) So they may already know. (Not sure for NROTC though)

It can go both ways, seeking appointment can show an interviewer that you're serious about becoming an officer. Or, they think you're just making backup plans. (I don't think that's a common mentality though.)

IMHO, I think showing your SA nomination shows a PMS you're serious. But, here's my advice: If they bring it up: DONT LIE. If they don't bring it up, use your judgement on whether or not to mention it.

When I did my PMS interview the subject never came up, so I just didn't mention it. When I was asked why I drove so far to interview at Ole Miss when there was a host school much closer to my house, I simply said "Ole Miss is where I've wanted to go since I was in the 7th grade. When I saw the success of (their) ROTC programs, and the success of the Lott Leadership Institute and Poly Sci program, it was a no brainer." And when I was asked why I wanted to be an officer, I just stated "All three of my grandfathers did it. I'd kind of be a [you know what] not to.” Please note: This question was asked while we were on a golf cart touring the campus. ;)

But again, the main purpose of your interview is ROTC, so show enthusiasm for the school and battalion. Use good judgement. Demonstrate your desire to be an officer, and also to attend your school.

Good luck!
 
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hbrady

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
15
If I'm not mistaken, for AROTC, your PMS has access to your entire file. (Remember, you select whether or not you're competing for appointment.) So they may already know. (Not sure for NROTC though)

It can go both ways, seeking appointment can show an interviewer that you're serious about becoming an officer. Or, they think you're just making backup plans. (I don't think that's a common mentality though.)

IMHO, I think showing your SA nomination shows a PMS you're serious. But, here's my advice: If they bring it up: DONT LIE. If they don't bring it up, use your judgement on whether or not to mention it.

When I did my PMS interview the subject never came up, so I just didn't mention it. When I was asked why I drove so far to interview at Ole Miss when there was a host school much closer to my house, I simply said "Ole Miss is where I've wanted to go since I was in the 7th grade. When I saw the success of (their) ROTC programs, and the success of the Lott Leadership Institute and Poly Sci program, it was a no brainer." And when I was asked why I wanted to be an officer, I just stated "All three of my grandfathers did it. I'd kind of be a [you know what] not to.” Please note: This question was asked while we were on a golf cart touring the campus. ;)

But again, the main purpose of your interview is ROTC, so show enthusiasm for the school and battalion. Use good judgement. Demonstrate your desire to be an officer, and also to attend your school.

Good luck!

These are some good points!

I believe that the NROTC interviewer has access to your file as well, and I am positive that when you fill out the application, you mark any service academies/other ROTC services that you are applying to.
 

5centsmom

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Feb 18, 2018
Messages
158
DS interviewed for NROTC and SA with officers who were (both times) in military dress attire (not working attire). SA interviewer actually commented on the candidate’s attire who departed as DS was arriving: shorts & t-shirt did not impress the interviewer with how serious the candidate was.

I imagine there are lots of regional and seasonal variables as to the particulars, but treating the interviewer with respect and seriousness is the aim.
 

Heatherg21

USNA mom Bacon Lover Dog Lover
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Jun 26, 2019
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1,290
Our DS did his NROTC interview at closest University, which happened to be his 5th choice. DS wore a suit and tie, shined shoes. He brought his resume with him, interviewer had it. Interviewer was an officer in uniform. Interviewer read from notes, questions were tough, multiple pronged and required detailed answers. Interviewer made notes as it occurred. 1st question out of the gate was "so U of ? is your 5th choice?????". Totally threw him off he said, and he thought it was going to go downhill from there. But at the end the interviewer said, hey, don't worry about it, this school wasn't in my top 5 either. Then he introduced him to another officer in the office who was a USNA grad. They both told him he did well.
Son said it was very tough interview, lasted an hour. Only 1 senator interview was harder. Good info on this forum as always.
 

Osprey

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Nov 30, 2018
Messages
111
Also, remember to bring your social security number. DS brought everything (resume, varsity letters, transcripts, NHS certificate, all-league certificate,etc) and made a copy of all docs that he left with the interviewer... but didn’t think to bring his social security number. Apparently the interviewer needed it to submit the packet. This delayed submission by a couple of days.

Interviewer could see some info on his portal, but not all. He interviewed local (not anywhere he applied). The fact that he didn’t apply to the school wasn’t an issue and didn’t come up.
 
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(DS talking to me over shoulder) One reason to wear the suit--18 year olds tend to stand up straighter, fidget less. He wore suit and tie to in person interviews; polo shirt on Skypes. He was VERY glad he wore the suit and tie to what was described as "final interview--bring a parent". Turned out to be an award ceremony with everyone in the command office packing into the conference room for the Regional commander's award, photos. After the award, they all filed by to shake his hand and say "Welcome to the Navy" and stated how many years they have served. He got a "command coin"--kind of a paperweight for the 5 state regional recruiting command. (Not entirely sure of that significance?)

Questions in the Skypes and command interview:
  • Why NROTC as opposed to other services?
  • What is your plan B if this doesn't work out?
  • What do you plan to study and why?
  • What do you think you want to do once you are serving and why?
  • What would you do if you were in uniform and an anti-military activist yelled something at you?
  • Name a time when you failed. What did you learn from it?
  • What is the most compelling reason you've heard for NOT becoming a Naval officer?
 
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