Friday, April 26, 2013

Lies and Implications

Have you ever stretched the truth at an interview? Did someone ask you if you think you might like to do  something, and you said yes even though you had no intention of doing it? And did answering "yes" at the time seem harmless because the interviewer would never find out whether you actually did that thing once you were accepted, and it wouldn't really matter anyway? Well, I've done it, and I've learned that these lies do come back to haunt you. Because answers have implications.
Some college interview questions:

Q: Do you think you'll play any intramural sports?
A: Yeah, maybe.
What this may imply:
-You enjoy being active.
-You enjoy group activities.
-You enjoy organized activities.
-You like to do things like this just for fun - playing against other schools in front of a big crowd is not essential.
-You will be able to manage doing an activity and still get your schoolwork done.
-You don't have any other deep interest that is going to consume your time to the point that you wouldn't be able to play an intramural sport. This includes just wanting a lot of unstructured time to yourself.

Q: Do you think you'd like to study abroad?
A: Sure, that sounds like fun.
What this may imply:
-You are okay being far away from home and having limited contact with family and friends.
-You are okay being away from the comforts of your home.
-You are flexible and okay with changes to your lifestyle and routine.
-You can afford to study abroad (even if you get financial aid, things like passports and vaccinations).
-You can academically afford to study abroad; if your school won't count the credits, you have extra AP credits or are willing to take extra classes.
-The first-year process - being in a new environment, getting a roommate you didn't pick, etc. - is acceptable enough that you're willing to go through it again.
-You have a very strong interest in another culture that outweighs any other issues.

Q: Do you think you'll write a senior thesis?
A: Yeah, maybe.
What this may imply:
-You are good at writing; writing a 100+ page paper sounds like something you could do.
-You have a topic of deep interest that you would want to spend a lot of time learning about.
-You like doing research.
-Your academic work is important to you; you're not just at school to have fun.
-You are willing to have less free time or give up other things you like to do in order to work on your thesis.

These are just a few examples, but you get the idea. I'm not saying that you should think about all these implications while you're answering a question; that would probably make you self-conscious and could actually prevent you from giving honest answers if you don't fit the profile of most people who like to do something that you like to do. But you should just be aware that when you stretch the truth a little, you might be saying more than you think you're saying. Even a small lie like, "Yeah, broomball sounds like fun," means more than that. It says, I'm the kind of person who thinks broomball is fun. And you don't know what that means. It's not that the person interviewing you is actually assessing you for all these related traits - it's that you may find that your school is designed for people who do want to play intramural sports or write a thesis or study abroad, and you may not fit in and like it there. If an honest answer of "No," is enough to not get you into the school, then it probably wasn't the right choice for you to begin with.

No comments:

Post a Comment