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Author: Subject: College Interview

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[*] posted on 7-4-2008 at 03:33
College Interview

The people from the college I'm applying to me tell me that seeing as I already have a fair amount of knowledge of chemistry and I'm highly interested in it that I should be accepted into the college after my interview alone regardless of the fact I never completed highschool. They say that if the interviewing sees how much knowledge and passion I have for the subject that I'll be automatically accepted.

I do have a bit of knowledge on the subject but I don't know what I'm going to say to them in the interview. I don't talk about chemistry to anyone because I don't know anyone else thats into it and when I try to talk about it nobody knows what the hell I'm talking about.

I figure some of the people here will be the best people to ask seeing as some of you are probably in university and have done interviews.

What I'm planning on saying is the truth. I'm going to tell them I'm interested in synthesizing organic molecules for different areas of industry such as the pharmaceutical, food and polymer industry. I'm going to tell them I have a passion for nuclear physics and chemistry because it is the study of the particles that make up the world.

I'm going to put alot of thought into this but I'm not that good at interviews. I'll need to be well prepared before I go in and have alot of stuff to say beforehand. I do have a passion for chemistry and nuclear physics but I have a hard time speaking my mind especially with limited time in an interview so I have to plan this in advance. I'll know how to answer the questions the interviewer asks but if they ask really general questions I won't know where to start.

Can any of you suggest some topics to discuss with the interviewer?
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[*] posted on 7-4-2008 at 04:03

I have never been at one such interrogati… I mean interview, but I would expect they will ask you a couple of ideological questions first (like: So, why do you want to study chemistry? Do you like science?), followed by a couple about your background (How much hours of chemistry you had in your previous school? Have you ever worked in a lab?). Then you might get specific questions regarding your level of knowledge about theoretical and practical chemistry. In short, get yourself the textbooks they use, see what they lecture, and check what their emphasis is on. But in general, though sadly the most important thing today, and not only in science, is to look like you know what you are talking about even when you don't. This works great since most teachers bluff about their knowledge as well, but it can backfire if they coincidentally do know or even worse, when they think they know.
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[*] posted on 7-4-2008 at 06:54

Originally posted by BogBiscuit They say that if the interviewing sees how much knowledge and passion I have for the subject that I'll be automatically accepted.

If they're discerning people, they'll pick up on your passion for chemistry.
Above all, relax; be yourself!
And if you do bluff (risky!), make sure it's in an area that interests you.

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[*] posted on 7-4-2008 at 08:59

One thing you just can't afford to mention is dope, or any other politically-demonised psychotropic!

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[*] posted on 7-4-2008 at 11:22

Back when I was in the same position, I let the interviewers know my
passion for math and physics and, judging by the results,.it worked.

I think that the most important thing to do, right after you meet the
interviewer, is to find out whether that person is a scientist or not
and proceed accordingly.

If you are fortunate enough to be interviewed by a scientist, then talk shop.
Saying more than a sentence or two about why you happen to be
passionate about science is pointless; get into specifics, such as your
interest in organic synthesis. For instance, if you say something like how
you have been fascinated by the total synthesis of salvinorin and, say,
have enough background to intelligently participate in the discussion
of that topic here, then that would be far more impressive than babbling
about particles which make up the world. You should be prepared to
back up your statement that organic chemistry and nuclear physics
fascinates you by showing that you are acquainted with the basics
of these fields.

At some point, ask the interviewer about his research. Not only will
most scientists be glad to say something about this, but intelligently
following what they say and asking appropriate questions shows
knowledge and competence. Even if the interviewer happens to be
a geologist or a botanist, I am quite sure there will be enough
common ground.

One of the best ways to be prepared for such an
interview would be to acquaint yourself with what sort of research the
organic chemists and the nuclear physicists are doing by looking them
up in journals, reading the departmental website, and the like. Work
this into the conversation --- it will automatically show that you are
knowledgeable and competent and makes for a point of connection.

The fact that you already are familiar with chemistry puts you way
ahead of the vast majority of applicants and, speaking as someone
who has had experience teaching physics in universities, most science
departments would be thrilled to have such a student. Hence, turn the
interview around. Why would you, as a budding young scientist, want
to attend their university rather than some other one? Maybe ask them
a bit about their science programs --- if nothing else, this will give you
a break from being grilled by listening instead.

If instead, your interviewer happens to be a historian, economist,
literary scholar or some such non-scientist, then you need to use
quite a different strategy. Technical language is likely only make
you come across as some sort of idiot savant geek. Rather, what
such people are more likely looking for is a well-rounded

For such an audience, you should babble about the particles
which make up the universe. Describe your interests in a
popularized style and steer the discussion towards the more
humanistic aspects of the subject. Talk about how discovering
the fundamental particles which make up the universe and
unraveling the mysteries of quantum mechanics must rank
as one of the highest achievements of the human spirit,
introduce historical remarks, talk about the place of science
in society and its economic impact, social attitudes towards
science and scientists (e.g. chemophobia), legal and political
issues, and the like. This way, you connect with the sort of
things which interest them and come across as an intelligent,
cultured, well-read individual. Your technical knowledge of
a difficult subject would then be the icing on the cake, making
you look like a super-genius.
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[*] posted on 7-4-2008 at 14:11

I neved did interviews for college (but I did talk about my passion for chemistry in my application essay), though I did have a few internship interviews this semester.

Like microcosmicus mentioned above, if you are talking to a scientist or engineer, you are very lucky.

If you're not, I think the most important thing to an interview (unfortunately) is, you have to tell them what they want to hear. It's sad, because as an engineers and scientistists, the truth is the most important thing to us. But to those less concerned with the persuit of absolute truth, the most important thing is knowing how to BS. Why they would want to surround themselves with bullshit (like when candidates really have no idea what they are talking about, but they pretend they do) is beyond me, but I guess that's how the world works... :o

Good luck! :D

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