Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ace that interview

Thanks to my loyal blog reader for highlighting this article.
I was cited by Ee Loo from The Star in this article.
A little background on this event. It was held at Descartes Educational Counseling Center, and organized by John Lee, with the support from DECC. Among those who were sharing there include Nathaniel Tan, John Lee, Yang Jerng, Andrew Loh, Eng Han, Emily, Adrian Lim, Hafiz. (Did I left out anyone?)


WHO is the one person you have read and heard of, but haven't met in person?"

If you can answer that question immediately, congratulations! But if you just stare at your interviewer blankly, then you've probably reduced your chances of entering an Ivy League university.

That is just an example of possible questions that Yeoh Chen Chow would ask a candidate during a university admission interview.

"We want to see how you respond to the question. However, don't get us wrong. We are not out to get you. In fact, we are here to help you," said the head interviewer for Cornell University, an Ivy League university in the United States.

Although the interview is not the only thing that determines a student's success or failure, candidates should ensure they make a positive impression when interacting with the interviewer.

"The outcome of the interview is usually the last thing the university looks at when processing a student's application. However, it can make a difference, especially for borderline cases," he said.

Yeoh, who graduated from Cornell in 2005, has been appointed by his alma mater to conduct the interview for undergraduate admission to assess a candidate's suitability.

Each session usually lasts between 30 minutes and an hour. This is followed by a dinner session where all the candidates sit down and socialise among themselves as well as with the interviewers.

Having a positive attitude, Yeoh said, is also important.

"I have to write an essay about each candidate after the interview. You have to make a good impression so that I remember you and can write extensively about you," he added, when met at a talk on American liberal arts education held in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, recently.
LOH: Do your homework and be yourself.

The panel at the discussion comprised current students and alumni from various American universities and liberal arts colleges. The topics covered ranged from financial aid to the advantages of studying in the United States.

Yeoh said that students should be knowledgable and well-read.

"Once, a candidate called and asked where the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre was," he said.

Andrew Loh, a third-year student at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, said students should do their homework and be themselves during an interview.

"I thought putting on an accent was cool but I was wrong," said Loh, recalling his interview experience. He also advised students to think carefully before answering the interviewer's question.

Before deciding which institution to apply to, students should take the campus culture into consideration, advised University of Chicago second-year student Adrian Lim.

"Each campus has its own culture. The Americans are very individualistic but love to share what they are passionate about. However, they are open-minded and that allows you to share your culture with them too," he said.

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