Don’t #1: Try not to be rude, even inadvertently

This article is part of a series, 10 Tips for Acing Your College Interviews.

puff off

It almost goes without saying that being intentionally rude will not endear you to the interviewer or the people she works with.

The admission people want to see that you have the disposition to play well with others.

After all, you’ll be joining a fairly tight-knit college community. They want to see that you care enough about the place to show respect to those around you.

But few people are intentionally rude, unless there are extenuating circumstances, like they just got stuck in a traffic jam, they’ve just been insulted, or they forgot to eat breakfast.

That being said, it’s a universal fact that (speaking generally, of course!), teenagers are masters of what we snarky geezers like to call aggressive passivity. It’s a form of revolt against the insufferable constraints of the absurd adult world.

Here are some of the ways to be aggressively passive at a college interview by ignoring rules of etiquette:

  • showing up late
  • wearing inappropriate clothing
  • not standing up when greeted by the interviewer
  • giving a limp handshake
  • giving terse answers to questions
  • asking questions about the school easily answered by the website
  • slumping in the chair
  • excessively crossing the arms
  • not making eye contact
  • mumbling.

All in all, being dismissive of the unspoken rules of interaction between adults—whether intentionally or not—will not sit well with your interviewer. Make a commitment to play the role of interviewee to the best of your knowledge and ability. Or don’t set up the interview in the first place.

Dr. Sean

Dr. Sean

Co-Founder at Readerly
Dr. Sean has over a decade of teaching experience at universities in the US and Asia. He earned a BA with honors from Columbia University and a PhD from the University of London. You can read more about his teaching and research here.
Dr. Sean