Don’t #12: Try not to be obsequious around your college interviewer

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

Coronation Of The Emperor Napoleon

Another bonus SAT word! Obsequious means “eager to please,” usually to a fault. It’s the opposite of contentious.

We tend to become obsequious when faced with authority figures who have something we really want.

The rationale for being obsequious during your college interview might look something like this: This college is prestigious. The person sitting across from me has a say in whether I get in. If I suck up, she’ll like me. If she likes me, she’ll give me a positive evaluation.

Remember, though, that the interview is a conversation, not a coronation. You’re not there to kiss this person’s ring, however much power you think she may hold over you and your destiny. You’re trying to show that you’re well on your way to becoming a thoughtful, confident adult. That’s what the interviewer is looking for. Not a simpering kit who turns his belly up at any sniff of authority. Sure, you want to be courteous, but definitely not submissive.

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