CyanIdes Of March wrote: HorseThief wrote: Morgan2012 wrote:
dubster101 wrote:Is there a thread where people discuss their JS1 experiences/questions and how to best prepare? I've been searching for a while but can't find it (if it exists). Any help/guidance would be appreciated!
Not really, but feel free to PM.
Same, feel free to PM.
I've gotten quite a few PMs but I don't mind answering any questions people might have about my interview.
Here are a few tips I think you should consider in terms of your JS1 (anyone who disagrees or would like to expand on any of these points, please do!).
I think it's very important that you answer honestly. If you are asked about what your biggest challenge at law school/Harvard will be, don't give an answer you think they want to hear. Be honest. You don't have to admit your deepest, darkest secrets (and you shouldn't) but you should stick relatively close to the truth so that you sound genuine. Be sure not to sound like you're giving catered, pandering responses.
Remember, law school is not undergrad. This is an institution for adults and professionals. When anticipating their questions and your responses, and when preparing questions of your own, take a step back and think if this is a mature answer/question. Is this something that might be more appropriate for an undergrad interview rather than a law school interview? Feel free to be lighthearted. This is more about content than tone.
Show that you are thinking about the long term, as well as the short term. In addition to preparing responses for questions like "What do you see yourself doing after law school?" and "What would constitute a successful career in law for you?" (these are different questions although your answers can be similar), demonstrate your thoughtfulness in your question time. How has the career services office adapted to the different reality of legal employment? What type of support is there for alumni? (Don'e fixate on the future, definitely ask questions about the school itself and the law student experience and lifestyle, but maybe have one or two thoughtful future-oriented questions prepped.)
Don't drag out your answers. You can take a beat after a question is asked to answer concisely and appropriately. You can tell your stories but don't let one narrative dominate your precious interview time (you can tell by this post that I have a major problem with this)!
Take a shot of your favorite liquor before the interview. NOT REALLY (unless you want to). But it's important that you don't seem too nervous or on edge. I honestly think Skype interviews are the hardest in this respect. When I have a phone interview, I'm able to pace and to gesticulate as wildly as I normally do (a characteristic that my friends always comment on). If I'm nervous during a phone interview, I can channel the nerves into my physical actions instead of my voice and answers. I knew a guy who told me that he rubs his stomach during phone interviews for college and jobs because the repetitive motion and sensation calms him down. He is a weird dude but it worked for him! Also, in in-person interviews you are much more able to read your interviewer's body language and react accordingly. With Skype, both you and the interviewer are in a pretty small defined space. I was very self-conscious about what she was able to see and if I was in the right spot, etc. During my alumni interviews for other schools, being in the same room and not feeling so confined to a 2'x2' area was a lot more comfortable for me. Skype is also hard because you do want to show your interest by emphasizing and conveying certain points with your body language. Skype gives the false impression that you should be able to do so, but I found it difficult to do without looking spastic in such a small window (why would I be emphasizing my point with my hands up by my face? and I don't want my hands flickering around at the bottom of the screen as a constant distraction). Just feel comfortable and try and frame yourself so that you are able to strike a good balance. And definitely don't sit there and stare at yourself. Look into the camera so that there is eye contact but feel free to glance at yourself or your interviewer at times.
I don't think I hit it out of the ballpark by any means during my interview. I didn't take any of my own advice^ but I've been thinking about it so I can learn from the experience and do better next time.
Most importantly, remember that you got an interview at Harvard! That's awesome! I was shocked when I got the interview request. Don't let it make you nervous, take it as encouragement!
TL;DR - Some advice. Be genuine. Content should be mature/law school appropriate. Show you are thinking about the long-term. Be concise. Don't be nervous. Understand the limits of Skype. And most importantly, you rock!
edit: a word