Dean's List Interview

So, the Dean’s List interview is going to be online in Zoom platform. For those who have already done the interview, how was it? What did they ask? I’m kind of nervous.

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Mine was pretty good. Don’t worry about the Zoom part of it, it was basically no different from the in person one at my district event. There’s tons of threads with practice questions on here that you can go through for practice. Don’t stress over it, it goes quickly. If you have a mental list of things you want to talk about, you can work those into your answers. Personally, I’d look at the Dean’s List criteria and think about how you exemplify those traits. They’re judging to see who fits those qualities, so you want to show how you resemble them


My team and I did a few practice interviews with our students. The questions they asked them were about how FIRST has affected them, if they plan on continuing FIRST after high school and other basic questions. When I did it last year, it was very similar questions.

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In my interview they looked for verification or more detail for things that were written in my essay. Besides that, they asked me if I will continue FIRST and how it has impacted me.
I did make a list of things I want to emphasize and things that weren’t written in my essay and it helped A LOT. But at the end of the day, it is about you being enthusiastic about what you do and showing that to the judges, so don’t stress about it too much and go in with a smile (:


I did my interview last Thursday and my questions consisted of “How have you been a leader on your team?”, “How do you deal with the lows of your team?”, “What do you plan on doing after High School?”. Questions that allow them to really get to know you. Also my mentor also did a practice interview beforehand which helped because you get the feel of the interview.

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I’ve been collecting the interview questions for several years now including ones from students this year:

I’m also happy to do practice interviews with students if you don’t have anyone. I was a finalist in 2017 and have been working and prepping students on a few teams since then.


I just read through this document, and this is a really great resource. I 100% recommend going through this. I also added some comments to the document based on my experience, as well as those that I’ve talked to that went through the process.

To OP:
As far as the zoom part, as far as I’ve heard, there have been slight connectivity issues for some, but it didn’t seem to hamper the interview. I wouldn’t worry about this too much.

If you feel nervous, thats 100% ok. I, and probably every other nominee, finalist, and winner ever felt nervous before their interview, it’s normal. just before you get on the call, take a deep breath in, and out, and know that your team nominated you for a reason: because they believe in you.


Thank you for your additions! I just incorporated them, and if you have anything else, let me know, and I’d be happy to add them.

Another thing on the Zoom, here’s an article on virtual interview etiquette that one of our mentors shared with our students:


I’d say the best thing you can do is not stress about it too much. Keep in mind you were nominated by your team for good reason. Spend some time looking at the deans list requirements on the first webpage, and try to build arguments in your head, or write down what you’ve done for your team, and why you deserve this. It can be a little stressful, and maybe a bit uncomfortable, but just try to be calm, and answer any questions to the best of your ability. I ended up doing my interview as only audio, no video, so I can’t speak super well to how that’s gonna play out, but it’s not too terrible. Try to remember you always will think you did worse than you actually did, so even if you feel bad about how you answered a question, the judges probably aren’t thinking the same thing.


I personally was not a huge fan of the virtual interview format, but at no fault of the interviewers themselves. Robotics competitions are where I feel the most home and am in my prime. I did get my cape out and some other game pieces I have to try and help set the mood, but it didn’t feel quite the same.

The interview went by very quickly, maybe too quickly but I think that would’ve been the case regardless. I had some pictures of everything, from mentoring with my FLL kids to being a student ambassador at the world championship that I was hoping to show as I talked about various things, but there was no time to bring them up and I couldn’t leave them for the judges to see. I was able to answer all of the questions, but it felt like a lot of what I do was not captured in the 7 minute interview.

My volunteer work and mentoring was not brought up once, and a lot of outreach that I’ve worked on was kind of glossed over. Being on a community team also made it difficult to answer some of the questions, in particular “How do you spread first in your school?” Since I’m not on school team, that was a bit of a challenging question to answer. I did talk about how I helped start a Robotics Honor Society at my school, as well as talked to the schoolboard 4 separate times about FIRST programs, but obviously that response is greatly different than someone whose school community is a large part of their FIRST one. If the question was about spreading FIRST in my community I could’ve answered more in depth, but I wanted to stay within the scope of the question.

Another question that really tripped me up is “When is a time you used gracious professionalism outside of FIRST, and how did it effect you and those around you?”. Because FIRST encompasses so much of my life, it was difficult to find examples outside of FIRST, even as hundreds of examples from within my FIRST career popped into my head. I ended up talking about how I used gracious professionalism to argue about human nature in my Western Civilization class, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the answer.

I also did not get a chance to talk about how I’ve responded since the closure of the season, and because it obviously happened after the deadline for the award submission they had no way to judge that.

Overall I do wish the interview had gone better, but I am still honored to have been nominated by my team. Everyone on the team are incredibly hard workers, and I could not be more proud to work alongside them. Congratulations to everyone who is moving on, and good luck to those who are yet to interview.


I just did the interview. I don’t know If I did well but I was really excited during it. It was a amazing experience, since I’m a Brazilian. It was my first time speaking with a foreign. The questions were really personal. I can’t wait to see the results.


One tip - make sure your answers are clear about what you personally did, as opposed to what your team did. I’ve found students tend to be used to being team-focused when talking to judges. In this context that isn’t the right strategy.


It would have, for sure. This is probably the #1 complaint about Dean’s List interviews is that they go by too quickly. But hey, my interview at Orange County in 2016 was about 25 minutes and nothing came of it and my interview at Idaho in 2017 was under 10 and I won the Finalist award. So the length really doesn’t matter, if you’re able to get out good content.

I’m sure your answer was just fine. This question is meant to do a few things. One, it wants to learn who you are as a person outside of FIRST. Everyone interviewing has one thing in common: they’re on a FIRST team. A question like this can be a window into your other interests, even if they don’t get nearly as much time as FIRST. Two, it wants to see if you can draw connections between what you do in FIRST and out of FIRST. As in, are FIRST lessons applicable in the rest of your life and will you remember them when you’re not on a FIRST team anymore. Third, as with every other question, they want you to relate it to FIRST even if they don’t ask. Again, though, I’m sure you did great.

This is another one of the most common complaints I’ve heard from people. My advice, in case it helps you in the future or anyone else who reads this, is figure out the key information you feel you must tell the judges before the interview. Then, do your very best to get out that information within the first two to three questions. Time goes by quickly, so if you don’t control the narrative from the beginning, it can be hard to get out all your content. It’s the same thing they tell authors going on TV: your first answer should promote your book, regardless of what the question is.

This is totally the right attitude. Kudos to you!

This is also the right attitude, right on!

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Hey, congrats to all you semi-finalists! Be sure to remember that what your mentors and teammates wrote about you in the nomination is also important, so don’t feel like everything is riding on the interview! The judges have other information about you as well. It’s a big honor to be nominated - it means you’ve got people who think highly of your contributions to the team and took the time to write it up. Keep being awesome!

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