ARecently I had the opportunity to work with two high school seniors. Both were stellar students with great GPA and ACT scores. One had a great outcome and the other, not so much.
This is really the tale of preparation more than the tale of the road not traveled. One student, we’ll name him Duke, came to me a week before an important interview. Although he was academically a very bright kid, he was not the most articulate. I had never worked with him before and I don’t think he had worked on his verbal skills. I worked with him three times in the week prior to the big interview. I am confident that he was improved as a result of our work. My magic wand does not really work. I can’t wave my wand and instantly transform a person from one level of skills to another.
The other student, we will name her Addie, gave up a summer day between her junior and senior year of high school to work on her verbal skills. When she contacted me ten days before two important college interviews, we had an additional week to build upon the foundation first established in the summer boot camp.
Duke was improved. Addie was excellent. Duke’s interview was OK. Addie soared.
No matter what age, there is no substitute for hard work. There is no substitute for putting in the time: not if you are 15, 25 or 50. Being good at communication skills is learned, no one comes out of the womb having great interview skills.
Today’s high school and college students are amazing. They are bright and much better read and experienced than prior generations. It doesn’t change the fact that there is no substitute for putting in the same work for interviews as ACT’s or the med school interview.