36 Questions That Lead to Admission

Admissions interview questions can be notoriously absurd. We've compiled 36 here — 18 of which are real questions current Harvard students say they were asked during their admissions interviews for several elite colleges. Can you guess which ones?
By Scott P. Mahon and Harrison R. T. Ward

Eighteen of these are real questions that current Harvard students say they were asked during their admissions interviews for several elite colleges. Can you guess which ones?

1. What is the difference between the splat marks if I take a launcher and shoot an apple and an orange at a wooden fence? (UPENN)

2. How do you deal with the cold? (Cornell)

3. Who are you and why are you in my office? (Harvard)

4. If I were to read your 500 page autobiography, what would be on page 420? (UPENN)

5. So who would you have voted for in ’08? (Yale)

6. Are the replicants from Blade Runner people if they don't have souls? (Harvard)

7. So like if we admit you, you’ll attend right? (Cornell)

8. What type of products do you put in your hair? (UChicago)

9. Are you familiar with the idea of polygamy? (Brown)

10. Has anyone ever told you that you look like Trevor Noah? (Harvard)

11. Oh really, what club did your father belong to? (Harvard)

12. So, you’ve never heard of eating clubs? (Princeton)

13. How do you interpret the following proverb: a rolling stone gathers no moss? (Harvard)

14. Do you want a coffee from the Panera Bread next door? (Harvard)

15. So what brings you to the Big Apple? (Columbia)

16. What is your worst memory? (UPENN)

17. Do you also think this is a bit awkward, or is that just me? (Brown)

18. Do you personally change the oil in your car? (Georgetown)

19. Can you explain global warming to me? (Harvard)

20. What is your rap name? (UNC Chapel Hill)

21. Were you popular in high school? (Brown)

22. Follow up: Why do you think that was? (Brown)

23. Are people at your school mean? (Harvard)

24. What’s your favorite conspiracy? (Brown)

25. Do you have any nicknames? I.e. Speedy Sue, Handsome Harry. (Stanford)

26. Where do you stand on the whole Dershowitz thing? (Harvard)

27. What do you drive? (Princeton)

28. Present the story of your life in spoken movie-trailer format in five minutes or less. (Harvard)

29. Please perform a spoken word poem right now. (Harvard)

30. Where do you summer? (Princeton)

31. If you were only allowed to say three words in your whole life, what would they be? (UPENN)

32. If you are stuck on a deserted island what five survival tools would you use to escape? (Dartmouth)

33. Do you think OJ did it? (Vanderbilt)

34. If an axe fell on your head right now and you died, what do you think you'd be remembered for? (Yale)

35. Who is your favorite New Yorker staff writer? (Columbia)

36. Have you ever heard of the six degrees of Kevin Bacon? (Michigan)

Names of contributors: Christine Mui, Kiana Ziadkhanpour, Maliya V. Ellis, Talia M. Blatt, Millie Mae Healy, Eleanor V. Wikstrom, Simon J. Levien, Carrie Hsu, Jane Z. Li, Harrison R.T. Ward, Scott P. Mahon

— Staff writer Scott P. Mahon can be reached at scott.mahon@thecrimson.com and on Twitter at @scott_mahon.

— Staff writer Harrison R. T. Ward can be reached at harrison.ward@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Hurrison_.

Answer key: Real questions are 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14, 16, 19, 21, 22, 23, 25, 28, 29, 31, 34, 36