Stacie Bloom: How to Sell Yourself in a College Admissions Interview

In Chapter 5 of 19 in her 2011 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, Stacie Grossman Bloom answers "What Did Your Georgetown Admissions Experience Teach You About the Importance of Interviewing for Potential?" She notes the importance of interviewing skills, specifically the interpersonal, non-tangible element and its ability to give you an edge. Interviewing for a Georgetown PhD program, she learns how few spots exist and how competitive the selection process can be. The experience teachers her to believe in herself and be confident when faced with challenges.

Stacie Grossman Bloom is the Executive Director at the NYU Neuroscience Institute at NYU Langone Medical Center. Previously, she was VP and Scientific Director at the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS). She earned her PhD in Neurobiology and Cell Biology at Georgetown University and did a post-doctoral fellowship at Rockefeller University in New York City. She earned her BA in Chemistry and Psychology from the University of Delaware.


Erik Michielsen: What did your Georgetown admissions experience teach you about the importance of interviewing for potential?

Stacie Grossman Bloom: Interview skills are so super important and it’s always that interpersonal non-tangible element that gives you an edge I think over the competition. When I finally decided to go to graduate school and was interviewing for graduate school, I was not a qualified applicant. A lot of the people who I was competing against had pretty extensive laboratory experience, and the number of spots in the programs are very small. It’s not like a medical school class with two hundred people or a law school class with five hundred people. When you are going to a graduate school department there is usually five spots or eight slots or two spots. So the competition is pretty fierce. And, I really sold myself, I mean I went on my interview and I did everything short of begging to try to prove that I would succeed in school there. And after I was accepted, one of the women who was on the admissions team told me, “you know, you weren’t the most qualified applicant but we just knew you could do it.”

Erik Michielsen: How did that make you feel?

Stacie Grossman Bloom: You know, it made me realize that I should have the confidence to speak up for what I believe I can do and not to be embarrassed of it and not to step down from it.