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Quizbowl Collegiate Recruiting

Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:20 pm
by minusfive
It's the season for applications to graduate/undergraduate programs (at least in Canada), so in light of this, I was wondering if people had thoughts on quizbowl, programs, and recruiting? What should (quizbowl savvy) applicants look for? What should they ask about? And should quizbowl skills even be mentioned in student applications?

Re: Quizbowl Collegiate Recruiting

Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:07 am
by marnold
I used quizbowl as the main part of my law school application essay and it came up pretty often during firm interview season this fall. The most important thing to understand is no one will give a shit at all about quizbowl per se, only as it indicates abilities that schools or employers actually care about. So the stuff I put in my essay and on my resume were (1) club leadership titles and (2) descriptions of shiny championships, then during conversations (3) I described some of the skills and habits studying might require. For me, this was sort of out of necessity (I didn't really do that much else activity-wise in undergrad), so if you have other stuff on your resume that looks less weird I might emphasize that more, but it can be framed well if you connect it to other skills. Also, it doesn't hurt to be a bit self-deprecating about it.

Re: Quizbowl Collegiate Recruiting

Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:31 am
by Cheynem
I have no idea how well received this is, but on my annual report I submit to my department detailing my grad student activities, there's a section for "Community Involvement," and I typically mention that I help run/volunteer at "academic competitions" or something like that.

Re: Quizbowl Collegiate Recruiting

Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:03 am
by Skepticism and Animal Feed
I no longer have quizbowl on my resume, but back when I did and interviewers asked me about it, my go-to talking point was that it taught me how to work with difficult people. I would explain how quizbowl programs can't succeed unless they cooperate, then I described some of the difficult personality traits that appear more common in quizbowlers than in the general population. This strategy plays into the pre-existing notion of quizbowl as something for weirdos that most non-quizbowlers probably have and then turns it around to work in your favor.

Usually people didn't follow up on that, but I did have one callback interview where an interviewer became absolutely fascinated with quizbowl and we ended up spending over a half hour talking about the ins and outs of the distinction between "religion" and "mythology" in the RMP distribution. (Believe it or not I got the offer). But these are very rare and you're much more likely to make somebody think you're weird than impress somebody if you do that.

Being a member of a quizbowl team involves a lot of working in small teams, leadership of small teams, and project management. These are all desirable traits and you should focus on those.

Re: Quizbowl Collegiate Recruiting

Posted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 12:21 pm
by Edmund
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:I no longer have quizbowl on my resume, but back when I did and interviewers asked me about it, my go-to talking point was that it taught me how to work with difficult people. I would explain how quizbowl programs can't succeed unless they cooperate, then I described some of the difficult personality traits that appear more common in quizbowlers than in the general population. This strategy plays into the pre-existing notion of quizbowl as something for weirdos that most non-quizbowlers probably have and then turns it around to work in your favor.

...

Being a member of a quizbowl team involves a lot of working in small teams, leadership of small teams, and project management. These are all desirable traits and you should focus on those.
Yes, I'd say this is pretty much it. I did a round of job applications last year, and I had quite a lot of quiz stuff on my CV because it's the extra-curricular activity where I've spent most time organising, in positions of responsibility, etc. Particularly highlighting how difficult to organise quizzers can be was helpful - at least it usually raises a laugh. And as Bruce says, the soft skills associated with actually being involved in a quiz society and being successful going to tournaments are very much what your average employer is looking for.