Millikin School of Education’s Interview Bootcamp gets student-teachers prepped for upcoming job interviews

Big Blue alums and current School of Education students networked and conducted mock interviews during the event.

Interview Bootcamp

DECATUR, Ill. – For the Millikin University School of Education (SOE) senior students counting the weeks until the Spring Commencement ceremony, their final semester is typically filled with a valuable student-teaching experience that provides vital in-class experience and a first-hand look at what their career path has in store for them. 

Another key milestone for those Millikin students is the annual Interview Bootcamp, which brings former School of Education Millikin alums back to campus to give advice and quiz the student-teachers during three mock interviews to prepare them for the real thing in their job search. 

Millikin’s future teachers gathered in the University Commons on Tuesday, Feb. 27 to participate in the 2024 Interview Bootcamp event. The student-teachers had a packed schedule, including a question-and-answer panel discussion with alumni, three 15-minute mock interview sessions, and opportunities to pick up resume tips. 

Millikin senior Elementary Education major Taylor Young gained some confidence in what the job interviews will be like 

‘The main thing I took away is that it's not so much question and answer. It is very much like a conversation that made me feel a lot more confident,” Taylor said. “Being able to share myself as a person and as an educator, as well as my strengths when it comes to teaching, it made me feel better about the process.”

Interview Bootcamp
Millikin senior Taylor Young (right) takes part in the School of Education's Interview Bootcamp.

Getting to mingle with Millikin alums who serve in a variety of administrative and teaching roles around Illinois had Taylor looking forward to someday taking part in an Interview Bootcamp as an interviewer rather than an interviewee. 

“I've met a few of the alumni before today, and the fact that we are all still so connected, even after leaving, is great. I'm looking forward to being an alum myself,” Taylor said. “I'm not ready for graduation, but at the same time, I am ready to be somebody that the School of Education can look to and want that alumni connection. I’m looking forward to being able to come back and share my knowledge.”

The teaching job market continues to be hot, and senior Secondary Education major Olivia Cooper recently found success in her first job interview, accepting a position in the Rochester School District. 

“I started applying in January and heard back from some schools. I applied to Rochester, and they reached out to me very soon afterward. It was the first job interview I've ever had, and it went really well. I got a call a week later saying that they were offering me the position." Olivia said. “I thought it over for a couple of days, and I really thought this would be a good first place for me, so I accepted it. It was a very smooth process.”

Interview Bootcamp
Millikin's School of Education students went through mock interviews with alums at the Interview Bootcamp.

Cooper is originally from Mount Pulaski, Ill., and is doing her student teaching at Sangamon Valley High School in Niantic this semester. She feels that the in-class experiences she’s had since her first semester at Millikin have prepared her well for moving into her new career. 

“We started with our internships in our freshman year, and it has continued all the way up to now,” Olivia said. “I think Millikin has done an excellent job at preparing us.”