Almost every summer Ravenclaw hosts its Prefect in Training Program. The program allows Ravenclaws who are interested in becoming a reserve prefect and prefect a chance to find out what the job involves. After submitting applications, PiTs go through four tasks that are judged by the Head Prefects, DHoH, and HoH at the end of training. The top performers are hired as reserve prefects and eventually go on to represent Ravenclaw as prefects. We decided to write this article to provide people with a little additional information about the program from the perspective of someone who ran it for three years and from someone who successfully completed the program this past summer.
Ashley: Why does Ravenclaw have such a rigorous process that students must go through in order to become a reserve?
Kyrie: Ravenclaw has such a rigorous process because our prefects really are the best and in order to join their ranks, people need to be equipped to handle just about anything Sil and I can throw at them. There is no doubt in my mind that I could send every single one of our current prefects and reserves a message today asking for a complete month-long activity proposal by tomorrow and I would get 11 unique, fun, and well thought-out proposals back. The PiT process is rigorous enough that by the time you are a reserve/prefect, we can give you free reign to run activities and monitor nests with only minimal supervision from the administration.
Ashley: What qualities do you look for in applicants throughout the process?
Kyrie: The list is really endless and varies every round we do PiT based on the strengths of that group of candidates. We always look for hard workers, attention to detail, enthusiasm, creativity, friendliness, and the ability to work in a group. We also look for willingness to go through all of that training for a position you might not even get. Going back to the previous question, part of the reason it is so rigorous is to see who can tough it out and complete the entire program. Completing it is an accomplishment whether you are hired or not. Just the first task alone is over 30 questions!
Ashley: What stage of the process do you think is the most important for applicants to do well on?
Kyrie: Group work. It is always the hardest, but we have a really great system in place now. All group work must be done on an assigned forum so that we can see exactly who is doing what. At the end there is no “he said, she said” because we can go verify who actually said what and who actually did what. This allows us to evaluate the group work fairly and accurately.
Ashley: How do you judge all of the submissions in order to decide who you want to chose as reserves?
Kyrie: We look at so many aspects. Beyond the submissions, we look at activeness on HOL, attitude, year on HOL, other positions held, etc. Normally we award a score out of 10 to every submission and at the end we have an average score out of 10 for each candidate. This is a guideline for us to make our decision on. However, the other factors come into play and sometimes the top performing candidate, score-wise, is not the top pick.
Ashley: If you could give Ravenclaws thinking about applying to PiT in the future one piece of advice regarding how to do well in PiT and impress you, what would you tell them?
Kyrie: Follow directions! If you are asked to do something a certain way, do it! This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t be creative. Most tasks are worded in a way that it is very obvious what we expect of them, but the PiTs still have room for creativity and to make it their own. Also, I stress this every year, but there are still people who don’t do it, if you need help whether you don’t understand something or you aren’t sure your idea is good, send us a message! If you are a reserve or prefect and get into a similar situation, we expect you to follow the chain of command and go to the Head Prefects. If you are stuck and don’t know what to do and give me that as your answer, that is a major red flag and you will not get any points from me. However, if you message and ask for help, you are likely to get full points if your submission follows the rules.
Ashley: If someone goes through PiT and is not chosen as a reserve, what is your advice to them for the future?
Kyrie: PLEASE apply again! There have been so many Ravenclaw prefects who have done amazing things that were not selected the first time. You might have been one point short of the cut-off point for reserve prefect and if you try again, you may very well be hired! You will already be familiar with the process and therefore have a leg-up on the competition. Just because we don’t hire you the first time doesn’t mean the next time will have the same result. In fact, coming back for another go will just prove your dedication and desire to become a Ravenclaw prefect.
Kyrie: Why did you decide to apply for PiT?
Ashley: During my first five years on HOL I was always jealous of Ravenclaw activities and how smoothly Ravenclaw was run. As soon as I joined Ravenclaw I knew I wanted to be a part of this awesome staff!
Kyrie: What surprised you most about the process?
Ashley: I was surprised from the very beginning of the process. I knew there was a whole process that I would have to go through in order to become a reserve, but I thought that the application was just a “hey, I would like to apply to be a part of this” kind of thing. I didn’t really put a lot of effort into the application because I didn’t realize that I would be judged from the very beginning! I was also really surprised at the amount of work involved in PiT. The process really gives you insight into (almost) everything you may encounter or have to do as a reserve prefect / prefect, so there are a lot of stages and a lot of work involved.
Kyrie: How was it different from your experience in Slytherin?
Ashley: During my last year in Slytherin I was a Promising Student (their equivalent of a Reserve Prefect). In order to become a Promising Student, all I had to do was submit a brief application and answer a few questions. It was a lot less work than Ravenclaw for sure, but I think that Ravenclaw’s process definitely not only makes sure that only the best are chosen for the position, but that those chosen are also prepared with the knowledge to do their very best at the job.
Kyrie: What was the hardest part of PiT?
Ashley: The hardest part of PiT for me was probably the groupwork. You know you are being judged based on your work so you want your finished project to be the best, and yet you don’t want to completely take over the group and be looked upon as bossy and unwilling to work with others. It was sometimes difficult to balance wanting to do well and go with what I think will work the best, and letting others share their opinions and sometimes having to compromise.
Kyrie: What was the easiest part of PiT?
Ashley: The easiest part of PiT for me was either the creation of the spreadsheet or writing the newsletter. I’m not the most creative person in the world so creating activities was a bit difficult. These two tasks were very straightforward and involved a little more organization and a little less creativity than some of the other tasks, so it was easier for me. However, if you love being creative, you may find yourself thinking the opposite of what I thought!
Kyrie: About how much time did you spend on PiT work?
Ashley: I probably spent a couple of hours on each task. (Granted, I will readily admit that I probably spent more time working on PiT than I should have because I did a lot of complaining about the amount of work it involved instead of actually working on it.) The amount of time I spent working on PiT probably accurately translates to the amount of time needed to dedicate to the job if you are made a reserve prefect (or eventually, prefect).
Kyrie: How well do you think it prepared you to be a reserve and then prefect?
Ashley: PiT prepared me so much to become a reserve and then prefect. Even though I had been around HOL for five year when I applied to be a part of PiT, and even though I was a Promising Student in Slytherin for a year, there was so much that I learned while going through the process. PiT definitely ensures that new Ravenclaw prefects are much more experienced and qualified than new prefects in any other house! After going through PiT, I knew exactly what was expected of me as a reserve, and then as prefect. I also left PiT with an awesome activity in my back pocket that I may run at some point in the future!
Kyrie: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to apply to PiT in the future?
Ashley: Make sure you have the time! It really is a time commitment, not only to go through PiT, but also if you are chosen. If you are chosen as a reserve, you’ll have added responsibilities in Ravenclaw, and then if you become a prefect you have those and also responsibilities in HOL. Make sure you have the time required to accomplish everything that is going to be asked of you. If you are a Ravenclaw who is considering getting more involved in the house, consider applying to PiT. Although it is a time commitment and does require a fair bit of effort, it is definitely worth it as you get to know other staff members and plan awesome things for our wonderful house!