For students and families, the private school admissions interview can seem overwhelming. Follow our tips for a stress-free interview.
Regardless of the context, the word, interview, can incite much fear and anxiety. For students hoping to win over the administrators of their dream private school, the interview seems like yet another hoop to jump through. It helps to remember that while the interview is important, it’s just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to admissions. Other pieces include report cards and test results – standardized or admission. In the interview, administrators are simply seeking a clearer view, beyond the paper application, of whether or not a student is a good fit for the school and vice versa. So don’t panic! Use the following tips to help your student have a stress-free private school interview:
- To the extent possible, find out the interview format ahead of time. Private schools’ interview processes differ. Some interview the child only – with or without the parents present, some interview both at once or consecutively. Some are very formal, some informal. For instance, elementary interviews tend to consist more of observation – of how the child interacts with their parents or other students.
- Do your research before applying to the school. The more you and your child know and understand about the school beforehand, in terms of academics, extracurriculars, general environment and other pertinent details, the less likely the chance of being caught off guard during the interview.
- Provide as much information as possible prior to the interview – e.g., reference letters, short statements about the child’s abilities, interests, goals and learning style (prepared by you or the child). This information will both supplement and help administrators better prepare for the interview.
- Practice with your child. Schools are looking for students with such desirable characteristics as a love of learning, willingness to contribute to the school community and a generally pleasant demeanour. Practice will help your child clearly and comfortably express their strengths and interests.
- Ensure that your child doesn’t simply memorize and regurgitate talking points. While having some key points in mind, it’s important to speak from the heart. To foster this authenticity, be sure to involve your child in every step of the school search process and take their preferences into consideration.
- Be prepared with questions of your own. The interview process is a two-way street, a time for you and your child to figure out how well your child would do at the school (academically, socially, etc.). Take the time to come up with thoughtful, intelligent questions for administrators.
Once you’ve helped your child prepare, relax! A stress-free private school interview is just around the corner.
* * * * *
Were private school interviews really as stressful as you expected? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.