Elaine Danson is an Education Consultant at Danson and Associates in Toronto, Ontario.
We asked her several questions related to the issue of how to get into private school. We covered topics such as what schools look for, interviews, and parent involvement. Here’s what she had to say.
For more expert advice on a wide range of questions related to “getting in,” read our comprehensive guide. For valuable insights on the more general question of choosing the right school, read our in-depth education expert and parent interviews. You can also read our choosing guide.
Q: How can parents and students prepare for the interview? What should they know going in?
A: In terms of what to expect, the students and parents will be asked questions so that the school can get to know the student’s interests and how they will fit into what exists within the school. The word ‘interview’ can be overplayed, as this process is typically more like a friendly chat. That being said, good manners are still extremely important. You can prepare by thinking about what the student is interested in both outside and inside the school, and how the parents see themselves and their involvement in the community.
In terms of dressing for the interview, I think that the student should mirror what the students in the school wear. If it’s a more formal uniform, then don’t wear jeans or a dress; instead stick with dress pants and a shirt. The student should respect the school’s philosophy of dress. If there isn’t a uniform, it’s still a good idea to dress professionally.
Q: How can parents help and stay connected throughout the application process?
A: Parents need to keep their own stress levels in check! Make sure the dates of open houses and application deadlines are marked in your calendar by the end of August. Give yourself time to fill out the application and let your child have plenty of time as well. It is important for students to understand the process, what is expected of them, in terms of their current report card, open houses, and interviews. I typically find that the admissions process is a healthy one for students and that most schools are supportive.
Read our other "getting in" interviews