Navigating Private School Interview Questions

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When parents and students approach the private school admissions process, a key thing to focus on is the interview with admissions staff that many schools require.

Although an interview is not always part of the process, it is a common tool used by admissions directors to get to know students and parents beyond the application and assess how they might fit in. the school community. It may be a student’s time to shine. It may also be their first real interview, and admissions experts recommend that families prepare carefully.

“Students and parents should be prepared to explain why they are considering a private school experience and be prepared to mention details about the school,” says Sherry Skyler Kelly, neuropsychologist and co-founder of PositiviTeens, which offers coaching and workshops for teenagers. , parents and teachers.

Most interviews take place at school, although some are now done virtually, and administrators often meet with students and parents separately. Although every interview is different, most are conversational and relatively short as schools often deal with dozens of candidates.

“Realize that many private schools now have limited tours and interviews due to the pandemic,” Kelly says.

Preparing for interviews in private schools

Admissions experts suggest that parents enroll early in the admissions process and apply for the interview as soon as possible.

Then the research should begin. Parents and their children can read the school’s website and watch all the available videos together to get a feel for the school and the community. David Lee, principal of the Daycroft School in Michigan, also suggests talking to people who are knowledgeable and can provide additional information about the school that isn’t available online.

“If you know a family that is already involved in the school, ask them about what they like about school, why it is a good fit for the child in that family, and what makes school special to them. their opinion,” he said.

For parents, the goal is to enter a school knowing what it has to offer, how your child might fit in, and what your family can contribute to the school community. Parents should also be prepared to answer questions about your child’s passions, strengths and needs, and why you think he belongs in school.

The more familiar you become with the school, the better you will do in the interview.

Questions students may encounter

Students, who almost certainly have less experience in an interview setting, could benefit from a little practice. The idea is not to develop ready-made answers. Rather, it’s about facilitating a conversation that allows your child to engage the administrators and present themselves fully. Have your child dress appropriately for the situation, practice shaking hands or bumping fists, making eye contact, and going through some questions.

Here are a few that students are likely to encounter, according to Kelly and Lee:

  • What do you like to do in your free time?
  • What subjects do you like at your current school?
  • What do you know of our school?
  • What book are you currently reading?
  • Tell me about your parents or family.
  • What are you doing with your family?
  • What excites you most about attending our school?
  • How do you see yourself becoming part of this community?
  • What other schools are you applying to?

Be sure to ask questions

Parents and students also need to be prepared to show curiosity about school, advisers say. You will certainly be asked at the end of the interview if you have any questions.

Lisa Satz, Director of Admissions for Xceed Preparatory Academy in Florida, offers this advice to help you navigate this part of the interview:

  • Consider how you want to introduce your family and your child, including academic goals, extracurricular interests, and other things that may be important to communicate.
  • Research other schools so you can understand how this school compares.
  • Be prepared to explain your child’s experience at their current school, including academic, social, and extracurricular. If your child has a particular talent, perhaps in sports or the arts, are they enthusiastic and expecting to grow? Does your child like school? Do they like to learn?
  • Prepare with a list of academic, social, and financial questions to ask.

Overall, experts say, schools are looking for families who want to join and actively participate in the community, as well as kind, resilient and engaged students.
As Eric Kim, partner and program director at LA Tutors, said, “Schools are looking for curious students who enjoy learning, participating in their current school community, and being involved in their next school.”

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