Most independent and private schools require a visit and an interview as part of the application process. It’s not only an opportunity for the school to get to know the applicant and the family, but it’s also an opportunity for the family to experience firsthand the school’s culture and to ask questions that are not easily answered by a brochure or webpage. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about the interview process.
When should we schedule an interview and visit?
Generally, visits and interviews can be scheduled in the fall and up until the application deadline. Since each school might have a slightly different way of handling visits and interviews, start by visiting each school’s website.
Unless one of your schools requires an application to be submitted before visiting, scheduling a visit and interview before you submit your materials allows you to get a feel for the school and learn more about it before answering application questions.
How should we dress?
Dress presentably but comfortably. Resist the temptation to overdress; use the student dress code to guide you on how to dress. Remember to wear comfortable shoes if there is a working tour.
What types of questions will be asked during the interview?
We realize that many students have never been interviewed, and we try to make the experience meaningful and relaxing for them. Most schools will use this time to get to know your child and see if the child is a good fit with the school. There are no trick questions or wrong answers, and often, the “interview” becomes a spontaneous conversation and an exchange of ideas and interests. Try not to answer with just a “yes” or “no.” Expand on your answers. We always remind our applicants to relax and be themselves! We want to know the real student, not who you think we want you to be.
What should we expect?
Think of the visit and interview as an opportunity to connect and get to know one another authentically. Students should be ready to talk about themselves so we can understand their interests. They may feel uncomfortable by the attention, and it is normal for them to feel this way. The admissions officers will ask questions, but you have the opportunity to ask questions, too, so have some questions prepared so we can address your needs and concerns. Remember that most schools conduct separate interviews for the students and the parent/guardian.
How should we prepare?
Before the interview, talk to your child about what will happen; for example, there might be a separate interview for the student and parent/guardian. Remind your child to practice good manners and establish eye contact. Research the school’s website to gain insights into the school’s programs, offerings, mission, and core values. Although your child may feel anxious, encourage them to have a good night’s sleep and a full breakfast.
What types of questions should we ask during the interview and visit?
This is a positive experience where you can explore the various opportunities available to your child. At the end of the visit, you should feel that you know the school and that the school knows you.
• Dig deep. Try not to ask questions that you can easily find on the website. It’s an excellent opportunity to discuss the school’s philosophy and mission.
• Ask about the small but important details. How early can a child be dropped off? How does transportation work? What is the food like?
• Make a list of aspects of the school that are important to you and ask about those things
• Ask about the school’s expectations of parents/guardians, which may differ from day to boarding school.