Preparing Your Child for Independent School Interviews

  • Posted By: Erin Lynch
  • December 6, 2018

If your child is applying to independent schools, an important factor in their admissions will be the interview. While each student will have a unique experience with the interview, you can still help them to prepare.

1. Research the School

Of course, you know everything about the schools you’re applying to, but make sure your child knows exactly why they’d be a good fit there. It’s best to be as specific as possible about why they are interested in the school. Are there specific classes or teachers they are excited to study with? Are there extracurricular activities they’re looking forward to participating in? What do they like about the school’s mission and values?

2. Practice Effective Communication

Superior social skills and a mature demeanor will help your child excel at their interview. Talk with them about making eye contact, avoiding “um” and “like,” and sitting up straight. Have them practice shaking hands, smiling, and looking you in the eye. They might feel awkward in the interview, but they only have one chance to make a first impression! If your child has anxiety, practicing can be a great way to minimize any jitters.

3. Be Ready for Anything

Although the questions the interviewer will ask may vary from school to school, there are a few key topics that will come up. These may include:

- What would you like to accomplish at our school, both in and out of school?

- Why are you interested in our school specifically?

- What are your academic strengths and weaknesses?

- What do you like to do in your free time?

- What is the last book you read and what did you think of it?

- What current events have interested you recently?

- Can you name a challenge you have faced and explain how you overcame it?

Have your child write brief responses to these questions ahead of time, so that they have formulated their responses already. Their answers will be most compelling if they include specific examples and concrete evidence from their life. Make sure to steer away from clichés—your child is unique, so make sure they are prepared to talk about their dynamic interests and activities!

4. Demonstrate a Growth Mindset

Most importantly, make sure that your child demonstrates a willingness to grow and learn during their interview. Schools want to see genuine, thoughtful students who are eager to try new things and are open to learning. Make sure that your child stays positive and can speak politely and sincerely about the things they care about. Many students have lists of accolades and great grades—a humble, poised, and honest attitude will help your child stand out!