Parents interviewing with a private school admissions officer.

29 Parent Interview Questions to Better Evaluate Private Schools

March 25, 2021

You’ve scheduled private school interviews for your child, and you’ve been so focused on preparing them to make a great first impression by prepping them with questions, practicing the introduction, picking out an outfit, and researching the school that you nearly forgot—you’re getting interviewed too!

It’s okay, we’ll help you get ready with the 29 questions below to better evaluate the best fit for your family. Attending a new private school is likely a big change—especially if you’re considering boarding school—so meeting face-to-face may seem overwhelming. Before we get to the questions, let’s quickly review a few parent interview pointers.

In short, take the same advice that you’re giving your child to heart.

  • Be yourself. Authentic conversations about your family, why you’re interested in the school, and the growth you’d like to see from your child at the school, is the best way to connect with the interviewer. 
  • Dress appropriately. Business casual is a safe rule of thumb, but review the school’s dress code and look for faculty pictures on their website to see what they’re wearing. When in doubt, it’s better to overdress than underdress. 
  • How will you impact the school community? It’s great to do your research on the school to discuss how your child will make their mark. Taking the next step to express how your family as a whole will impact the community shows that you’re as committed to the school as they will be to your child. For example, are you excited to actively participate in the parents’ association or support specific school activities?

Parent Interview Questions

While we encourage you also to ask school-specific questions based on your research and interest in the school, the following questions will help your family evaluate schools and prepare for this big adventure!

Admissions

Applying to private and boarding schools is a significant undertaking, so you want to understand what is fully expected. These questions will help get you clarity.

  • What are the school’s admissions process and timeline?
  • How will my child be evaluated?
  • What are you looking for in students as you make admissions decisions?

Financial

Attending private school does require a financial commitment, but it’s important to understand that it might be more accessible than you think. Most schools have financial aid or variable tuition that helps families pay tuition. These questions will help you gather more information.

  • What is the financial aid application process?
  • How is financial aid connected to the admissions process? 
  • What percentage of families receive financial aid?
  • Will we know our financial aid decision at the same time that we hear about our admission decision?
  • In terms of continuing to receive financial support if we’re granted aid, what should we expect over the course of time that our child is at the school?
  • Do you have a payment plan for tuition?

Academics

The academic program is the top reason that most families consider private schools. These questions will help you distinguish between the various options for your child.

  • What are the school’s academic requirements?
  • How will my child’s course selection take place, and who will guide us in this process? 
  • How often are grades and comments distributed to parents?
  • What types of academic support are in place if my child struggles?
  • When does the college counseling process begin, and how are parents involved?

School Life

Whether your child will attend a day or boarding school, they’ll spend most of their time on campus and away from home. The following are some of the things you’ll want to know about their experience.

  • How are new students integrated into school life?
  • Who is guiding and supporting my child?
  • How accessible are health services? For boarding schools, what happens if a student is sick in the middle of the night?
  • What if my child has some mental health challenges that arise?
  • Are upper school students allowed to leave campus? If so, what permissions are required from us?

Residential Life

If your child is applying to boarding schools, here are some additional questions to consider.

  • What is the adult supervision in the dormitories?
  • Will my child have a roommate? What happens if roommates have challenges living together?
  • What if my child gets homesick?
  • How is dorm life structured? What are the check-in times? Are there activities?  
  • What on- and off-campus activities are offered on weekends? How do students travel to off-campus activities, and who oversees these events?

Communication

It’s essential to understand the school-family engagement process as you’ll work together to aid your child’s success. Learn about that relationship with these questions.

  • How are advisors assigned to students?
  • How soon after enrolling will we know about our child’s advisor?
  • How do you communicate with parents throughout the year about our child’s progress or issues that arise?
  • Will we have direct communication with our child’s advisor?
  • Who would we reach out to first if we felt our child needed support?
  • How can we as parents be involved with the school?

Want more tips and resources?

Join Admission Academy, our yearlong event program that supports families step-by-step through the private school admissions process.

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