Okay, students, have you ever been asked a question—by a teacher, parent, or friend—and you gave an answer that seemed good at the time only to think of something better later on? Yeah, that happens to the best of us!
Now picture this: It’s time for your private school interview. You’re a little nervous, but that’s normal because this is your big chance to make a great impression. Maybe you’re having an in-person interview, sitting face-to-face, or perhaps it’s remote via Zoom or Skype. Either way, when that first question comes, you smile, a feel-good wave of confidence washing over you because you know exactly what you want to say.
Doesn’t that sound better than kicking yourself afterward for thinking of the answer you wish you gave? You bet your asparagus it does!
Here’s the thing: Interviewing is a skill just like belting out a perfect tune on an instrument or hitting the game-winning jump shot. Getting good takes practice and repetition, gradually building comfort and confidence.
You can practice with the private school interview questions listed below. These are actual questions that get asked, and we want to thank the following admission folks for contributing to this list. Check their schools out, you may find that one of them is the best private school for you.
- Andrea Prothro, Director of Admissions, Second Baptist School
- Melisa Kjellander, Senior Associate Director of Admissions, The Cambridge School of Weston
Ahem, parents, this part’s for you. We don’t want to ruffle any feathers, but please respect the boundaries between helping your child practice and coaching them on what to say. Admission officers want to get to know your child, and they can tell the difference between an authentic answer and one they were guided to say. You can help by encouraging your child to open up and talk about their personal interests and goals.
As you practice answering these questions with a parent, friend, or relative, think about what they mean to you and how you can convey your unique self through detailed answers. Also work on smiling, enunciating and talking at an appropriate volume, and making eye contact. And don’t be afraid to ask questions about the school in return. In fact, we recommend it! The goal is to have an enjoyable conversation.
Let’s get on to the questions, shall we?
Icebreaker questions about the weather or the latest pop-culture phenomenon are sure to quickly take a personal nature. These questions will help you get used to talking about yourself.
- How do you like to spend your free time?
- What would your friends, siblings, or parents tell me about you?
- What would I see on your social media?
- What is something you are really proud of?
- Where would you go on your dream vacation?
Current-School Experience Questions
You’re applying to a school, so it’s a safe bet that you’ll get asked about your current educational experiences.
- Can you describe a project or paper you've really enjoyed working on?
- Are you proud of your grades? Why?
- How do you feel that you've changed during [middle or high school]?
- What advice would you give a younger student about [middle or high school]?
Academic and Extracurricular Questions
In the getting-to-know-you process, admission officers want to envision how you’d fit into their school’s community. Questions like these help paint the picture.
- If you could direct a play or lead a hike, which would you choose and why?
- If you could plan and teach a class at your school, what would it be?
- Tell me about a character in a book that you found interesting or in which you could relate.
- What would you want your future advisor or dorm parent to know about you?
- As you're looking at schools, what's at the top of your priority list for your [middle or high school] experience?
The questions you receive will likely be different but similar to many of these. By practicing, you’ll discover how to best tell your unique story so there will be no regrets afterward. Go ace those interviews — you’ve got this!
Next step: essay writing.
Now that you’re an interview rock star, let’s review how to write an awesome private school admission essay.