Private school admissions interviews can be nerve-racking for students and parents alike when you don’t know what to expect. The advice and resources below will help you get ready for the big day by providing answers to your interview questions and familiarizing you with the admissions process.
Want the inside scoop on admissions interviews for private schools? Listen to Kila McCann from The Bolles School and Lisa Pelrine from Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall discuss what they look for from students along with their advice for families going through the interview process.
Interviews are usually one aspect of a private school admissions visit. Processes vary by school and grade level, but you can generally expect to encounter the following facets.
School visits often begin with the tour to provide a sense of place and help prospective students get comfortable. Middle and high school tours are often led by current students, an admissions officer, or a parent volunteer. Insider tip: Tour guides are also trying to get to know you for admissions, so this is a great opportunity to ask questions and make a positive impression.
If you’ve expressed interest in a specific academic, art, athletic, or extracurricular program, admissions officers will often arrange for you to quickly meet the teachers or coaches that run those activities if scheduling permits. These opportunities may appear as impromptu encounters, so make sure to have questions prepared just in case.
Middle and high school students will conduct the interview one-on-one with an admissions officer. What has impressed you about the school? Are you interested in a specific class or course of study? Have your child ready to talk about these subjects to show that they're interested. They’ll also want to dress to the school’s dress code or better, be courteous and thankful, and keep the cell phones out of sight!
For more, read our in-person and virtual interview tips.
Parents are also interviewed without your children in the room. Transparency is the best approach to these conversations as your goal is the same—finding the best educational fit for your child’s success. Keep in mind that this is your opportunity to interview the school, so come prepared. If the school is looking like a strong fit, try to convey how your family will contribute to its community.
After the interview, follow up with your admission officer and tour guide to express your gratitude for their time and consideration. Having upper elementary, middle, and high school students write the thank you notes and a first-choice letter when appropriate helps reinforce their desire to join the school’s community.