School Visits and Interviews

School visits and interviews are an integral part of applying to private school. Learn why it's important to visit and what to do if that is not possible. Explore school visit options like open houses and shadowing. Get valuable tips on a successful interview and learn what questions you should be asking.
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Visiting the schools on your short list is very important. Why? Because you need to inspect the campus yourself. It's like buying a house or renting an apartment. A Web site and a video will not show you what you really need to see.  Likewise you cannot experience what a school is really like by viewing a video or a photo gallery on the Web.
 
Plan your visit well in advance

If you are applying for fall 2013, you need to schedule your campus visits over the summer and early fall. If you leave it until November and December, you will find it increasingly difficult to make appointments. If you are flying, booking flights in advance will save you some money. It helps too if the schools you have chosen are in the same general area. For example, flying into Boston makes great sense if you are looking at New England schools. There are dozens of schools within an hour or so drive of Logan International Airport. The admissions staff will have a list of hotels and bed and breakfasts in the local area. Be sure to ask.
 
Things to look for when you visit

First impressions are lasting impressions. Does the campus make a good impression on you? Note anything which doesn't make a good impression. Most schools are rather good about putting their best foot forward.
 
Does the campus look well maintained?

If it is not, find out why. Stinting on maintenance could indicate financial problems. On . . .read more
Once you have agreed on a short list of schools to visit, you need to call and make arrangements for The Interview. Typically this will take place while you visit the school. What is involved?
 
Almost every school wants to meet candidates for admission. The admissions test scores, teacher, principal and extracurricular recommendations as well as the applicant's essay and parent's statement all offer a snap shot of an applicant at a particular time and place. The interview on the other hand gives the admissions staff a chance to fill in the missing elements and to assess the applicant's character.
 
Schedule well in advance.

Be sure to schedule your interview and school visit well in advance. This is not something you do on a Friday afternoon expecting to turn up the next day. There are only so many hours in a day with a correspondingly limited number of interview appointments. It is important to get your interview out of the way by the end of November if at all possible. Most applications need to be completed by the deadline, and that includes the interview.
 
What does the interview entail?

How long is the interview? Usually about 20 minutes. What will the admissions staff ask? The person who interviews you wants to get to know you. He already has an idea of who you are and what you have accomplished. He will be looking to  see what kind of a person you, how serious you are about your school work, what . . .read more
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