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.
This video offers useful advice on the private school admissions process.
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 your hobbies are, and so on.
This video describes the interview process and how to prepare for it.
What should I wear?
How should I dress for an admissions interview? Dress as you would for any semi-formal occasion. Men will look smart in a white or blue shirt, tie, slacks and leather slipons. Women should wear a blouse, skirt or slacks or a simple dress. Keep the footwear simple. Dress as if you were meeting the governor of your state or some other important official. This is not the time to make a fashion statement or dye your hair green.
Nor is it the time for chewing gum. Politeness is always appreciated. Look the admissions person in the eye. Smile naturally. She knows you are nervous. How you handle this new and unfamiliar experience is something she is watching out for. Show respect with polite phrases such as "No, Mr. Smith." "Yes, Dr. Binglemeier." Learn the name of the person who will be interviewing you. Use it. "Sir" or "M'am" is the appropriate greeting if you are interviewing at a military school. While giving advice about your appearance may seem superficial, remember that fiirst impressions are very important.
The interview is not a one sided affair. You have questions about the school. Don't be afraid to ask them. Asking questions proactively demonstrates your interest in the school. This is part of the admissions interview which you prepare for. After all, to compare three schools on your short list, you will need to ask the same questions in order to compare the answers.
Send a Thank You note.
A simple thank you note written by you, never typed or done on a computer, mailed the day after your interview is always appreciated. Why? Because it shows that you are aware of social etiquette. This simple gesture will make your application stand out.
This video describes the admissions interview in detail.
A final tip: relax. Be yourself. Good luck!
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