The Interview

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The Interview
Part of the admissions requirements of almost every private school is the interview. While it sounds as though this is a one sided exercise, you should be interviewing the admissions personnel as well.
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 your hobbies are, and so on.
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 appropriate if you are interviewing at a military school.

Ask questions.

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.
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.
A final tip: relax. Be yourself. Good luck!

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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.