Boarding schools are private facilities that parents pay quite a bit of money to have their children attend. Parents choose to send their children to these schools because they offer educational and extra-curricular opportunities and facilities often not available at state schools. To get into most preparatory schools, students need to fill out applications and go through an interview process. How well they do on the interviews can help determine if they are accepted into the boarding school of their choice.
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Before going into a boarding school interview, prepare to answer questions about your educational and personal background. You can try to get a sense of what types of questions you will be answering by asking former or current students, admissions officers or parents of students what will be expected of you during the interview. You should also expect to answer questions about your extra-curricular activities, plans for the future and hobbies and talents. You may want to practice answering questions about yourself with a family member so you are less nervous during the interview. Before going to different schools, research the schools, through websites and tours, so you are prepared to talk about the facilities during interviews. On the day of an interview, dress in professional clothing, such as a jacket, slacks and a tie or a blouse and a skirt, to show you are serious.
You and your parents will likely be asked questions about your backgrounds. When answering questions from admissions officers, you and your family members will want to give honest answers and try to maintain a conversational tone. Even though you will want to practice answering questions, you do not want to sound too rehearsed because you may sound phoney. You likely will want to answer the questions in such a way that you highlight positive information about your interests and background without bragging about yourself. In your answers, you may also want to show you researched the facilities, especially when you discuss why and how you would fit in at the school. Plan to provide different types of information about yourself in interviews so you can really help the prep schools to get an understanding of who you are, according to the Aristotle Circle, an organisation that assists students and parents with school admissions processes.
During boarding school interviews, admissions officers should not be the only ones asking the questions. While they are assessing you, you should also be evaluating if these schools fit with what you are looking for. You and your parents should start asking questions when you tour a school and then ask more specialised questions during an interview. Your questions could be about the schools' sports facilities, student-to-teacher ratios, programs, homework, honours class offerings, residential facilities, volunteer and leadership activities, methods for assessing students, extra-curricular opportunities and financial aid. You may want to ask different schools similar questions so you can easily compare.
When you go to an interview, bring the materials the school asks, including test score results, report cards from former schools or recommendations from former teachers, coaches or counsellors. Although an admissions officer may not even want to talk about test scores or grades, you will want to have the information available to look at if necessary. Other materials a school may ask you to bring include essays or stories, paintings, photographs, sculptures or musical instruments. By showing off your talents, you can help an admissions officer to get to know you better, showing why you are a good candidate for the school.
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- Aristotle Circle: Do's and Don't's of Boarding School Admissions
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- National Association of Independent Schools: The School Visit and Interview
- Boarding School Review: Interview FAQs; Heather Johnson
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- Admissions Quest: Boarding School Interviews