Insider’s Guide to Private School Admissions: From Interview Preparation to Evaluation

Chapter 1 – Introduction

  • 1A:  Overview of the private school admission process
  • 1B:  Importance of Preparation

Chapter 2 – Researching the School

  • 2A:  Understanding the school’s mission and values
  • 2B:  Understanding the admission criteria

Chapter 3: Preparing for the interview

  • 3A:  Anticipating potential challenges
  • 3B:  Dressing appropriately

Chapter 4: Interview Etiquette

  • 4A: Good communication skills
  • 4B: Building rapport with the interviewer
  • 4C: Avoiding negative body language

Chapter 5: The interview

  • 5A:  Demonstrating interest in the school
  • 5B:  Demonstrating good character
  • 5C:  Being Yourself
  • 5D:  Handling Nerves

Chapter 6: After the interview

  • 6A:  Following up with a thank you note
  • 6B:  Waiting patiently for a decision
  • 6C:  Understanding the role of the interview in the admission process

Chapter 7: Supporting your child

  • 7A: The role of parents
  • 7B: The role of teachers and other references

Chapter 8: Understanding the Evaluation Criteria

  • 8A: The role of test scores and grades
  • 8B: The role of extracurricular activities

Chapter 9: A comprehensive list of the most common interview questions and answers

  • 9A: Interview questions and answers for parents
  • 9B: Interview questions and answers for children

Chapter 1. Introduction

A. Overview of the private school admission process

The private school admission process is a thorough evaluation of a student’s academic, personal, and social qualities. The primary goal is to determine if the student is a good fit for the school and if the school is a good fit for the student and their family. It’s essential to note that each private school may have its own admission process, criteria, and requirements. Therefore, researching each school and understanding its specific process is crucial.

Typically, the private school admission process involves several steps, including:

  1. Application: The first step is to submit an application, which may include a standardized form, transcripts, test scores, and a personal essay or letter of recommendation. Some schools may require additional materials such as a student’s artwork, writing samples, or a list of extracurricular activities.
  2. Testing: Some private schools require standardized testing, such as the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) or the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT). These tests are used to evaluate the student’s academic abilities and potential.
  3. Interview: Many private schools require an interview as part of the admission process. The interview provides an opportunity for the school to get to know the student and for the student to learn more about the school.
  4. Evaluation of Records: The school will review the student’s transcripts, test scores, and other academic records to determine their academic abilities and potential.
  5. Observation: Some private schools may also observe the student in a classroom setting or during an extracurricular activity to get a sense of their behavior, attitudes, and social skills.
  6. Decision: After evaluating all of the information, the private school will make a decision on the admission of the student. The decision may be communicated in writing, by phone, or in person.

Remember that the admission process may vary from school to school, so it’s essential to understand each institution’s specific requirements and expectations.

B. Importance of preparation

The private school admission process is a comprehensive evaluation of a student’s academic, personal, and social qualities. Proper preparation is essential for a successful outcome, as it can help students and parents increase their chances of being admitted to their top-choice schools while finding the best fit for their needs and goals.

Here are some ways to prepare for the private school admission process:

  1. Start early: Give yourself ample time to research schools, complete applications, and prepare for interviews and tests. This approach allows you to work at a comfortable pace and avoid feeling rushed or stressed.
  2. Be organized: Keep track of deadlines, requirements, and materials needed for each school. Staying organized ensures that you have all the necessary information and materials to complete the process smoothly.
  3. Show interest: Demonstrate genuine interest in the school by researching its programs, resources, and culture. This approach helps show the school that you are serious about attending and will be a good fit.
  4. Be yourself: During the interview and other aspects of the admission process, be yourself and let your personality and abilities shine through. This helps the school get to know the real you and determine if you are a good fit for the school.
  5. Seek support: Utilize resources such as private school admission consultants, educational advisors, and teachers to help you navigate the process and prepare for each step. This provides valuable support and guidance throughout the process.
  6. Prepare for testing: Familiarize yourself with the test format and content, practice with sample questions and mock tests, understand test-taking strategies, and stay up-to-date with the test schedule and requirements. This preparation helps increase your chances of performing well on the test and demonstrating your academic abilities and potential.
  7. Prepare for the interview: Familiarize yourself with common interview questions, rehearse answers to typical questions, anticipate potential challenges, and dress appropriately. This preparation helps you feel confident and well-prepared for the interview, making a positive impression on the interviewer.

By following these steps, you can increase your chances of success in the private school admission process and find the best educational environment for your needs and goals.

Chapter 2. Researching the School

A. Understanding the school’s mission and values

The mission and values of a private school are essential factors in determining if the school is a good fit for a student and their family. Understanding the school’s mission and values can help students and parents ascertain if the school’s goals and priorities align with their own and if the school will provide a supportive and enriching educational experience.

To understand a school’s mission and values, parents and students can:

  1. Research the school’s website: The school’s website often provides information about the school’s mission, values, and goals, allowing you to gain a clear understanding of the school’s philosophy and focus.
  2. Read the school’s literature: Private schools often have brochures, catalogs, and other materials that offer more information about the school’s mission and values. These materials can give you a deeper understanding of the school’s priorities and educational approach.
  3. Attend an open house or tour: Open houses and tours provide an opportunity to learn more about the school, meet teachers and staff, and ask questions about the school’s mission and values. Visiting the school in person can give you a better sense of its atmosphere and culture.
  4. Talk to current students and parents: Conversations with current students and parents can provide valuable insight into the school’s culture, programs, and values, helping you determine if the school is a good fit for you. They can share their experiences and give you a better understanding of what to expect.
  5. Engage with school staff and faculty: Reach out to school administrators, teachers, or counselors to ask about the school’s mission and values. Their perspectives can help you understand the school’s commitment to its mission and how it translates into daily practice.

The school’s mission and values should align with a student’s personal and academic goals and provide a supportive and enriching educational experience. By taking the time to research and understand a school’s mission and values, parents and students can increase their chances of finding a school that is the right fit for them.

B. Understanding the admission criteria

Understanding the admission criteria for a private school is essential for parents and students, as it can help them determine if the school is a good fit for their needs and goals and increase their chances of being admitted.

The admission criteria for private schools can vary and may include factors such as:

  1. Academic performance: Private schools often consider a student’s academic performance, including grades, test scores, and transcripts. They may also look for evidence of consistent improvement or a strong work ethic.
  2. Extracurricular activities: Private schools may consider a student’s participation in extracurricular activities and their involvement in their community. This can demonstrate a student’s well-roundedness, leadership skills, and ability to balance multiple responsibilities.
  3. Recommendations: Private schools may consider letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, or other individuals who know the student well. These letters can provide insight into a student’s character, work ethic, and motivation.
  4. Interviews: Private schools may conduct interviews with students and/or parents to assess the student’s personality, interests, and abilities. This allows the school to get a better understanding of how the student would fit into the school community and contribute to its culture.
  5. Testing: Private schools may require standardized tests, such as the ISEE, SSAT, or HSPT, to assess a student’s academic abilities and potential. These tests can help schools determine if a student has the necessary skills to succeed in their academic programs.
  6. Personal statement or essay: Some private schools may require a personal statement or essay as part of the application process. This provides the opportunity for the student to express their thoughts, experiences, and aspirations, showcasing their unique qualities and perspective.
  7. Financial considerations: Some private schools may also consider a family’s financial situation when making admission decisions, particularly if they offer need-based financial aid or scholarships.

It is crucial to understand the admission criteria for each private school to which you are applying. By doing so, you can ensure that you meet the school’s requirements and can provide the information and materials needed to increase your chances of being admitted. Tailoring your application to the specific criteria and expectations of each school can demonstrate your genuine interest and commitment to joining their community.

Chapter 3. Preparing for the Interview

A. Anticipating potential challenges

Anticipating potential challenges in the interview process for children and their parents while preparing for the interview portion of the application is essential in ensuring a smooth experience. By being aware of these potential challenges, parents can help their child feel more confident and prepared.

  1. Nervousness: One common challenge for children and parents during interviews is nervousness. It’s natural for both parties to feel anxious, but it can hinder a child’s ability to communicate effectively. Parents can help their child manage nervousness by practicing deep breathing exercises, visualization techniques, and doing mock interviews to build confidence.
  2. Difficult questions: The interview may include unexpected or challenging questions. Parents can help their child prepare by discussing various topics, such as their strengths and weaknesses, academic interests, extracurricular activities, and personal values. It’s important for children to think critically and respond honestly rather than trying to give the “perfect” answer.
  3. Maintaining focus: Young children may have difficulty maintaining focus during an interview. Parents can support their child by practicing active listening techniques, such as summarizing the interviewer’s question before answering, and maintaining eye contact.
  4. Addressing weaknesses: Interviewers may ask about a child’s weaknesses or areas in need of improvement. Parents can help their child approach this topic by emphasizing the importance of self-awareness and personal growth, and discussing strategies for addressing these areas.
  5. Parent-child dynamics: The presence of a parent during the interview can sometimes be a challenge, as children might feel additional pressure to perform well. Parents should be mindful of their own body language and reactions during the interview, offering support without being overbearing.
  6. Cultural differences: Families from diverse backgrounds may face challenges in understanding the expectations and communication styles of the interviewer. Parents can research the cultural norms and expectations of the school and discuss them with their child to help them feel more comfortable.
  7. Time management: Arriving late or feeling rushed can add unnecessary stress to the interview process. Parents should plan their travel and schedule accordingly, ensuring they have ample time to arrive at the interview location and settle in before the interview begins.
  8. Following up: After the interview, it’s important to follow up with a thank-you note or email. Parents can help their child draft a thoughtful message that expresses gratitude for the opportunity and reiterates their interest in the school.

By anticipating these potential challenges and preparing for them in advance, parents can support their child in navigating the interview process with greater confidence and poise. This, in turn, can improve their chances of making a positive impression and being admitted to their top-choice school.

B. Dressing appropriately

Dressing appropriately for the private school interview process is an essential aspect of making a positive first impression. The way children and their parents dress communicates respect for the school and its values. To ensure that both children and parents are dressed appropriately, consider the following guidelines:

  1. Research the school’s dress code: Before the interview, take the time to research the school’s dress code or culture. This may be available on the school’s website or in their literature. Understanding the expectations will help you dress in a manner that aligns with the school’s values.
  2. Opt for conservative and modest clothing: Dressing conservatively and modestly is a safe choice for both children and parents. For boys, this may mean wearing a collared shirt, dress pants, and dress shoes. For girls, a blouse or sweater paired with a skirt or dress pants is appropriate. Parents should also dress professionally, such as a suit or a dress paired with a blazer for women.
  3. Choose neutral colors and simple patterns: When selecting clothing, opt for neutral colors like black, navy, gray, or white, as these are considered professional and less distracting. Simple patterns or stripes can also be appropriate, but avoid overly bold or bright patterns that may be distracting.
  4. Ensure proper fit and comfort: Clothing should fit well and be comfortable to wear. Ill-fitting or uncomfortable clothing can make children feel self-conscious and hinder their ability to focus during the interview. Parents should also prioritize comfort and fit in their attire.
  5. Pay attention to grooming and hygiene: In addition to dressing appropriately, both children and parents should pay attention to their grooming and hygiene. Ensure that hair is neat and clean, nails are trimmed, and overall appearance is well-groomed. Light makeup is acceptable for older girls and women, but it should not be excessive or distracting.
  6. Avoid excessive accessories and jewelry: While some accessories and jewelry can complement an outfit, it is essential not to overdo it. Choose simple and understated pieces, such as a wristwatch, a small necklace, or stud earrings.
  7. Consider cultural and religious requirements: If your family follows specific cultural or religious dress codes, be sure to incorporate these aspects into your attire while adhering to the school’s dress expectations.

By dressing appropriately for the interview, children and their parents demonstrate respect for the school and its values, while also helping the interviewers focus on the child’s personality, abilities, and potential fit within the school community. Taking the time to plan and select appropriate attire can contribute significantly to a successful private school interview experience.

Chapter 4. Interview Etiquette

A. Good Communication Skills

In private school admission interviews, good communication skills play a crucial role in showcasing the child’s ability to express themselves effectively and understand others. Developing strong communication skills can help the child make a positive impression on the interviewer. Here are some tips for improving and demonstrating good communication skills during the interview:

  1. Listen actively: Active listening involves giving full attention to the interviewer, making eye contact, and providing non-verbal cues like nodding to show that the child understands and is engaged in the conversation. Avoid interrupting the interviewer and wait for them to finish speaking before responding.
  2. Speak clearly and concisely: Encourage the child to articulate their thoughts and ideas clearly and concisely. Practicing speaking in complete sentences and avoiding filler words (e.g., “um,” “like”) can help the child sound more polished and confident.
  3. Be mindful of body language: Non-verbal communication is an essential aspect of effective communication. Teach the child to maintain good posture, make eye contact, and use appropriate hand gestures to emphasize their points.
  4. Use age-appropriate vocabulary: While it is essential to showcase the child’s language skills, they should use age-appropriate vocabulary that reflects their understanding and maturity level.
  5. Practice responding to common interview questions: Help the child prepare for the interview by discussing and practicing responses to common interview questions. This practice will help the child feel more confident and articulate during the interview.
  6. Encourage open-ended questions: Teach the child to ask open-ended questions during the interview. These questions invite the interviewer to share more information and can help create a more engaging and meaningful conversation.

B. Building Rapport with the Interviewer

Building rapport with the interviewer is an essential part of creating a positive interview experience. When the child connects well with the interviewer, it can leave a lasting impression and increase their chances of admission. Here are some strategies for building rapport with the interviewer:

  1. Be punctual: Arriving on time for the interview demonstrates respect for the interviewer’s time and sets the stage for a positive interaction.
  2. Offer a friendly greeting: Encourage the child to greet the interviewer with a warm smile and a firm handshake, if culturally appropriate. This simple gesture can establish a connection from the outset.
  3. Use the interviewer’s name: Teach the child to use the interviewer’s name during the conversation. This personal touch can make the interaction feel more genuine and connected.
  4. Show genuine interest: Encourage the child to express genuine interest in the school and the interviewer by asking thoughtful questions and actively listening to the interviewer’s responses.
  5. Be authentic: Remind the child that it’s essential to be themselves during the interview. Authenticity helps create a genuine connection with the interviewer and showcases the child’s true personality and values.
  6. Be polite and respectful: Encourage the child to demonstrate good manners, such as saying “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me.” This behavior shows respect and appreciation for the interviewer’s time and effort.
  7. Express gratitude: At the end of the interview, teach the child to thank the interviewer for their time and the opportunity to learn more about the school. This gratitude can leave a positive lasting impression.

By focusing on good communication skills and building rapport with the interviewer, children can create a favorable impression during their private school admission interviews. Both parents and children can work together to practice and develop these skills in preparation for the interview process.

C. Avoiding negative body language

Negative body language can hinder the child’s ability to make a positive impression during the private school admission interview. Being aware of and avoiding these non-verbal cues can help the child present themselves confidently and professionally. Here are some tips for avoiding negative body language during the interview:

  1. Maintain good posture: Encourage the child to sit up straight with their feet flat on the floor and their shoulders relaxed. Slouching or hunching over can convey a lack of confidence or disinterest.
  2. Make appropriate eye contact: Teach the child to maintain comfortable eye contact with the interviewer, which signals attentiveness and engagement. However, avoid staring, as it can come across as aggressive or intimidating.
  3. Avoid fidgeting: Nervous movements, such as tapping feet, twirling hair, or fiddling with clothing, can be distracting and convey anxiety. Encourage the child to be aware of these habits and practice keeping their hands still during the interview.
  4. Keep arms uncrossed: Crossing arms can signal defensiveness or disengagement. Instead, encourage the child to keep their arms relaxed at their sides or gently resting in their lap.
  5. Refrain from touching the face: Touching the face, such as rubbing the nose or chin, can signal nervousness or dishonesty. Encourage the child to be mindful of this habit and avoid touching their face during the interview.
  6. Be aware of facial expressions: Teach the child to maintain a pleasant and engaged facial expression, avoiding scowls, eye-rolling, or excessive frowning. Smiling when appropriate can convey warmth and enthusiasm.
  7. Lean in slightly: Leaning in slightly while maintaining good posture can show the child’s interest and attentiveness. However, avoid leaning in too much, as it can appear invasive or overly aggressive.
  8. Use natural hand gestures: Encourage the child to use natural hand gestures to emphasize their points, but avoid excessive or overly animated gestures that may be distracting or convey nervousness.

By being aware of and avoiding negative body language, children can present themselves confidently and professionally during private school admission interviews. Both parents and children can work together to practice and develop these non-verbal communication skills in preparation for the interview process.

Chapter 5. The Interview

A. Demonstrating Interest in the School

Showing genuine interest in the school during the private school admission interview can make a positive impression on the interviewer and signal that the child is a good fit for the school. Here are some ways to demonstrate interest in the school during the interview:

  1. Research the school beforehand: Encourage the child to thoroughly research the school, including its programs, resources, and culture, before the interview. This helps them speak knowledgeably and confidently about the school.
  2. Ask thoughtful questions: Teach the child to ask relevant and insightful questions about the school’s academics, extracurricular activities, and community. This shows the interviewer that the child has done their homework and is genuinely interested in learning more.
  3. Express enthusiasm: Encourage the child to express enthusiasm and excitement about the school, its programs, and the opportunities available. This can help convey a genuine interest in attending the school.
  4. Mention specific aspects of the school: Teach the child to discuss specific aspects of the school that appeal to them, such as unique courses, clubs, or traditions. This demonstrates that the child has a solid understanding of what makes the school unique and appealing.

B. Demonstrating Good Character

Displaying good character during the private school admission interview can help the child make a positive impression and showcase their personal qualities that make them a good fit for the school. Here are some ways to demonstrate good character during the interview:

  1. Be honest: Encourage the child to be honest and authentic in their responses, avoiding exaggeration or fabrication. Honesty is a key character trait that schools value.
  2. Show respect: Teach the child to show respect to the interviewer, as well as to any other school staff or students they may encounter during the interview process. This includes using polite language, listening attentively, and expressing gratitude for the opportunity to interview.
  3. Take responsibility: Encourage the child to take responsibility for their actions and decisions, even if they have made mistakes in the past. Demonstrating accountability and a willingness to learn from mistakes can reflect positively on the child’s character.
  4. Display empathy and compassion: Teach the child to discuss experiences where they have shown empathy, compassion, or a willingness to help others. These qualities can highlight the child’s emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills.
  5. Showcase perseverance and resilience: Encourage the child to discuss challenges they have faced and how they have overcome them, demonstrating their perseverance and resilience.

By demonstrating interest in the school and good character during the private school admission interview, the child can make a positive impression on the interviewer and increase their chances of being admitted to the school. Parents and children can work together to practice these techniques and prepare for the interview process.

C. Being yourself

Being authentic and genuine during the private school admission interview can help the child make a positive impression and allow the interviewer to get a true sense of who they are. Here are some ways to encourage the child to be themselves during the interview:

  1. Emphasize the importance of authenticity: Teach the child that it’s essential to be honest and genuine during the interview, as this will allow the interviewer to get to know the real person behind the application.
  2. Practice self-awareness: Encourage the child to reflect on their strengths, weaknesses, interests, and values, and to be prepared to discuss these topics during the interview.
  3. Avoid rehearsed answers: While it’s essential to be prepared for the interview, discourage the child from memorizing scripted answers, as this can come across as inauthentic. Instead, encourage them to speak from the heart and share their true thoughts and feelings.
  4. Share personal stories: Encourage the child to share personal anecdotes that illustrate their character, interests, and experiences, as this can help the interviewer connect with them on a deeper level.

D. Handling Nerves

It’s natural for children to feel nervous during the private school admission interview. Here are some strategies to help them manage their nerves and perform at their best:

  1. Practice deep breathing: Teach the child to use deep breathing exercises to calm their nerves before and during the interview. Deep breathing can help to reduce stress and anxiety, allowing the child to feel more relaxed and focused.
  2. Visualize success: Encourage the child to visualize themselves performing well in the interview, as this can help to build confidence and ease nerves.
  3. Prepare and practice: Ensure the child is well-prepared for the interview by discussing potential questions, practicing their responses, and even conducting mock interviews. The more prepared the child feels, the less nervous they are likely to be.
  4. Adopt a growth mindset: Remind the child that the interview is an opportunity to learn and grow, and that it’s okay if they don’t have all the answers or make mistakes. Encourage them to view the interview as a learning experience rather than a high-pressure situation.
  5. Focus on the present: Teach the child to stay present during the interview, focusing on the current question and conversation instead of worrying about what’s to come.

By encouraging the child to be themselves and providing strategies for handling nerves, parents can help their child perform at their best during the private school admission interview, increasing their chances of being admitted to the school of their choice.

Top of Form

Chapter 6. After the Interview

A. Following Up with a Thank You Note

Sending a thank you note after the private school admission interview is an essential step in demonstrating appreciation and professionalism. Here are some tips for crafting a thoughtful thank you note:

  1. Send the note promptly: Ideally, the thank you note should be sent within 24-48 hours of the interview, while the conversation is still fresh in both the interviewer’s and the child’s mind.
  2. Make it personal: Address the note to the interviewer by name and include specific details about the conversation. This shows that the child was attentive and engaged during the interview.
  3. Express gratitude: Thank the interviewer for their time and the opportunity to learn more about the school. This demonstrates the child’s appreciation for the experience.
  4. Reiterate interest: Use the thank you note to reaffirm the child’s enthusiasm for the school and their desire to attend. This can leave a lasting positive impression on the interviewer.
  5. Keep it concise: The thank you note should be brief, focused, and well-written, aiming to convey appreciation and genuine interest without being overly lengthy.

B. Waiting Patiently for a Decision

The period between the private school admission interview and receiving the admission decision can be an anxious time for both parents and children. Here are some suggestions for managing this waiting period:

  1. Stay positive: Encourage the child to maintain a positive outlook and focus on the aspects of the admission process they can control, such as their academic performance and extracurricular activities.
  2. Stay engaged: Continue to research and engage with the school, attending events and staying informed about school news, while also exploring other school options.
  3. Manage expectations: Remind the child that the admission process is competitive and that there may be factors outside of their control that influence the final decision. Encourage them to be prepared for any outcome.
  4. Use the time wisely: Encourage the child to continue pursuing their interests, improving their skills, and participating in meaningful activities while awaiting the admission decision.

C. Understanding the Role of the Interview in the Admission Process

The private school admission interview is one component of the comprehensive evaluation process used by schools to determine if a student is a good fit for their institution. It’s important for parents and children to understand the role of the interview in the overall admission process:

  1. Personal connection: The interview provides an opportunity for the school to get to know the child on a personal level, beyond test scores and application materials.
  2. Assessing fit: The interview allows the school to evaluate the child’s personality, interests, and values to determine if they align with the school’s mission and culture.
  3. Demonstrating interest: The interview is an opportunity for the child to express their genuine interest in the school and show that they are serious about attending.
  4. Contextualizing the application: The interview can provide context for the child’s application materials, offering insights into their background, experiences, and personal growth.

By understanding the role of the interview in the admission process and following up with a thoughtful thank you note, parents and children can ensure they have done everything possible to make a positive impression on the private school they are applying to. Patience and positivity during the waiting period are crucial for managing expectations and maintaining a healthy perspective on the competitive admission process.

Chapter 7. Supporting Your Child

A. The Role of Parents

Parents play a significant role in supporting their child during the private school admission interview process. Here’s how parents can provide valuable support:

  1. Encourage preparation: Help your child research the school, practice potential interview questions, and understand the interview’s purpose. This will help them feel more confident and prepared for the interview.
  2. Teach time management: Assist your child in organizing their schedule to ensure they have enough time to prepare for the interview and balance their other responsibilities.
  3. Offer emotional support: Be a source of encouragement, understanding, and reassurance throughout the process, acknowledging your child’s efforts and reassuring them that they can handle the interview.
  4. Provide guidance: Share your own experiences and insights about interviews, offering advice on how to navigate challenging questions and make a positive impression.
  5. Be respectful: Respect the school’s policies regarding parent involvement in the interview, understanding that the interview is primarily an opportunity for the child to demonstrate their qualities and fit for the school.

B. The Role of Teachers and Other References

Teachers, counselors, coaches, and other individuals who know the child well can play a crucial role in supporting them during the private school admission interview process:

  1. Provide recommendations: A strong recommendation from a teacher or another reference can provide valuable insights into the child’s academic abilities, personal qualities, and potential for success in a private school setting.
  2. Offer guidance: Teachers and other references can share their expertise and knowledge about the private school admission process, offering advice on how to approach the interview and what to expect.
  3. Help with preparation: Teachers and other references can assist the child in preparing for the interview by offering suggestions on how to answer common questions, discuss their academic achievements, and highlight their personal strengths.
  4. Share feedback: Teachers and other references can provide constructive feedback on the child’s interview performance, helping them identify areas for improvement and refine their interview skills.
  5. Encourage growth: Teachers and other references can support the child’s ongoing personal and academic growth, ensuring they continue to develop the skills and qualities needed to succeed in a private school environment.

By understanding the roles of both parents and teachers or other references in supporting a child during the private school admission interview process, families can ensure they are providing the necessary support and guidance to help their child succeed. This collaborative effort can significantly enhance the child’s chances of a successful interview and ultimately, admission to the private school of their choice.

Chapter 8. Understanding the Evaluation Criteria

A. The Role of Test Scores and Grades

Test scores and grades play an important role in the private school admission process, including the interview. They are used to assess a student’s academic abilities, achievements, and potential for success in the school’s curriculum. Here’s how test scores and grades impact the interview:

  1. Baseline evaluation: Test scores and grades provide a baseline for evaluating a student’s academic performance, helping the interviewer understand their strengths and areas for improvement.
  2. Comparison with other applicants: Test scores and grades can be used to compare applicants, allowing schools to determine which students are likely to succeed in their academic programs.
  3. Discussion of academic achievements: During the interview, students may be asked to discuss their academic achievements, including their performance on standardized tests and their grades in specific subjects.
  4. Opportunities for growth: Test scores and grades can reveal areas where a student may need additional support or challenge, helping the school determine if they can provide the necessary resources to help the student grow academically.

B. The Role of Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities play a significant role in the private school admission process and are often a topic of discussion during the interview. These activities can demonstrate a student’s interests, talents, and dedication outside of academics. Here’s how extracurricular activities impact the interview:

  1. Showcasing personal interests: Extracurricular activities allow students to showcase their personal interests, providing the interviewer with a more comprehensive understanding of the student’s passions and hobbies.
  2. Demonstrating commitment: Participation in extracurricular activities can demonstrate a student’s commitment and dedication, as well as their ability to manage their time effectively between academics and personal pursuits.
  3. Developing essential skills: Extracurricular activities can help students develop essential skills such as teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, and communication, which are valuable both in and out of the classroom.
  4. Community involvement: Participation in extracurricular activities can demonstrate a student’s involvement in their community, indicating their willingness to engage with others and contribute to the school’s community.

By understanding the role of test scores, grades, and extracurricular activities in the evaluation criteria during private school admission interviews, parents and students can better prepare for the interview and showcase their strengths and achievements in these areas. This understanding can ultimately enhance the student’s chances of being admitted to the private school of their choice.

Chapter 9. A comprehensive list of the most common interview questions and answers

  1. Interview questions and answers for parents

Can you tell us about your child’s strengths and weaknesses?

When addressing your child’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s crucial to be honest and specific. Begin by reflecting on their abilities, interests, and areas for improvement while considering their unique talents and development.

When discussing strengths, provide concrete examples of skills or traits observed in various settings like academic or extracurricular activities. For example, if your child excels in problem-solving, you could mention their success in a math competition or a school project where they demonstrated this ability.

When addressing weaknesses, frame them as areas for improvement. Discuss challenges and how your child is working to overcome them, including steps taken to address weaknesses and their response to feedback. For example, if your child has difficulty with time management, explain how they have been using a planner or receiving guidance from a mentor.

Provide context by discussing how your child interacts with others, both socially and academically, such as their experience working in group settings and how their strengths and weaknesses impact group dynamics.

Key points:

  • Be honest in assessing your child’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Provide specific examples to support your answers
  • Discuss unique talents and their development
  • Address how strengths and weaknesses relate to academic performance and personal growth

What do you hope your child will gain from this school?

When answering “What do you hope your child will gain from this school?”, consider your goals and expectations for your child’s education and how the school aligns with them. Start by discussing long-term goals, such as career aspirations, future academic pursuits, or personal growth. Highlight specific programs or initiatives offered by the school that align with these goals and explain their potential benefits. For example, if the school has a strong arts program, and your child is passionate about music, explain how this program could help them develop their musical talents.

Show that you have researched the school and understand its unique qualities. By providing specific examples and illustrating how the school can help your child achieve their goals, you demonstrate your strong interest and commitment to their education.

Key points:

  • Discuss long-term goals for your child’s education
  • Explain how the school aligns with those goals
  • Mention specific programs or initiatives that are appealing to you
  • Explain why you believe this school is the right fit for your child

Can you tell us about your child’s academic history?

When discussing your child’s academic history, be honest and transparent. Address any academic difficulties they have faced in the past and the measures taken to address them, such as receiving extra help from a tutor or participating in a specific program to improve academic performance.

Highlight notable achievements or awards, like high grades, test scores, or participation in academic competitions or extracurricular activities. When discussing your child’s academic history, avoid making excuses or placing blame on external factors. Instead, focus on what your child has done to overcome challenges and achieve success. Be honest about their accomplishments to maintain sincerity.

Key points:

  • Be honest and transparent about any academic challenges your child has faced
  • Explain how challenges were addressed, including any extra support or resources
  • Highlight your child’s academic strengths, achievements, and any awards they have received
  • Provide context for your child’s academic history and emphasize their potential for academic success

How do you see your family being involved in the school community?

When answering “How do you see your family being involved in the school community?”, emphasize your commitment to being an active member. Show that you value your child’s education and are eager to be involved in their learning experience. Research the school’s community involvement opportunities, such as volunteering for school events, joining the parent-teacher association, and attending parent-teacher conferences.

Highlight any specific skills or talents that could be useful to the school, like event planning or fundraising. Mention any previous involvement in the school community, such as volunteering at a previous school or participating in community organizations.

Be specific about how you plan to contribute to the school community and why it is important to you and your child’s education. Be honest and realistic about the time and resources you have available for school involvement.

Key points:

  • Emphasize your commitment to being an active member of the school community
  • Share any previous experiences volunteering or participating in school events
  • Discuss any specific skills or talents that could be useful to the school community
  • Mention any areas of interest or specific initiatives that you are excited to get involved with at the school

Can you tell us about your child’s extra-curricular activities and interests?

When discussing your child’s extra-curricular activities and interests, provide a comprehensive picture of their involvement outside the classroom. Be specific and share examples of their participation in sports teams, clubs, volunteering, music lessons, or artistic pursuits. Discuss any leadership roles they have taken on and how these activities have helped them develop important skills like teamwork, time management, or creativity.

It’s essential to highlight how your child’s interests align with the school’s offerings or values. For instance, if your child is passionate about community service, emphasize the school’s commitment to service learning or volunteer opportunities. If your child is interested in science, mention the school’s robust STEM program or science club.

Be truthful when discussing your child’s interests and avoid exaggeration. Emphasize how your child’s passions make them a unique and valuable member of any school community.

Key points:

  • Provide specific examples of your child’s extra-curricular activities and interests
  • Explain how these activities have helped develop important skills and personal growth
  • Emphasize how your child’s passions align with the school’s values and mission
  • Be honest and avoid exaggeration

How do you handle discipline and conflict resolution at home?

When answering this question, focus on the positive aspects of your approach to discipline and conflict resolution. Be honest about your family’s values and principles, and explain how you enforce them at home. Discuss specific examples of how you have handled discipline and conflict resolution in the past while emphasizing your commitment to promoting positive behavior and resolving conflicts constructively.

Key points:

  • Share your family’s values and principles regarding discipline and conflict resolution
  • Provide specific examples of how you’ve handled these situations in the past
  • Emphasize your commitment to promoting positive behavior and resolving conflicts constructively
  • Show your openness to learning and adapting your approach as needed

Can you tell us about your family’s educational background and values?

When discussing your family’s educational background and values, convey the importance your family places on education. Share your own educational background, including degrees or certifications, and explain how your experiences have shaped your views on education. Discuss the ways you encourage your child to value learning, such as reading, exploring new interests, or pursuing academic goals.

Key points:

  • Share your family’s educational background and values
  • Emphasize the importance of education for personal and professional growth
  • Provide specific examples of how education has impacted your family positively
  • Highlight any challenges faced in pursuing education and how your family overcame them

What are your child’s career goals and how do you see the school supporting those goals?

Demonstrate a clear understanding of your child’s interests and aspirations. Be specific about their career goals and explain how the school’s curriculum, programs, and resources can help them achieve those goals. Mention relevant courses, internships, or extracurricular activities that the school offers, and explain how these opportunities will help your child develop the skills and experiences needed for their chosen field.

Key points:

  • Provide specific examples of how the school can support your child’s career goals
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of your child’s interests and aspirations
  • Emphasize your child’s commitment to their goals and their willingness to work hard to achieve them
  • Highlight relevant opportunities offered by the school

Can you tell us about your child’s social skills and how they interact with others?

When discussing your child’s social skills, highlight their positive interactions with others, such as their ability to make friends, work in a team, or handle conflicts. Be honest about any areas where your child may need support or improvement and show that you’re open to working with the school and teachers to address these areas.

Key points:

  • Provide specific examples of your child’s social skills, such as their ability to make friends, work in a team, or handle conflicts
  • Emphasize your child’s positive qualities and how they contribute to the social dynamic in a positive way
  • Highlight any experiences your child has had working in groups or on teams, and discuss their role in those situations
  • Mention any extracurricular activities or hobbies your child has that involve interacting with others
  • If your child has had any struggles in social situations, be honest about those challenges and how you and your child have worked to address them
  • Show that you are invested in helping your child develop their social skills and that you see the school as a partner in this effort

How do you see your child contributing to the school community?

When answering the question “How do you see your child contributing to the school community?”, it’s important to highlight your child’s unique talents and interests and how they can be utilized to make a positive impact. Start by discussing your child’s strengths and the activities they enjoy, such as sports, music, or volunteer work. From there, you can identify specific ways in which your child can contribute to the school community, such as joining a club or team, participating in community service projects, or using their skills to help others. Be sure to emphasize your child’s positive qualities and how they can be a valuable member of the school community. Additionally, it’s important to show your enthusiasm and support for your child’s involvement in the school community, as this will demonstrate your commitment to their education and overall success.

Key points:

• Highlight your child’s unique talents and interests

• Discuss specific ways your child can contribute to the school community

• Emphasize your child’s positive qualities and their potential value to the school

• Show your enthusiasm and support for your child’s involvement in the school community

How do you support your child’s learning and academic progress?

When answering the question of how you support your child’s learning and academic progress, it is important to show your active involvement in your child’s education. This can include attending parent-teacher conferences, volunteering at school, and supporting homework and study habits. You can emphasize the importance you place on education and how you work with the school to ensure your child’s academic success. You can discuss how you create a positive learning environment at home and encourage your child’s curiosity and love of learning. It is also important to acknowledge that each child learns differently and to discuss any strategies you have implemented to support your child’s individual learning style. Additionally, you can discuss any challenges you have faced in supporting your child’s academic progress and how you have overcome them. It is important to show that you are invested in your child’s education and are actively working to support their academic success.

Key points:

• Emphasize the importance you place on education and the value you see in your child’s academic success

• Discuss your involvement in your child’s education, such as attending parent-teacher conferences and volunteering at school

• Mention your efforts to support your child’s homework and study habits, such as providing a quiet study space or helping them create a study schedule

• Discuss any extra support or resources you provide, such as hiring a tutor or enrolling your child in additional educational programs

• Highlight your collaboration with the school and teachers to ensure your child’s academic success

• Provide specific examples of how you have supported your child’s learning and academic progress in the past

• Avoid making unrealistic or exaggerated claims about your involvement in your child’s education; be honest and transparent in your answers

Can you tell us about your child’s relationships with teachers and peers?

When answering the question about your child’s relationships with teachers and peers, it’s important to show that your child is able to form positive relationships and work well with others. To do this, you can provide specific examples of your child’s behavior and interactions with their teachers and peers. You can mention their ability to respect authority and follow rules, their willingness to help others, and their ability to communicate effectively with their peers. You can also mention any strategies or techniques that you use at home to support your child’s social skills, such as teaching them conflict resolution skills or modeling positive social behaviors. It’s important to avoid negative comments about your child’s behavior or interactions with others, as this can be seen as a red flag to the interviewer. Instead, focus on highlighting your child’s strengths and positive qualities, and explain how you plan to support their continued growth in social skills and relationships.

Key points:

• Provide specific examples of your child’s relationships with teachers and peers

• Emphasize your child’s positive qualities and their ability to work well with others

• Discuss strategies or techniques used at home to support your child’s social skills

• Avoid negative comments about your child’s behavior or interactions

Can you tell us about any challenges or difficulties your child has faced and how they were addressed?

This question is meant to determine your child’s ability to overcome challenges and difficulties. It’s best to answer this question by discussing any challenges or difficulties your child has faced, such as learning difficulties or behavioral issues, and how they were addressed. Explain the steps you took to support your child and how they have grown and developed as a result.

Key points:

• Be honest and specific about the challenges your child has faced

• Discuss the steps you took to support your child, such as seeking professional help or implementing strategies at home

• Emphasize how your child has grown and developed as a result of these challenges

• Avoid blaming others or making excuses for your child’s behavior

How do you see the school supporting your child’s emotional and social development?

When answering this question, it’s important to show that you have done your research on the school’s programs and resources for supporting emotional and social development. You should discuss specific examples of the school’s offerings, such as peer mentorship programs, counseling services, or extracurricular activities, and explain how they align with your child’s needs. It’s also helpful to mention any particular areas of concern you have for your child’s emotional or social development, and ask the interviewer how the school can address those concerns. Additionally, be sure to emphasize the importance of emotional and social development in your child’s overall education and future success. Finally, avoid criticizing the school or suggesting that they are not doing enough in this area. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of their programs and resources and how they can benefit your child.

Key points:

• Discuss the school’s programs and resources for promoting emotional and social development

• Mention counseling services, peer mentorship programs, or extracurricular activities

• Explain why you believe the school is well-equipped to support your child in these areas

Can you tell us about your child’s interests and hobbies outside of school?

When answering the question about your child’s interests and hobbies, it’s important to highlight their unique talents and passions. Be sure to mention a range of activities that your child enjoys and any accomplishments or awards they have received in those areas. You should also discuss how these interests have helped them develop important skills, such as leadership, teamwork, or creativity. Additionally, it’s helpful to talk about how your child plans to continue pursuing these interests at the new school and what opportunities the new school may offer to support their hobbies and extracurricular activities. Lastly, avoid listing activities that you think the interviewer wants to hear about, and instead focus on your child’s genuine interests and passions.

Key points:

• Discuss a range of hobbies and interests that your child enjoys

• Mention any accomplishments or awards your child has received in these areas

• Highlight how these interests have helped your child develop important skills

• Discuss how your child plans to continue pursuing their interests at the new school

How do you balance your child’s education with other responsibilities and commitments?

When answering the question of how you balance your child’s education with other responsibilities and commitments, it’s important to convey that you are committed to your child’s education and will prioritize it accordingly. Start by discussing your family’s schedule and the various responsibilities and commitments you have, such as work or caring for other family members. From there, explain how you manage your time to ensure that your child’s education is not overlooked or neglected. This can include things like setting aside designated study time each day, helping your child with homework and projects, and communicating regularly with teachers and school staff. It’s important to convey that you understand the importance of a good education and are willing to put in the time and effort to help your child succeed. Additionally, be honest about any challenges you may face in balancing these responsibilities, but also emphasize the steps you take to address them.

Key points:

• Discuss your family’s schedule and how you manage your time to prioritize your child’s education

• Emphasize the importance you place on education and how you work to ensure that your child has the time and resources they need to succeed

• Give specific examples of how you have balanced your child’s education with other responsibilities

• Be honest about any challenges you have faced in balancing your child’s education with other responsibilities, and explain how you have overcome them

Can you tell us about your child’s approach to problem-solving and critical thinking?

When answering this question, it is important to highlight your child’s problem-solving and critical thinking abilities, as well as provide concrete examples of how they have demonstrated these skills in various situations. You could discuss scenarios where your child has encountered a problem or challenge and how they approached the situation, highlighting their creativity and resourcefulness. It’s also important to emphasize how you have encouraged your child’s development in these areas, whether it be through playing games that promote critical thinking or encouraging them to take on tasks that challenge them. Additionally, you could mention any extracurricular activities or programs your child has participated in that promote problem-solving and critical thinking skills, such as robotics or debate club. It’s important to avoid generalizations and instead provide specific examples that illustrate your child’s abilities in this area. Finally, be sure to convey your confidence in your child’s problem-solving and critical thinking skills and your belief that they will continue to develop and thrive in these areas.

Key points:

• Provide specific examples of your child’s problem-solving and critical thinking strengths

• Emphasize how you have encouraged your child’s development in these areas

• Discuss situations in which your child had to think critically or solve a problem

• Explain how you have encouraged your child’s problem-solving

How do you handle communication with teachers and the school?

When answering the question about how you handle communication with teachers and the school, it’s crucial to showcase your ability to work collaboratively and effectively with the educational institution. Start by emphasizing the importance of open and consistent communication between parents and teachers. Explain that you believe frequent check-ins are essential to ensuring that your child’s needs are being met. Mention that you make a point to regularly attend parent-teacher conferences, and appreciate the opportunity to have direct conversations with your child’s teacher to discuss their progress and areas where they may need additional support.

Discuss how you approach communication with the school when issues arise. Emphasize that you believe in being proactive rather than reactive, and prefer to address any concerns early on before they become bigger issues. Provide an example of a situation where you had to communicate with the school, such as when your child was struggling with a particular subject, and how you worked with the teacher to come up with a plan to address the issue.

Key Points:

  • Emphasize the importance of open and effective communication
  • Discuss your proactive approach to addressing concerns
  • Provide specific examples of communication with teachers and the school
  • Highlight your willingness to collaborate with teachers and the school to address any challenges

Can you tell us about your child’s leadership potential and skills?

When answering this question, it is important to understand the qualities typically associated with leadership potential, such as initiative, strong communication skills, collaboration, adaptability, and responsibility. Discuss your child’s leadership potential by providing specific examples of how they have demonstrated these qualities in the past. This could include leading a group project at school, taking charge of a community service initiative, or mentoring younger children.

Mention how you have supported your child’s development of leadership skills, such as encouraging them to take on leadership roles in extracurricular activities, providing opportunities for them to practice problem-solving and decision-making, and modeling good leadership behavior. Discuss how you believe your child’s leadership potential can be further developed at the new school, such as through participation in student government, leadership clubs, or other similar activities.

Key Points:

  • Provide specific examples of your child’s leadership skills and initiative
  • Emphasize your child’s strengths and how you have encouraged their development
  • Discuss opportunities for further leadership development at the new school
  • Be honest and realistic about your child’s abilities

How do you see your child’s education continuing after they leave this school?

When answering the question about your child’s education continuing after they leave the school, emphasize your child’s long-term goals and aspirations. This helps the school understand what kind of support your child may need beyond their time at the school. Start by discussing your child’s career aspirations and how you see their education fitting into those goals. Discuss the school’s programs and resources that you feel are particularly beneficial to your child’s education and how you see those resources helping your child achieve their long-term goals. Be specific in your examples and demonstrate that you have researched the school’s programs and resources.

Explain that you have a plan for your child’s education beyond the current school. Discuss any plans you may have for continuing education or career training and how you envision your child’s education evolving over time.

Key Points:

  • Discuss your child’s long-term goals and aspirations
  • Explain how the school’s programs and resources support your child’s education
  • Describe your plans for your child’s education beyond the current school
  • Emphasize the importance of lifelong learning and your commitment to supporting your child’s educational journey

Can you tell us about your child’s learning style and how they approach new subjects or challenges?

Understanding your child’s learning style is essential in helping them approach new subjects or challenges effectively. Learning styles include visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, and each child may have a unique approach to processing and retaining information.

When answering this question, discuss your child’s learning style and how it influences their approach to new subjects or challenges. Provide specific examples of their successes or struggles in various learning environments, and discuss strategies or techniques used to support their learning style. Emphasize their strengths and weaknesses, and focus on how you have encouraged their growth and development.

Key points:

  • Understand your child’s learning style and how it influences their approach to new subjects or challenges.
  • Highlight your child’s strengths and address their weaknesses.
  • Provide specific examples to illustrate their learning style and approach.
  • Discuss strategies for continued growth and how you plan to support their development.

How do you support your child’s emotional well-being and mental health?

Supporting a child’s emotional well-being and mental health is crucial for their overall development and success. To answer this question effectively, consider discussing the following points:

  • Mention any counseling services, support groups, or mental health resources utilized to support your child’s emotional well-being.
  • Talk about activities or hobbies that promote mental and emotional well-being, such as yoga, meditation, or mindfulness practices.
  • Highlight positive coping mechanisms your child has developed to deal with stress or difficult emotions.
  • Emphasize your openness to talking about their feelings and concerns and creating a safe, supportive environment for them to share their emotions.

Can you tell us about your child’s relationship with technology and how it affects their learning and development?

Technology can have both positive and negative effects on a child’s learning and development. To answer this question, consider the following tips:

  • Be specific about how your child uses technology and how it affects their learning and development.
  • Emphasize the importance of balance, such as setting screen time guidelines and encouraging other activities like reading or physical exercise.
  • Highlight the positive impacts of technology on your child’s learning and development.
  • Address any concerns you may have about your child’s use of technology and discuss steps taken to mitigate these concerns.

Key points:

  • Discuss your child’s relationship with technology and provide concrete examples of its impact on their learning and development.
  • Emphasize the importance of balance and encourage a variety of activities.
  • Highlight the positive impacts of technology and address any concerns.
  • Discuss the steps taken to mitigate potential negative effects of technology use.

How do you see your child’s education preparing them for their future?

When discussing how your child’s education prepares them for their future, it is important to consider their career goals, aspirations, and how their education develops essential skills for success. Focus on their critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills, as well as any extracurricular activities or internships they have participated in.

Show that you have a clear plan for your child’s education and express confidence in the school’s ability to support their goals. Discuss the school’s curriculum, programs, resources, and how they align with your child’s aspirations. Provide specific examples of how your child’s education develops the skills and experiences they need to succeed in their chosen field.

Key points:

  • Emphasize your child’s strengths, interests, and how the school’s education will help them achieve their goals.
  • Discuss their career aspirations and the role of education in their future success.
  • Explain how the school’s curriculum aligns with your child’s interests and future goals.
  • Mention any extracurricular activities or programs offered by the school that will help your child achieve their goals.
  • Avoid giving vague or generic answers and provide specific examples to support your points.

Can you tell us about your child’s creativity and imagination?

When answering the question about your child’s creativity and imagination, provide specific examples that showcase their strengths in these areas. Discuss their interests, hobbies, or activities that require creativity and imagination, and emphasize how you have encouraged their development. Mention any classes, workshops, books, or resources used to support their imagination.

Remember that creativity and imagination are subjective, so provide specific examples that demonstrate your child’s skills rather than making general statements. Avoid over-exaggerating their abilities or achievements. Discuss any challenges or obstacles they have faced and how they have overcome them, demonstrating their resilience and problem-solving skills.

Key points:

  • Provide specific examples of your child’s creative skills and imagination.
  • Emphasize their strengths in these areas and how you have encouraged their development.
  • Talk about creative activities or hobbies your child has participated in or enjoys.
  • Share any awards or recognition your child has received for their creativity or imagination.
  • Avoid exaggerating their abilities or making unsupported claims about their creativity and imagination.
  • Interview questions and answers for children

What do you like to do in your free time?

When discussing what your child likes to do in their free time, it is crucial to showcase their interests, passions, and hobbies. Encourage your child to be honest and enthusiastic about their activities, and provide concrete examples of how they engage with their hobbies. Make sure they avoid one-word answers or vagueness, and instead elaborate on their interests and share related experiences. Keep the conversation positive and focused on strengths, and remind your child to be respectful of the school’s values and mission.

Key points:

• Encourage your child to discuss their hobbies and interests honestly

• Provide specific examples of how they spend their free time

• Avoid one-word answers or vagueness

• Align the discussion with the school’s values and mission

“Can you tell us about a subject that you enjoy in school?”

When discussing a subject your child enjoys in school, encourage them to choose a subject they are genuinely passionate about. They should provide specific examples of how they have applied what they learned in real-life situations and speak confidently and passionately about the subject. Remind your child to be respectful of the school’s values and mission, and caution them against discussing controversial or inappropriate academic interests.

Key points:

• Encourage your child to identify a subject they genuinely enjoy

• Provide specific examples of real-life applications of their learning

• Speak confidently and passionately about the subject

• Align the discussion with the school’s values and mission

Can you tell us about a time when you faced a challenge and how you overcame it?

When discussing a challenge your child faced, encourage them to choose an experience that highlights their strengths and character. They should focus on the positive aspects of the situation and describe how they grew from the experience. Caution your child against discussing challenges that may be too personal or sensitive, and keep the conversation focused on their strengths and accomplishments.

Key points:

• Encourage your child to recall a specific challenge they overcame

• Highlight determination and resilience in overcoming the challenge

• Focus on the positive aspects of the situation and personal growth

• Keep the conversation focused on strengths and accomplishments

How do you make friends and get along with others?

When discussing how your child makes friends and gets along with others, emphasize the value of interpersonal skills, kindness, and inclusivity. Encourage your child to provide specific examples of positive relationships, friendships, and collaborative experiences. Showcase their positive qualities and avoid speaking negatively about others. Remind your child to focus on positive interactions and relationships.

Key points:

• Emphasize kindness, respect, and inclusivity

• Provide specific examples of positive relationships and collaborations

• Showcase your child’s positive qualities

• Avoid speaking negatively about others

What do you hope to learn or achieve in school?

Encouraging your child to think about their long-term goals and the role of education in achieving those goals is essential. Help them identify their interests, strengths, and weaknesses and how they relate to their future aspirations. Emphasize the importance of discussing determination, drive, and sharing personal experiences that demonstrate perseverance and commitment. Focus on the positive aspects of their goals and avoid discussing negative aspects. Practicing with your child can help them feel more confident and comfortable during the interview process. Ask open-ended questions during practice sessions to encourage them to think about their long-term goals and aspirations.

Key Points:

  • Encourage your child to consider long-term goals and the role of education in achieving them
  • Help them identify interests, strengths, weaknesses, and their relationship to future aspirations
  • Emphasize determination, drive, and sharing personal experiences that demonstrate perseverance
  • Focus on positive aspects, avoid discussing negative aspects, and practice with your child

Can you tell us about a time when you showed leadership or initiative?

Help your child think about a specific situation where they demonstrated leadership or initiative. Encourage them to discuss the situation in detail, highlighting their skills and growth in these areas. Avoid pitfalls like exaggerating or fabricating leadership skills or situations, and help your child find a balance between confidence and modesty. Practice responding to questions about leadership or initiative with your child, so they feel more comfortable during the interview process.

Key Points:

  • Encourage your child to recall a specific situation demonstrating leadership or initiative
  • Have your child discuss the situation in detail, emphasizing skills and growth in these areas
  • Avoid exaggerating or fabricating skills or situations, and find a balance between confidence and modesty
  • Help your child practice responding to questions about leadership or initiative

Can you describe a project or presentation that you are particularly proud of?

Encourage your child to think about a specific project or presentation they are proud of and why. Have them discuss the process of creating it, including challenges faced and how they overcame them. Urge them to highlight their strengths and explain why they are proud of the final result. Help your child find a balance between confidence and modesty, and avoid exaggerating or fabricating their skills or accomplishments. Encourage your child to practice responding to questions about projects or presentations, so they feel more confident and comfortable during the interview.

Key Points:

  • Encourage your child to consider a specific project or presentation they are proud of and why
  • Have your child discuss the creation process, including challenges and overcoming them
  • Urge your child to highlight strengths and explain why they are proud of the final result
  • Help your child find a balance between confidence and modesty, and avoid exaggerating or fabricating skills

Can you tell us about a time when you showed kindness or compassion towards others?”

When helping your child prepare for this question, encourage them to think about a specific instance where they showed kindness or compassion towards others. The instance should be significant and demonstrate their ability to empathize with others. Once they have identified the situation, guide them to discuss it in detail, including how they helped others, the actions they took, and the outcome. This will show the admissions team that your child is capable of being empathetic and caring.

Additionally, your child should highlight their empathy and explain why they believe it is important to be kind and compassionate towards others. This will demonstrate that they understand the value of empathy and compassion and can apply these qualities in their daily life.

When preparing for this question, it is crucial to avoid certain pitfalls, such as being too modest or downplaying their actions. Help your child find a balance between confidence and modesty and avoid exaggeration. Encourage them to practice responding to questions about kindness and compassion to feel more confident and comfortable during the interview.

Key points:

• Encourage your child to think of a specific instance of kindness or compassion

• Discuss the situation in detail and highlight the outcome

• Emphasize the importance of empathy and compassion in daily life

• Help your child find a balance between confidence and modesty, avoiding exaggeration

• Practice responding to questions about kindness and compassion for interview preparation

“Can you tell us about a time when you showed perseverance or persistence?”

When answering the question “Can you tell us about a time when you showed perseverance or persistence?”, encourage your child to think about a specific instance where they displayed these qualities. Inspire them to discuss the situation in detail, explaining how they persisted despite facing obstacles. Urge them to highlight their determination and explain why they believe it’s important to be persistent. By doing so, they can demonstrate to the admissions team that they possess the grit and resilience needed to succeed in challenging academic environments.

Key points:

• Encourage your child to think of a specific instance of perseverance or persistence

• Inspire them to discuss the situation, overcoming obstacles, and the importance of persistence

• Highlight their determination and resilience

• Demonstrate to the admissions team their capability for academic success

Can you tell us about a time when you took responsibility for your actions and learned from a mistake?”

When answering this question, help your child think of a specific instance where they demonstrated responsibility and accountability. Encourage them to discuss the situation in detail, including what they did wrong and how they took responsibility for their actions. They should also explain what they learned from the mistake and how they used that experience to grow and improve. Urge them to highlight their maturity and explain why taking responsibility for one’s actions is an important trait. By doing so, they can demonstrate to the admissions team that they possess the self-awareness and accountability needed to succeed in a private school environment.

Additional suggestions for answering this question include being honest and open about the mistake and what was learned from it, using specific examples and providing details about the situation, highlighting how responsibility was taken for their actions, and explaining how the experience helped them grow and improve. Avoid blaming others, downplaying the mistake, making excuses, or focusing solely on the negative aspects of the experience.

Key points:

• Encourage your child to think of a specific instance of taking responsibility and learning from a mistake

• Discuss the situation in detail, including taking responsibility and lessons learned

• Highlight maturity and the importance of accountability

• Be honest and open about the mistake, avoiding blame or excuses

“Can you tell us about a time when you worked well as part of a team?”

The question “Can you tell us about a time when you worked well as part of a team?” aims to assess a candidate’s ability to collaborate and work effectively with others. Encourage your child to think of a specific example where they demonstrated teamwork skills, such as a school project, a sports team, or any other situation where they had to work with others to achieve a common goal.

When answering this question, your child should discuss their role in the team and how they contributed to the team’s success. They should highlight their teamwork skills, such as communication, collaboration, and compromise. Additionally, they should talk about any challenges the team faced and how they overcame them together. Encourage your child to mention any leadership skills they may have demonstrated and express their belief in the value of teamwork and collaboration.

Avoid focusing too much on individual achievements, being overly critical of other team members, or exaggerating contributions. Encourage your child to be honest and humble in their response, while still highlighting their strengths and positive teamwork experiences.

Key points:

• Reflect on a specific instance of working well as part of a team

• Discuss the situation, role in the team, and contributions to the team’s success

• Highlight teamwork skills and the importance of collaboration

• Avoid focusing too much on individual achievements or being overly critical of others

Can you tell us about a time when you showed creativity or resourcefulness?”

When asked about a time when you showed creativity or resourcefulness, it’s important to reflect on a specific instance where you used your imagination and resourcefulness to solve a problem. Approach this question by telling a story that highlights your ability to think outside of the box, innovate, and improvise. Start by describing the situation and the problem you faced. Then, explain the steps you took to come up with a solution and how you implemented it. Share the outcome of your creative problem-solving, and the impact it had on the situation or the people involved. Highlight the specific creative or resourceful skills you used, such as brainstorming, experimentation, or adapting to unexpected challenges. Emphasize why you believe creativity and resourcefulness are important qualities to have and how they can benefit yourself and others in various situations.

Key points:

• Reflect on a specific instance of creativity or resourcefulness

• Describe the situation, problem, solution, and outcome

• Highlight specific creative or resourceful skills

• Emphasize the importance of creativity and resourcefulness in various situations

“Can you tell us about a time when you took on a leadership role in a group or community activity?”

When answering this question, encourage your child to reflect on a specific instance where they took on a leadership role in a group or community activity. They should describe the situation, their role in the group, and how they led the group to success. Encourage them to provide specific examples of how they motivated and guided the group to achieve their goals. They should also highlight their leadership skills and explain why they believe it’s important to be a leader. Emphasize that being a leader is not just about being in charge or bossing people around, but about inspiring and motivating others towards a common goal. Encourage your child to focus on their communication and collaboration skills, as these are key traits of effective leaders. It’s also important for them to show humility and recognize the contributions of other members of the group or community. Finally, they should demonstrate their ability to adapt and respond to unexpected situations or challenges that may arise.

Key points:

• Reflect on a specific instance of taking on a leadership role in a group or community activity

• Describe the situation, role in the group, and how the group was led to success

• Highlight leadership skills and explain why it’s important to be a leader

• Focus on communication, collaboration, and adaptability, while showing humility

“Can you tell us about a time when you showed responsibility and dependability?”

When answering this question, it is important for your child to choose an experience that truly showcases their responsibility and dependability. Encourage them to consider a situation where they had a responsibility and followed through with it in a dependable way. Examples could include caring for a pet, completing a school project on time, or volunteering for a community event. Your child should explain how they fulfilled their responsibilities and how their actions contributed to the success of the task or project. They should also note any challenges they may have faced and how they overcame them in a responsible and dependable manner. Encourage your child to highlight their reliability and trustworthiness, and explain why it is important to be responsible and dependable in various situations.

Key points:

• Choose an experience that showcases responsibility and dependability

• Explain how responsibilities were fulfilled and how actions contributed to success

• Discuss challenges and how they were overcome in a responsible and dependable manner

• Highlight the importance of being responsible and dependable in various situations

“Can you tell us about a time when you helped someone or made a positive impact in your community?”

This question asks the child to recall a specific situation in which they have made a positive impact in their community or helped someone. Encourage your child to think about a time when they were able to help others and create positive change. Prompt them to discuss the situation and how they made a difference. Urge your child to explain why it is important to help others and make a positive impact in the community. Encourage them to highlight their compassion and explain why making a difference is important to them. It is important for your child to demonstrate their ability to empathize with others and show how they actively seek out opportunities to make a difference in the lives of those around them.

Key points:

• Reflect on a specific instance where your child helped someone or made a positive impact in their community

• Discuss the situation and explain how they made a positive impact

• Highlight the importance of compassion and making a difference

• Emphasize the value of making a positive impact in the community and helping others

Can you tell us about a time when you showed perseverance in overcoming a difficult task or situation?”

The interviewer is asking the candidate to share an example of a time when they showed perseverance in overcoming a difficult task or situation. This question seeks to understand the candidate’s ability to work through challenging situations and their resilience in the face of obstacles. Encourage your child to reflect on a specific instance where they encountered a difficult task or situation, and explain how they approached the problem and didn’t give up, even when faced with setbacks. They should highlight their determination and focus on how they overcame the challenge at hand. Additionally, they can explain why perseverance is an important trait to have, both personally and professionally.

Key points:

• Reflect on a specific instance where perseverance was demonstrated in overcoming a challenge

• Discuss the challenge faced and the actions taken to overcome it

• Highlight determination and the importance of perseverance

• Avoid using examples involving unethical behavior or harm to oneself or others

“Can you tell us about a time when you showed responsibility in completing a task or project?”

To answer this question, it’s important for your child to think of a specific instance where they completed a task or project with responsibility. They should describe the task or project and how they took ownership of it from beginning to end. Encourage them to highlight their sense of responsibility and how they demonstrated it during the task or project. They should explain how they were accountable for their actions and how they made sure that the task was completed to the best of their abilities.

It’s essential to avoid being too general in answering this question. Your child should focus on providing specific details about their actions and how they contributed to the successful completion of the task or project. Additionally, they should avoid taking all the credit for the success and instead give credit to the team members who helped them along the way. Finally, they should explain why it is important to be accountable and responsible for their actions, and how these skills can help them in the future.

Key points:

• Discuss a specific instance where responsibility was demonstrated in completing a task or project

• Describe how ownership was taken and the task was seen through to completion

• Highlight responsibility and accountability in the process

• Emphasize the importance of responsibility and accountability in achieving success and meeting goals

Can you tell us about a time when you showed empathy and understanding towards others?”

When answering the question about a time when the child showed empathy and understanding towards others, it is important to focus on a specific instance that demonstrates their ability to connect with and support someone in need. Encourage the child to discuss the details of the situation, how they recognized someone’s emotional state, and the actions they took to show empathy and understanding. Emphasize the importance of being compassionate and considerate towards others, as it contributes to stronger relationships and more harmonious environments.

It can be helpful to provide examples of situations where being empathetic and understanding made a positive impact on someone’s life. Additionally, they can discuss how they plan to continue developing these skills in the future, which can demonstrate their commitment to personal growth and emotional intelligence. On the other hand, it is important to avoid generic or vague answers that do not provide specific details or demonstrate a clear understanding of the importance of empathy and understanding. The child should also avoid focusing solely on their own feelings and emotions, as this can detract from the main focus of the question.

Key points:

• Provide a specific instance of showing empathy and understanding towards others

• Explain how the child recognized someone’s emotional state and the actions they took to offer support

• Highlight the importance of empathy and understanding in building strong relationships and promoting harmony

• Discuss plans for continuing to develop empathy and understanding in the future

“Can you tell us about a time when you showed initiative and took action to solve a problem?”

This question is asking for a specific instance where the child showed initiative and took action to solve a problem. To answer this question, parents can encourage their child to reflect on a particular problem they faced and how they went about solving it. It’s important to discuss the actions the child took to come up with a solution, and how they implemented their ideas to solve the problem. Parents can urge their child to highlight their problem-solving skills and explain why it’s important to be proactive in solving problems.

It’s important to emphasize the value of taking initiative and being proactive in finding solutions to problems. By taking ownership and finding creative solutions, children can become effective problem solvers, which is a valuable skill in many areas of life.

Key points:

• Provide a specific instance where the child showed initiative and took action to solve a problem

• Discuss the problem encountered, the solution developed, and the actions taken

• Highlight the child’s problem-solving skills and the importance of being proactive in addressing problems

• Include examples of positive outcomes or impacts resulting from their initiative and problem-solving

• Encourage the child to demonstrate their thought process and decision-making in solving the problem

“Can you tell us about a time when you showed kindness and generosity towards others?”

When answering this question, it’s important for children to reflect on a specific instance where they showed kindness and generosity towards others. Encourage your child to talk about the situation in detail, including who they helped and how they showed kindness and generosity. Additionally, children should be urged to highlight the positive impact their actions had on others and to explain why they believe it’s important to be kind and generous towards others.

Some examples of kind and generous actions include volunteering at a local shelter, donating clothes or food to those in need, or simply offering a listening ear to a friend in need. It’s important for children to understand that small acts of kindness can make a big difference in someone’s life and can have a ripple effect on their community.

Key points:

• Provide a specific instance where the child showed kindness and generosity towards others

• Encourage reflection on the situation and how they helped someone or showed generosity

• Urge the child to highlight their kindness and explain its importance

• Discuss the positive impact of kindness and generosity on others

• Offer examples of ways to show kindness and generosity

“Can you tell us about a time when you showed resilience in overcoming adversity?”

Resilience is an important trait that helps individuals overcome challenges and adversity in life. When answering this question, it’s important for children to reflect on a specific instance where they demonstrated resilience in the face of adversity. They should describe the difficult situation they faced and how they overcame it. Encourage them to highlight their inner strength, determination, and ability to bounce back from setbacks. They should also explain why they believe it’s important to be resilient, emphasizing the value of perseverance and the ability to adapt to change.

When answering this question, it’s important for children to be honest and authentic, focusing on a situation that truly challenged them and required resilience to overcome. They should avoid exaggerating or embellishing their experience, as this may come across as insincere or overconfident. Additionally, they should avoid making excuses or blaming others for their difficulties, as this shows a lack of personal responsibility and resilience.

Key points:

• Encourage your child to think about a specific instance where they demonstrated resilience in overcoming adversity

• Inspire them to discuss the difficult situation they faced and how they bounced back from it

• Urge them to highlight their resilience and explain why it’s important to be resilient

• Emphasize that resilience is an important life skill that can help individuals overcome challenges and achieve their goals

• Encourage them to discuss how they coped with the situation, what they learned from it, and how it has helped them in other areas of their life

Examples of what to do:

• Discuss how you overcame a difficult situation and what you learned from it

• Share how you stayed positive and motivated during tough times

• Talk about how you sought help and support from others

• Highlight the skills and strengths you developed as a result of facing adversity

Examples of what not to do:

• Don’t exaggerate or make up stories about your experiences

• Avoid focusing too much on the negative aspects of the situation

• Don’t come across as boastful or arrogant

• Avoid blaming others for the situation or for not providing enough support

Can you tell us about a time when you showed respect and courtesy towards others?”

When answering this question, it’s important to emphasize the value of respect and courtesy towards others. To best answer this question, encourage your child to recall a specific instance where they showed respect and courtesy towards others. This could be anything from holding the door open for someone, to actively listening to someone when they speak. Encourage them to discuss the situation and how they treated others with respect and kindness. They could also discuss the positive impact that their actions had on others. It’s important to highlight their respect and explain why they believe it’s important to be respectful and courteous towards others.

In addition to personal anecdotes, it may be helpful to draw upon examples from reputable sources to further illustrate the importance of respect and courtesy towards others. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that individuals who showed respect towards others had greater life satisfaction and better relationships. Encourage your child to think about how they can continue to show respect and courtesy towards others in their daily lives, and discuss the positive impact that their actions can have on those around them.

Key points:

• Recall a specific instance where they showed respect and courtesy towards others

• Discuss the situation and how they treated others with respect and kindness

• Highlight their respect and explain why it’s important to be respectful and courteous towards others

• Remind them to use concrete examples and avoid generalizations

• Encourage them to be authentic and genuine in their response

• Emphasize the importance of treating others with respect and courtesy in building positive relationships and creating a harmonious community

“Can you tell us about a time when you showed determination in pursuing a goal or objective?”

Answering a question about determination requires the child to remember a specific instance where they demonstrated this trait. It’s essential to encourage the child to think deeply about a goal they had, the effort required to achieve it, and the obstacles they encountered along the way. By reflecting on the situation, the child will gain insight into their own abilities, which will enable them to articulate their determination more effectively.

When helping your child answer this question, it is important to emphasize the importance of determination in achieving goals. You can explain that determination is about having the perseverance to keep going even when things get tough. It’s a trait that’s essential for achieving success in any area of life.

Key points:

• Think about a specific goal or objective they worked hard to achieve

• Discuss the steps they took to achieve their goal and the obstacles they encountered along the way

• Explain how their determination helped them to achieve their objective

• Highlight the importance of determination in achieving success in any area of life

• Be confident but humble when describing their determination

Dos and don’ts for answering this question:

Dos:

• Be specific about the goal or objective they pursued

• Explain the obstacles they faced and how they overcame them

• Highlight the importance of perseverance and hard work

Don’ts:

• Come across as arrogant or overly aggressive

• Put down others or make it seem like they achieved their goal all by themselves

• Use negative language or be disrespectful to others

• Talk about a goal or objective that wasn’t very challenging or important

Can you tell us about a time when you showed honesty and integrity in a situation?”

The question about a time when one showed honesty and integrity in a situation is an opportunity to showcase one’s ethical and moral values. Encourage your child to reflect on a specific instance where they acted truthfully and with integrity. Guide them to discuss the situation and how they handled it with honesty and integrity. Help them to highlight their honesty and explain why they believe it’s important to be honest and have integrity.

Here are some suggestions on how to best answer this question:

  1. Start by reflecting on your values and how they influence your actions. It’s important to understand what honesty and integrity mean to you and why they are important.
  2. Think of a specific situation where you were faced with a challenge that required honesty and integrity. It could be a situation where you had to admit a mistake, own up to a wrongdoing, or stand up for what you believe in.
  3. Describe the situation in detail and explain how you acted with honesty and integrity. Provide specific examples of how you handled the situation and how you remained true to your values.
  4. Highlight the impact of your actions. Explain how your honesty and integrity helped you and others involved in the situation, and how it contributed to a positive outcome.
  5. Be honest and humble. It’s important to be truthful and genuine in your response, without exaggerating or downplaying the situation. Acknowledge any challenges you faced and how you overcame them with honesty and integrity.

Key points:

• Describe a specific situation and how you acted with honesty and integrity

• Explain why honesty and integrity are important values to have

• Highlight the impact of your actions and how they contributed to a positive outcome

• Be honest and genuine in your response

“Can you tell us about a time when you showed teamwork and collaboration in a group project or activity?”

When answering this question, it’s important to help your child recall a specific instance where they demonstrated their teamwork and collaboration skills. This can be from a school project, sports team, or any other group activity. Encourage them to talk about the project or activity, and the role they played in it. Did they contribute ideas or take on a specific task? Did they communicate effectively with their teammates? Highlight their collaboration skills and explain how they contributed to the success of the project or activity.

Additionally, emphasize the importance of teamwork and collaboration skills in today’s world. Many careers require individuals to work well with others, and it’s important for your child to develop these skills early on. Encourage your child to practice collaboration skills in their everyday life by working on group projects, volunteering for team-based activities, and seeking opportunities to work with others.

Key points:

• Discussing the project or activity and your role in it

• Highlighting your collaboration skills, such as communication and active listening

• Explaining why teamwork and collaboration are important skills to have

• Providing specific examples of how you contributed to the success of the project or activity

Subscribe For More

Receive the latest private school admission news and promotional information straight to your inbox.  

New Application Cycle promotion:

Choose from our elite one-on-one or group tutoring packages for ISEE, SSAT, or HSPT preparation, and receive 5 complimentary hours of instruction from our renowned educational experts, a remarkable value of up to $1,100. 

Elevate your child’s potential in the private school admissions process. Secure success now!