Interviews are a quintessential part of any exam process for any school. Usually occurring after an exam, it is the final step to receiving an offer. An interview by definition is a meeting in which someone asks you questions to evaluate if you are suitable for a course. It is an opportunity for the school to get to know the student on a more personal level. More often than not, these interviews will be conducted by a senior member of staff, so it is very important to make a good impression. Take a look at  our step-by-step guide to achieve success in the interview process.

Before the interview

To perform well during the interview, it is almost as important to prepare beforehand. We present to you below our tips for before the interview.

Calming your nerves

It is entirely normal for your child to be nervous before an interview. Here are some tips to avoid any pre-interview nerves:

  • Practice breathing deeply
  • Arrive for the interview in plenty of time, to avoid a nervous start to the interview.
  • Make sure that they appear smart, smile, be confident, maintain good eye contact and use a warm greeting such as Good morning Sir/Mr Smith (or just Good morning if they are concerned they might forget the name)
  • Be prepared! Practicing some questions beforehand, may help ease the nerves.

Attire and appearance

The best way to make a good first impression is by looking smart. Make sure your uniform is correct and your appearance is tidy. For example, it is important to:

  • Have your shirt tucked in
  • Have your shoes nicely polished
  • Have your hair neatly tied up in a ponytail or combed
  • No rips or holes in your clothes

During the interview

Interviews will usually last around 20-30 minutes, depending on the age of the student. Please find below our tips for during the interview.

Demeanour

Another effective way of making a good first impression is by showing your manners straight away. This can be done by:

  • Arrive in plenty of time so that you are not late
  • Making eye contact with the interviewer and not looking at the floor
  • Being smiley and open
  • Stand up straight to demonstrate confidence
  • Show a bit of personality when answering the questions without being overly enthusiastic
  • Say thank you after the interview

Prep school example questions (Years 3 – 8)

Unlike at senior schools, interviews at prep schools tend to be fairly informal conversations with a Headmaster/Deputy, or Head of Admissions.

They will typically spend a little time asking your child a few simple questions (mentioned in the list below). It is an opportunity for the staff to get to know the interests of your child, so your child should not feel nervous at all!

Some examples of some questions they may ask are:

  • What is your favourite subject and why?
  • What is your least favourite subject and why?
  • What do you like to do in your free time?
  • Why would you like to study in England (if they are an international student)?
  • What is your favourite book?
  • What sports do you practice?

Senior school example questions (Years 9 – 13)

Senior school interviews tend to be more intense, thus, more preparation is necessary. The applicant themselves will need to know elements about the school to fully come across as engaged during the interview. So, it is worth looking through the school website to learn more about what the school is about, so that the applicant sparks a genuine interest in joining there. 

In this way, the applicant is best equipped to answer common questions which get asked during school interviews. Examples of these questions are:

  • Why would you like to come to THIS particular school?
  • What can YOU offer to this school
  • What are your hobbies/interests outside school?
  • Current affairs about the country your child is going to study in: the ability to be self-aware and engaged are essential
  • Tell them about your favourite book/a book you have currently read
  • What is your biggest weakness?

 

 

It is important to show your interest in the school. Beforehand, think of any questions that you may want to ask the interviewer. Asking questions at the end of the interview shows your aspiration in joining this school.

After the interview

Congratulations for making it to the end of the interview. Before the sigh of relief, it is important to leave a good lasting impression. Remember to:

  • Smile
  • Eye contact
  • Firm handshake
  • A polite ´thank you for the opportunity to come to the school and meet you´

And ‘voila’!, you have completed a successful interview and will be expecting your offer any time soon!

All in all, school interviews can be nerve wracking, but with the right preparation they will go well. Essentially, the school just want to get to know you a bit more and see if you’re a good person with the ability to communicate well. They are great practice for future interviews and a great life skill to master! 

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