5 Things to Avoid at the Admission Interview

Private schools have certain unwritten rules of etiquette to follow

Private school admissions interview
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A crucial part of the private school application process, the admission interview can be a nerve-wracking experience for many applicants and their families. You want to make the best impression you can in order to find the perfect school for your child. But how do you do that properly in an admission interview? Check out these five tips of things you should not do during your admission interview.  

Don't Be Late

Many private schools schedule back-to-back admissions interviews at busy times of the year, so throwing off their schedule might not be an option. If you are going to be late, call the office and advise them as soon as you realize it. You can always offer to reschedule the interview, which shows that you value their time and understand that you have made a mistake. If the office allows you to arrive late, apologize when you do arrive.

Avoid Ranking Schools

The admissions staff knows that you are looking at several schools. No matter where their school may be on your list, be cordial and noncommittal. You are trying to determine if this is the right school for your child. Admissions committee members are doing the same.

Don't tell each school that it is your first choice just to make it seem like you're more invested than you might be; and skip telling your backup school that it is not your first choice. It's OK to say that you're looking at and comparing a few schools. If you know that a school is truly your first choice and can articulate why, let the admissions committee members know, but be genuine in your comments.

Don't Be a Difficult Parent

Educating your child involves a three-sided partnership: the school, parent, and child. Ask direct questions about the school, but don't be abrasive. (It helps if you have done some research on the school beforehand.) Parents are part of the admission process, and it is not unheard of for a qualified student to be denied admission because of the way her parents acted during the interview

It also never hurts to let the school know that you are willing to help when asked; many schools rely on volunteers, and involved parents are highly desirable.

Do Not Try to Impress

Schools champion diversity and finding the right fit over stacking their parental ranks with wealth and power. Private schools generally admit students based on qualifications first and foremost. These institutions also seek students who ordinarily could not afford a private school education, and they often offer scholarships and financial aid.

Your ability to participate in the school's fundraising efforts may be a bonus, but that alone won't help your child gain admission. Your child needs to be the right fit for the school, and vice versa, so offering a large donation likely won't help.

Do Not Be Overly Familiar

The interview may have gone very well. It may be obvious that admissions committee members like you and your child. But don't get carried away. Be gracious, not effusive, in your comments. It would be inappropriate to suggest that the admissions staffer have lunch sometime or give her a hug. A smile and a polite handshake are all that is necessary at the conclusion of the interview.

Article edited by Stacy Jagodowski