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The Parent Private School Interview: Questions to Expect (and Questions to Ask!)

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If you are starting the private school application process with your child for the first time, you’ve come to the right place. It can seem like there are a lot of hoops to jump through in the admissions process, but we’re confident you’ll have the system figured out in no time.

The parent interview is meant to put a face to a name and humanize your family’s application. Admissions wants to get a sense of what you will bring to the parent community, what your child will add to the student body, and whether your outlook on education is compatible with the mission and values of the school. 

Here are some questions to anticipate during your parent interview:

  1. What brings you to our school?
  2. In what kind of school would you like to enroll your child?
  3. Tell me about your child (especially as a learner).
  4. What type of person do you want your child to grow up to be?
  5. Describe your child using three adjectives.
  6. What kind of environments/situations does your child thrive in?
  7. When is your child at their best?
  8. What has your child’s school experience been to date?

Don’t forget that the interview is a two-way street. While the admissions committee is trying to gauge your fit, you should be making sure the school lives up to your expectations as well! 

Here are some questions to ask during your parent interview:

  1. What does a typical school day look like?
  2. Have you planned for virtual learning, if it becomes necessary again?
  3. What kind of training program has your staff completed?
  4. In your opinion, how does this school differ from others?
  5. How do you balance academic rigor and social development? 
  6. What do you do to facilitate communication skill development?
  7. How do you incorporate technology into the curriculum?
  8. What’s the best way for parents to be involved?
  9. How do you encourage well-roundedness among your students?
  10. How do you encourage intellectual curiosity?
  11. How do you approach discipline?
  12. Where do you place your graduates, and how do you help families in that process?
  13. What are the unique programs or curricula that the school implements and why?
  14. How much homework is there on a nightly basis and what is the general philosophy about homework?
  15. How much recess or downtime do students have on a typical day?
  16. Where do you place your graduates, and how do you help families in that process?
  17. How engaged is your parent body, and what kind of activities do parents do to contribute to campus life?
  18. What activities do you have to help transition new students into the academic and social life of the school?

Finally, three tips to ace the interview:

  1. Relax. (At least try!) If the interview process is giving you sweaty palms, try thinking about it in a new way (also: baby powder). It’s much more of a conversation than an interview anyway, and you’re evaluating the admissions representative’s responses as much as they’re evaluating yours. This is your opportunity to make sure that this school is the kind of institution you would want your child attending.
  2. Don’t ask questions that you could easily find on the school’s website. In other words, don’t ask questions just to ask them. Instead, take some time to review the school’s website ahead of the interview. Take note of any questions that pop up in your brain or potential issues you foresee. 
  3. Don’t schedule your first parent interview with your top-choice school. We recommend engaging in one or two parent interviews with schools in the middle of your list before meeting with staff members at your top-choice school. You know, get all the jitters out first!
Interested in working with a seasoned Advisor on your parent statement?
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