What to Expect in a Private School Interview (And How to Prepare)

Asking the right questions in a private school interview can mean the difference between getting accepted and not. Here are some tips on preparing for your interview.

What to Expect in a Private School Interview (And How to Prepare)
Asking the right questions in a private school interview can mean the difference between getting accepted and not. Here are some tips on preparing for your interview.

When it comes to private school interviews, there are a few key things you can expect.

The most important thing to remember is that the interview process is designed to get to know you as a person, and not just your academic accomplishments.

Because of this, expect questions that probe into your interests, motivations, and passions.

While these questions may seem daunting at first, remember that the interviewer is simply trying to get to know you better.

With that in mind, here are a few tips on how best to prepare for a private school interview.


Do your research and do more non-traditional research

Be sure to research the school beforehand so that you can answer any questions about their program or curriculum confidently.

Ordinary research

These are the typical ways you can look up info on your school prior to the admissions interview:

  1. School website. Specifically the about us section.
  2. Wiki page. Community edits may mean some info may not be verified and others, falsified.
  3. Google knowledge panel. This shows up as a card in the search engine results page when you search on Google. It is a summary of all the info their web crawler has found online.
  4. LinkedIn page. Compared to fb and ig, LinkedIn is the most professional social network platform most people can think of. Go on their wall or page and read the recent posts to increase your general knowledge.
  5. Open house, open house talks and brochures. The most updated material goes on whatever gets handed out to prospective students in those flashy goodie bags. Expect most students to have studied and taken these as serious material even before the phone screening stage.

Non-traditional research

Think of creative ways to grab and wrestle more information. The more you know, and the more you know compare to your competition, the further ahead you are.

Here are some extraordinary research methods:

  • Explore online; if the school is holding interviews for other positions (like an ad posting for a job vacancy), see what are the optimal qualities they are looking for. If it applies to teachers and school administrators, then it will similarly apply to a prospective student.
  • During this admissions stage, consider calling into the school to make an inquiry (don't tell them your name though!). Ask them whatever questions you have and you can expect attention from someone and a proper answer.

This will also help you determine if the school is truly a good fit for you.

Practice answering common interview questions

In addition to researching the school itself, it’s also helpful to brush up on common interview questions such as “Tell me about yourself” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”

By preparing answers ahead of time, you’ll be less likely to feel flustered during the actual interview.

  • It is ok to practice alone, though you should videotape your session and always work on perfecting memorising content before focusing on performance.

Ask thoughtful questions

Private school interviews aren’t just about impressing the interviewer – they’re also an opportunity for you to learn more about the school.

Be sure to ask thoughtful questions that show off your interest in attending their institution (e.g., “What sets your math program apart from other schools?”).

  • If you can't brainstorm or conjure many thoughtful questions, approach a classmate or alumni who has already been through the interview and get their opinion.

Relax and be yourself!

One of the most important things you can do during a private school interview is simply be yourself!

The admissions committee wants nothing more than for you to succeed at their institution – so try not worry too much and relax as much as possible throughout the process.

  • Showcase your personal brand and authentic self. Don't be too stuck up - you'll look really fake and the interviewers can detect every pre-tense you put up!