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What to expect during boarding school interviews

Interviews can be stressful occasions, especially when offers of admission are dependent on them – but they do not have to be. As long as parents and students understand what interviews for boarding school admission may entail, it would be easier for them to keep their peace of mind.

The first rule of thumb is that interviews are indeed inter-views; interviewers seeks to understand candidates as much as candidates seek to understand the institution. As such, there are no right or wrong answers. The point is to try and find a match between prospective students and the school – whether they are likely to fit in with the learning environment and benefit from the course. Parents should be prepared to talk about their educational philosophies, while students are likely to be asked questions about their attitudes.

When it comes to a review of academic background, students should not be intimidated by a feeling of being judged. Again, the focus is on understanding – interviewers would like to find out what students have learned so far, their strengths and weaknesses, and what they would aim to achieve going forward. Such conversations give a fuller picture of students’ academic trajectories than what application forms and transcripts can possibly capture. Where there are fails, study gaps or other anomalies, just give truthful explanations.

Online interviews are common this year given COVID-19 travel restrictions, but under normal circumstances in-person visits are strongly preferred. Doing so gives one the chance to see the boarding facilities through a campus tour, as well as connect with staff in a more direct way.