The private school interview is an important part of a student’s application: it’s a chance for students to show what they can contribute to the school and to learn more about the school. Below, you’ll find five of the most common questions asked at private school interviews and some important things to remember when answering these questions.
1. Why do you think our school would be a good fit for you?
This question is one of the most common questions asked during a private school interview. When you answer, tell the interviewer what you like about the school; be sure to mention specific aspects of their school that you like rather than general statements that could apply to any school. If you’ve shadowed at the school or attended the open house, talk about specific things that you liked from your visit. You can also talk about certain classes and extracurricular activities you are interested in participating in at the school. If possible, talk about how you think the school can help you. Will the school's resources help you pursue certain academic interests? Will the small class sizes or engaging teachers help you become a better learner? Interviewers want to know specific things about their school that make it appealing to you.
2. What do you like to do in your free time?
This question is asked at almost every private school interview, so students should be prepared to talk about some hobbies they have outside of school. You don’t need to talk about everything that you do in your free time. Instead, pick a couple of hobbies that you are passionate about and focus on those. These hobbies can include sports, drama, singing, writing, drawing, robotics, coding, creating Youtube videos, or anything else that you're passionate about. You can also tell the interviewer how you will continue pursuing these hobbies at their school, or you can talk about a new interest that you want to pursue at their school.
3. What is your favorite subject, and what is your least favorite subject?
Be honest when answering this question. If you don’t like math and you really enjoy art, then say that! Don’t try to tell the interviewer what you think he/she wants to hear: the interviewer’s job is to craft a diverse class of students who have different interests, so it’s important to be honest. When talking about your favorite subject, be sure to explain why you enjoy that subject. For example, if you like art, you could say, “My favorite subject is art because it allows me to express myself in a creative way.” If you like math, you could say, “My favorite subject is math because I really enjoy coming up with new ways to solve problems.” When talking about your least favorite subject, be honest, but avoid being overly negative. For example, don’t talk about teachers that you don’t like, and don’t say things that make it seem like you have a bad attitude. Instead, try and turn your dislike of the subject into something positive. For example, if you don’t like reading you could say, “My least favorite subject is reading because I’m not the fastest reader. However, I’ve been meeting with my teacher to get tips on how to improve my speed and comprehension.” Answers like this show the interviewer that you are willing to work hard even if you are struggling or dislike a subject.
4. What are some of your strengths and weaknesses as a student?
This is a chance for you to show your academic strengths during your interview and to also honestly admit some things you could improve on. Everyone has areas in which they excel and areas in which they can improve. The interviewer wants an honest answer about your strengths and weaknesses so they can decide if their school is a good fit for you. When talking about your strengths, don’t be shy. You don’t need to brag, but if you’re a gifted writer and you’ve started your own blog, or if you’re extremely organized and manage your time well, tell the interviewer! When talking about your weaknesses, make sure you talk about how you want to work on your weaknesses, and try to talk about how you think their school can help you improve those areas of weakness.
5. Do you have any questions for me?
Most interviewers will end the interview with this question. It’s important to think of a few questions in advance, so you can have at least one question to ask the interviewer. Asking questions shows the interviewer that you are genuinely interested in the school and that you’ve taken the time to do some research. Avoid generic questions such as, “What classes do you offer?” Instead, ask specific questions that show you’ve put in the time to research their school. Ask questions about things that you are genuinely interested in. For example, if you are interested in graphic design, you can say, “I read on your website that you have a graphic design club; I was wondering what types of graphic design students learn in this club?” If you are interested in community service, and you have a specific type of community service that interests you, such as working with kids, ask if the school has any opportunities in this area. Whatever the question, make sure it is specific and shows your interests.