You've requested materials, looked at websites, talked with your parents, and decided which schools you like. Now, it's time for the dreaded interview. Needless to say you're a little nervous. Here are five easy steps you can take to make your interview memorable (in a good way).
1. Smile and Introduce Yourself
It might be tempting to hang back and wait for the Admissions Counselor to ask your name or for your parents to introduce you. If you want to make a stellar first impression (and start your interview off on the right foot!) stand up when the Admissions Counselor walks into the room, stick your hand out and introduce yourself. Not only will you impress the counselor, you'll probably chase away some of your nerves. As my former chorus teacher used to say, fake it till you make it.
2. Have Something to Say
There are a number of questions that Admissions Counselors usually ask. The questions vary depending on the school and the student, but there are a few that you can count on answering in nearly every interview. One of the most common is: Tell me a little bit about yourself. You have two options when you answer this question. You can smile shyly and tell them your name, where you're from, and what you're favorite subject is...or you can think about it ahead of time and wow them with an answer like "My name is Samantha. I'm in eighth grade. I've been passionate about dancing since I was five. I dance five days a week and my favorite type is jazz. My favorite thing about myself is my ability to make people laugh. I chose to come and look at Stoneleigh-Burnham because I love your website and the fact that I would have the chance to dance every day. "A thoughtful answer will show you really care about the interview and that you've thought about how you want to represent yourself.
3. Learn About the School Ahead of Time
If you know that a school has a great visual arts program, an excellent varsity soccer record, or a stellar English program before you interview, chances are the Admissions Counselor will be impressed. Some of my most memorable interviews have been with students who knew that Stoneleigh-Burnham was the result of a merger between five schools or that we have a strong visual arts program. If you take time to research the school ahead of time we will notice.
4. Dress Appropriately
Many private school students wear uniforms. If they don't, chances are they have a stricter dress code than a public school. Be sure to ask about the dress code ahead of time...if you forget, don't panic! Wear something on the conservative side. A longer skirt, khakis, polos, dress pants, dresses and sweaters are all appropriate. Remember, you want to make a good first impression!
5. Write a Thank You Note
Writing a thank you note is both polite and an excellent way to stay on an Admission Counselor's radar. Send the note 1-2 days after your interview and be sure to spell the Admissions Counselor's name correctly! Handwritten notes show that you appreciate the time they spent with you. A little goes a long way!