private school interviews

Thirty seconds. That’s how long it takes to leave the first impression. Non-verbal cues in the form of body language, posture, eye contact, and even something as miniscule as your handshake’s length of time can be integral in formulating an initial impression.  As a matter of fact, research shows that it takes an average of three hours of continuous interaction to develop an equal level of rapport you can get with a single handshake. Every small interaction is an art which is acknowledged and assessed at your first point of contact with schools. Our coaches at KEY empower you – the artist – to create your own meaningful dialogue so you can leave a lasting first impression and feel confident about your interaction.

KEY’s interview coaching involves extensive and deeply personal one-on-one exploration about your education philosophies, your goals, your interests, and seeks to answer ‘why?’. Together, whether with student or parent, we delve deep into various aspects of leaving a positive impression, from doing background research on the target school’s programs and clubs to seem less important elements like practicing how to engage in small talk. We equip our families with tools so you can engage in meaningful and personalized conversations through our three-step process: 1. Uncovering your unique traits and values 2: Connecting them to relevant stories and examples 3: Crafting your narrative. 

As much as the interview is an opportunity to determine if you are a good fit with their community, it is equally about whether or not you see yourself as part of their school. 

Here are 5 key tips on how to leave a positive impression:

  1. Know the school/program inside and out – but not just their general facts or a school’s mission statement, but what’s standout about the school to you, the applicant/parent? What’s a unique program you’d be interested in participating in? What about their mission statement or value set most resonate with your own core values?
  2. Body language – use hand gestures sparingly to emphasize a point, sit up straight and let hands fall naturally on a lap or folded neatly on the table. Maintain eye contact just above the forehead crease.
  3. Attire and First Impression – we advise a collared shirt for men, without a tie; for women, a nice fitted blouse paired with dark trousers and a blazer, or a nice ironed dress (nothing too colorful nor too dull).
  4. Conversation – Interviews aren’t meant to be stodgy, back and forth sessions between interviewer and interviewee. Consider how to expand on your thoughts and pair your answers with unique, personal experiences, stories, and details that help paint a greater picture.
  5. Be curious – After exploring the school’s site, visiting, and learning more about them, it’s important to show genuine interest through personal and thought-provoking questions. Engage the interviewer to consider his or her opinions based on years of experience, expertise, and personal educational philosophies. At KEY, we help families come up with unique, outside-the-box, questions that are both relevant to the family and intriguing to the interviewer.

The interview is an important element of the admissions process; it’s your opportunity as a student or as a parent to shine and show how you’re undeniably a great fit at their school. So, what are you waiting for? Pick up your paintbrush and start creating your masterpiece!