Written By Tony Houle, Head of Admissions and Strategic Imperatives
The school interview can be so daunting for students, particularly 8th graders as they are applying to high schools, but they don’t have to be! There are some things that you can keep in mind that will help as you get ready to meet with a representative at a local high school.
1. Have questions to ask
This is as much a recruiting visit for them as it is for you. Whoever interviews you – most likely an admissions person, but it might be a parent, student, or teacher – wants you at their school. So, make sure you bring a list of questions that you want to be answered and do not be afraid to ask them. It reflects well on you as a candidate that you have prepared for the interview, and it will help you make a choice between schools later.
2. Research the school
You should take some time to look at the school’s website, ask a friend about the school, and read the reviews online. It is particularly helpful if the interview questions are available on the website like we do at Duchesne. This will give you a sense of the school and help you to develop answers. This interview is not about getting answers right or wrong, it is about meeting each other and seeing if you and the school are a good fit for each other.
3. Don’t worry, it shouldn’t be scary
We get it. You are going to be nervous. Part of the interviewer’s job is to help make you feel comfortable. Knowing that ahead of time may help you to relax. It is easy for me to say, I do not have to sit in front of a stranger and answer questions. True. However, if the interview is scary or you feel really anxious even afterward, then maybe this is not the right school for you. Another thing to remember -- the interview and the entire admissions process is about determining the right fit. Though it might feel like it, this is not a pass/fail interview.
4. Get there early, but not too early
The person interviewing you probably has several interviews scheduled for that day. You want to be punctual and not make the interviewer wait for you, but you should not get there too early. You will just have to sit and wait, and this will just make you more nervous. Plan to be on campus 15 minutes early but not any earlier. This gives you time to get settled before your interview.
5. Going virtual
Most schools in Houston are likely to be running all of their admissions virtually this year over Zoom or Teams. It is likely that admissions representatives will want parents in that meeting as well. A couple of tips for a virtual interview – find a good spot in your house to be seen on camera, make sure you have a good internet connection ahead of time, and remember that this is not the time to show off your favorite pajamas. Treat it like you are visiting campus.
One last note, try to enjoy the process. Admissions people are excited to meet you. This is part of the reason why they love their jobs. Don’t try to be someone you are not, just be yourself and it will go great.