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How to Prepare Your Child for an Online Independent (Private) School Interview

Tips, Advice and Resources

How to Prepare Your Child for an Online Independent (Private) School Interview

Congratulations! If your child has been invited for an independent (private) interview following an 11-plus exam, they’ve done well enough to get through to the next stage.

The independent school interview can be as nerve-wracking as the exam preparations and the entrance exams – but they don’t need to be!

Of course, the interview does not guarantee an offer into the senior school, but a special invitation for an interview after the entrance exams, for most independent schools, means that they are one step closer to an offer, which is excellent news! 

Private schools will be looking for bright, articulate, confident and well-mannered children who can fit into the school community and give back to the school, whether it’s academically or extracurricular activities.

Every school knows the type of student they are looking for, so it’s imperative that your child doesn’t pretend to be someone he isn’t.

“There is an old saying, if you can fake sincerity….you’ve got it made!”

The private school interview isn’t about the parents; it’s about your child and how they will fit in with the school and contribute to its ethos. Remember: The Headteacher has a duty of care to their students, so it’s essential that they select the right students who will contribute to the school.

17 Independent School Interview Tips

Here is a list of steps you can take to help your child be successful during an online independent school interview:

A Good Night’s Sleep is Important Before The Private School Interview

Get them up early on the day, don’t let them snooze their alarm. A tired mind and body won’t perform as well as it could. Also, don’t let them have anything to eat or drink caffeine before the interview.

Things to Prepare Ahead of the Independent School Interview

Practice makes perfect! Make sure your child knows what questions they’ll be asked and how they’ll answer them. It’s essential that they try not to give lengthy answers; brevity is the key.

Children should avoid saying “like” or “you know” when they speak. If you tell them, then they’ll probably do it on the day of the interview!

How To Appear Like the Ideal Student During the Private Schook Admissions Process

Tell your child to be confident and believe that they can do it. Getting the words out of their mouth is half the battle at school interviews!

If your child has a telephone interview, then advise them not to use slang or jargon. Online independent schools expect students to speak informal English, and ‘Text talk’ isn’t always acceptable.- Tell them to eat something and drink plenty of water.

If the interview is a video-based (online) independent school interview, remind your child not to look down at their phone or the floor. Instead, they must look straight into the camera and speak clearly and loudly enough so that people can hear them.

Remind your child not to sit back on the chair, as they will look lazy and uninterested. Body language is key – the more interested your child looks, the better.

Whether the private school interview questions are delivered in person or online, appearances are important – your child must dress appropriately. Make sure to wear smart clothes which are suitable for the occasion. They must look presentable – even on camera! School uniform is a good choice of attire if the independent school interview takes place during the school day. However, if it takes place at the weekend, it would look quite odd for your child to wear their uniform.

It’s always better if children prepare their interview questions in advance rather than wing them when they are being interviewed. This means that they will have to think about what they’re going to say when the teacher asks them.

On interview day, remind your child to stand up straight and look lively, but don’t tell them not to smile unless they appear cocky. Otherwise, a smile is an excellent way of showing their enthusiasm!

Advise your child to be open and honest with their answers, as this will impress the interviewer. They shouldn’t try to bluff or bluff themselves into a corner that they can’t get out of

Remind your child not to “um” and “ah” when they speak, as this makes them seem insecure. If they’re unsure, it’s probably best to reply, ‘I’m not sure’. It’s better to be honest than to get it wrong.

There should be no use of jargon or slang. Slang is only for texting!

Remind your child that they are likely to be interviewed by a member of staff or the admissions team at the school, who are looking for the best candidates, so they behave accordingly. They should sit up straight and always look the teacher in the eye when talking to them, even when they’re on the telephone.

Independent School Interviews Are Not An Interrogation Session

Children must remember that it is an interview and not an interrogation, so there isn’t any such thing as the ‘wrong answer’. There is no need for them to feel intimidated by the interviewer to answer a question, but they should always show respect. While interviewers expect a natural curiosity from children, they shouldn’t interrupt the interviewer’s flow, but they can ask clarification questions if they are unsure about what they have been asked or how to reply.

Remind your child not to complain about being bored at their current school, as this will not present them in the best light!

If your child is asked why they want to attend the school, they shouldn’t just reel off a list of facts about what makes it so great. Instead, an honest opinion about the school is better. In other words, your child must be specific – and not just say, “because I like the school and it’s good here!”

Remind your child that they shouldn’t just list their achievements from school but also be enthusiastic about what they’ve learned and why. It’s essential that children don’t seem arrogant or conceited, however! Also, the more detailed answers your child can provide, the better – so work on one-word answers and help your child to expand them into full, detailed responses.

Congratulations! If your child has been invited for an independent (private) interview following an 11-plus exam, they’ve done well enough to get through to the next stage.

Of course, it doesn’t guarantee an offer, but a special invitation after the entrance exams, for most independent schools, means that they are one step closer to an offer, which is excellent news! Schools will be looking for bright, articulate, confident and well-mannered children who can fit in with the school and give back to the school.

Every school knows the type of student they are looking for, so it’s imperative that your child doesn’t pretend to be someone he isn’t.

“There is an old saying, if you can fake sincerity….you’ve got it made!”

The private school interview isn’t about the parents; it’s about your child and how they will fit in with the school and contribute to its ethos. Remember: The Headteacher has a duty of care to their students, so it’s essential that they select the right students who will contribute to the school.

17 Independent School Interview Tips

Here is a list of steps you can take to help your child be successful during an online independent school interview:

– Get them up early on the day, don’t let them snooze their alarm. A tired mind and body won’t perform as well as it could. Also, don’t let them have anything to eat or drink caffeine before the interview.

– Practice makes perfect! Make sure your child knows what questions they’ll be asked and how they’ll answer them. It’s essential that they try not to give lengthy answers; brevity is the key.

– Children should avoid saying “like” or “you know” when they speak. If you tell them, then they’ll probably do it on the day of the interview!

– Tell them to be confident and believe that they can do it. Getting the words out of their mouth is half the battle at school interviews!

– If your child uses a telephone interview, then advise them not to use slang or jargon. Online independent schools expect students to speak informal English, and ‘Text talk’ isn’t always acceptable.- Tell them to eat something and drink plenty of water.

– If it’s a video-based (online) independent school interview, remind your child not to look down at their phone or the floor. Instead, they must look straight into the camera and speak clearly and loudly enough so that people can hear them.

– Remind your child not to sit back on the chair, as they will look lazy and uninterested.

– Whether the private school interview questions are delivered in person or online, appearances are important – your child must dress appropriately. Make sure to wear smart clothes which are suitable for the occasion. They must look presentable – even on camera! School uniform is a good choice of attire if the independent school interview takes place during the school day. However, if it takes place at the weekend, it would look quite odd for your child to wear their uniform.

– It’s always better if children prepare their interview questions in advance rather than wing them when they are being interviewed. This means that they will have to think about what they’re going to say when the teacher asks them

– Tell your child to stand up straight and look lively, but don’t tell them not to smile unless they appear cocky. Otherwise, a smile is an excellent way of showing their enthusiasm!

– Advise them to be open and honest with their answers, as this will impress the interviewer. They shouldn’t try to bluff or bluff themselves into a corner that they can’t get out of

– Remind your child not to “um” and “ah” when they speak, as this makes them seem insecure. If they’re unsure, it’s probably best to reply, ‘I’m not sure’. It’s better, to be honest than to get it wrong

– Tell them not to use jargon or slang. Slang is only for texting!

– Remind your child that they are likely to be interviewed by a member of staff or the admissions team at the school, so they behave accordingly. They should sit up straight and always look the teacher in the eye when talking to them, even when they’re on the telephone.

– Children must remember that it is an interview and not an interrogation, so there isn’t any such thing as the ‘wrong answer’. There is no need for them to feel intimidated by the interviewer to answer a question, but they should always show respect. They shouldn’t interrupt the interviewer’s flow, but they can ask clarification questions if they are unsure about what they have been asked or how to reply.

– Tell them not to complain about being bored at school, as this will not present them in the best light!

– If your child is asked why they want to attend the school, they shouldn’t just reel off a list of facts about what makes it so great. Instead, an honest opinion about the school is better. In other words, your child must be specific – and not just say, “because I like the school and it’s good here!”

– Remind your child that they shouldn’t just list their achievements but also be enthusiastic about what they’ve learned and why. It’s essential that children don’t seem arrogant or conceited, however!