The high school admissions interview is an important way for students to give admissions committees a better sense of who they are as a person, beyond just a list of grades and activities. Admissions committees are very focused on evaluating each and every applicant carefully to determine whether the student’s personality, educational needs and wants, and future goals are aligned with the school’s unique environment. Interviews are the best way to demonstrate those distinctive personal qualities that can make a big difference in the admissions process.
Of course, we recommend that students spend time preparing for their high school admissions interview. In fact, admissions interviews are just one of the many ways that the admissions process benefits students by teaching critical life skills. Assessing potential questions, preparing answers and key anecdotes, and rehearsing delivery are a great way for students to practice the kind of public speaking and interview skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Most Common High School Admissions Interview Questions
One of the first steps to preparing for an admissions interview is to familiarize yourself or your student with the types of questions that might be asked. Here’s a list of some of the most common high school admissions interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What do you like to do in your free time?
- What are your interests and hobbies?
- Tell me about your current school.
- What is your favorite subject in school, and why?
- What is your least favorite subject in school, and why?
- What is important to you in a new school?
- How would a good friend describe you?
- How would your teachers describe you?
- Do you like to read? What was the last book you read, and what did you like about it?
- When something is hard for you, how do you handle that?
- What interests you about attending our school?
- What questions can I answer for you about our school?
We recommend working through each of these questions to brainstorm answers. Remember, it’s important to keep applications consistently focused on one or two key themes (the same themes that were present in essay responses that highlight a student’s unique interests and qualities); interview answers are a great way to reinforce those themes. Brainstorm key anecdotes that align with the application narrative and be prepared to share those at a relevant moment.
Additional High School Admissions Interview Advice
In addition to preparing for specific questions and answers, there are several other tips to focus on as you prepare for your high school admissions interview:
- Be yourself. Remember, your interviewer wants to get to know you - really, they do. It’s critical to be authentic and answer questions according to how you actually think and feel. Interviewees are very experienced, and it’s easy for them to tell if someone is giving the answer they think the interviewer wants to hear, versus their genuine answer. It’s always best to simply be honest.
- Make a good first impression. Small gestures like making consistent eye contact, sitting up straight, smiling at appropriate moments, giving a firm handshake, minimizing fidgeting, and speaking clearly are all key for leaving a memorable positive impression. Do your best to show respect and enthusiasm for this process - the interviewer will notice!
- Be a salesperson. This is not a time to be overly modest! Be ready to speak honestly about yourself and your achievements, and don’t forget to elaborate with additional details. Short answers that don’t give any detail or reveal anything about how you think about the world should be avoided.
- Be conversational. You can go above and beyond in your interview to drive the conversation by connecting and showing interest in the interviewer. From the moment you sit down for the interview, you can find a way to connect with the interviewer. Perhaps you notice an object in their office space that is intriguing or familiar to you. Make small talk as the interview begins and ends.
- Come prepared with questions about the school. To demonstrate your genuine interest in attending this school, you need to show the interviewer that you’ve done your research and view the interview as an opportunity to learn more about an educational environment you’re very curious about. Browse the school’s website thoroughly and come prepared to ask questions about anything you found interesting.
- End the interview with gratitude. At the end of the interview, make sure to thank the interviewer for their time. Smile and be gracious as you exit the room. Then, follow up with a thoughtful thank you note in the days following the interview. Ideally, your thank you note will touch on something specific that you and the interviewer discussed during your conversation.
By preparing answers to these high school admissions interview questions and taking the time to make your best possible impression, your interview can be a meaningful supplement to the rest of your application.
Questions on how to prepare for high school admissions interviews? We’re here for you! Reach out today for personalized guidance on your admissions process.