Interview Tips: A Quick Guide to Radiating Confidence

Stories, know-how, and guidance from the experts in educating boys.

Ollie Rothmann

Interview Tips: A Quick Guide to Radiating Confidence

The word “interview” has become a stigmatized term as it relates closely to a criminal interrogation or a high-pressure job interview. I can assure you that you will not be interrogated during your admissions “interview.” I simply explain to families that we are going to have a conversation and that there are no right or wrong answers to anything that I ask.

The purpose of an admissions interview is to learn more about the boy and his family. Every interview is different because the course of each interview is dictated by the flow of the conversation. However, there are some worthwhile tips that families could utilize when they go through the secondary school interview process.


1. Punctuality

Arriving ten to fifteen minutes before a tour or interview gives you time to take a seat, grab some water, and look through yearbooks or other literature—those publications are in the waiting room for a reason—so you can learn more information about the school. Take note of a photo or two that piques your interest and remember to ask your interviewer a question related to the photo. Some schools will even have current students in the waiting room available to answer any questions that you may have.

2. Dress For Success

Look your best so you are at your best. It is as simple as that.

3. No Dead Fish

When you introduce yourself, be sure to look the person in the eye and give a firm handshake. A floppy handshake as you look at the ground portrays disinterest, even if you do not intend for that to be the outcome. The bottom line is that there is no better first impression than a smile and a firm handshake.

4. Exude Exuberance

Smile; pay attention to what the admissions officer is saying; make eye contact when speaking; and finally, sit up straight. The admissions officer is gaging your interest level in the school by your body language.

5. Any Questions?

It is inevitable that the admissions officer will ask you if you have any questions at the end of your interview. Have something to ask! (This is a great time to remember that photo you saw in the waiting room yearbook.) It would be smart to do some research on the school’s website before visiting so you can construct a brief list of specific and relevant questions that you may choose from during your interview. Make sure that the question has not already been answered before you ask it though!

6. Follow-up

Your visit doesn't end once you leave campus! The admissions process is a dialogue of sorts! Keep in touch with the admissions officer that interviewed you. Also, reach out to any students who are currently at the school or who have graduated from the school and ask them questions! Finally, write a thank you card to the admissions officer who took the time out of his or her day to visit with you. In our digital age, receiving a card has a personal touch that an email lacks.

Key Takeaway

Be yourself. Don't try to be someone that you are not. The interviewer wants to get to know who you are, what you value, and why you are visiting private schools. A scripted conversation will be just as it sounds...scripted, and the interviewer will know. Private schools, such as the best high school for boys—Avon Old Farms, contain students from all around the world and from all different backgrounds: so be yourself. There is no “cookie-cutter” private school student, and there is no reason for you to force yourself to fit into this fabricated mold. We want to meet the you in your most genuine form so the best decision can be made for both the student and the school.



Avon Old Farms Class of 2011

Director of Financial Aid