Private School Interview Questions for High School Admissions

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

two females sit across a table; the one in facing the camera is conducting a college interview with the other female

Private School Interview Questions for High School Admissions

How Important Is a Private High School Interview?

Private high school admissions can be a competitive and challenging process, as many students aspire to attend some of the most prestigious and selective schools. One critical component of the application process is the private high school interview. Possible private school interview questions will be discussed later as this interview can play a significant role in a student’s admission decision.

How important is a private high school interview? Private high schools typically use interviews to get to know their applicants beyond what is presented in their application materials. Interviews provide the school with an opportunity to learn more about the student’s personality, interests, and goals. Additionally, interviews allow applicants to showcase their unique qualities and accomplishments, which may not be adequately conveyed through transcripts and essays.

The interview is an opportunity for the student to demonstrate their interest in the school and their willingness to contribute to its community. Private high schools are looking for students who are passionate about learning and engaged in extracurricular activities.

Young woman talking to an interviewer.

During the interview, students should be prepared to discuss their academic and extracurricular interests, as well as any community service or leadership experience they may have.

For students who are nervous about the interview, it’s important to remember that the interviewer is on their side. Private high schools want their applicants to succeed and will do everything possible to help them feel comfortable during the interview. Being honest, enthusiastic, and genuine during the interview can go a long way in making a positive impression on the interviewer.

However, not all private high schools require interviews as part of their admissions process. For schools that do require interviews, it’s important to take them seriously. The interview can provide a unique opportunity for students to showcase their personality, interests, and accomplishments and set themselves apart from other applicants.

What Do They Ask in Private School Interviews?

Private school interviews are an important part of the admissions process. Private school interview questions can vary depending on the school and the interviewer, but they generally aim to assess a student’s suitability for admission to the school.

Private high schools often place a strong emphasis on character, values, and personality, in addition to academic achievement and extracurricular activities. Thus, the interview is an opportunity for the admissions committee to learn more about the student beyond their grades and achievements.

Two people talking in a table.

So, what do they ask in private school interviews? Here is a list of the most frequently asked private school interview questions during the high school admissions process.

“Tell Us About Yourself.”

This one appears to be very simple, but since it is open-ended, it can be intimidating. There is so much to discuss, and you might be confused about where do you begin and what to concentrate on. Remember that the admissions officer is genuinely interested in learning more about you, particularly how you would fit into their school.

Since they want to learn more about you, what you say and how you say it are both important. Be assertive and discuss your grade level and a few of your interests outside of school.

You are not required to recite all your activities and interests. Just talk about a few interesting and significant things you do inside and outside the school.

“What Are Your Strongest Points?”

This is one of the most frequently asked private high school interview questions. Consider what your teachers have said in previous teacher meetings about your strengths in the classroom or on the sports field.

Maybe you always complete your work on time? Is your work consistently neat and well-presented? Do you get along well with everyone? Are you participative in class and in other school activities?

Consider your academic, extracurricular, and leadership roles, as well as your personal strengths. As much as possible, use a “show, don’t tell” approach.

“Tell Us About Your Weaknesses.”

This common interview question can also be encountered during a job interview.  It’s a difficult question to answer because you have to be as honest as possible without putting yourself or your personality in a negative light.

The best way to answer this question is to talk about something real that you want to improve or resolve. Discuss the specific ways and methods you’ve begun working toward your goal.

For example, you may be a shy person but you have actively attempted to participate more in class. Perhaps you’re not particularly good at team sports but have joined the soccer team and committed to attending every practice.

Always use real-life examples and ways for overcoming your weaknesses.

“What Do You Like to Do in Your Free Time?”

This is one of the straightforward private school interview questions that can catch you off guard if you’re not careful with your responses. It’s easy to talk about how much you enjoy video games and hanging out with your friends, but consider what the interviewer is likely to want to hear.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of school? Do you like to go hiking with your family or surfing with your friends? Maybe you’ve always liked to build things and have a collection of match-stick planes you made with your grandfather.

Talk about any interesting extracurricular activities or hobbies you have. It can be as simple as mountain biking or as involved as being an active Scout leader in charge of your own patrol and community service projects in which you’ve participated.

Even though you need to think about what to say to impress admissions officers, stay truthful and share about the things you enjoy doing and are passionate about.

“What Extracurricular Activities Do You Participate In?”

It is important to research what extracurricular activities are available at this school that you are interested in participating in. Perhaps you already enjoy one of the sports they provide, in which case you can express your desire to continue doing it.

Also, they may offer something completely new that you are unable to do at your current school, and you can express your desire to participate in this new activity at their school.

“What Is Your Favorite Subject? How About Your Least Favorite?”

You will almost certainly be asked this question during your private high school interview. Remember that there is no correct or incorrect answer to this question.

However, instead of simply answering with the subject name, be prepared to explain why the subject you choose is your favorite and why you find the topic interesting. Remember to use as many specific examples as possible.

Regarding your least favorite subject, we do not recommend that you list every reason why science is your personal academic enemy. Instead, try to figure out why it is your least favorite subject.

To serve as examples, maybe you have trouble learning foreign languages, or maybe physical education isn’t your thing since you’re not a physical mover or you are not into sports.

“How Do You Deal with Stress?”

This is one of the private school interview questions that allows you to demonstrate your problem-solving abilities as well as explain how you deal with stress. Everyone experiences stress, so your interviewer would want to know how you handled a stressful situation in the past.

Consider a time when you were stressed out by an assignment or a class subject and describe how you handled it positively. Remember to talk about yourself and your own skills rather than how you worked with a teacher or a tutor.

“How Do You Handle Conflict?”

You are not the only one who is perplexed by this one. This is a difficult question for adults to answer as well!

Perhaps you are a natural communicator who prefers to talk things out at the exact moment. Perhaps you prefer to process your thoughts and feelings before attempting to solve problems. It is perfectly fine to admit that you’re still learning like everyone else.

“Which of Your Achievements Makes You the Proudest Of?”

Your first instinct may be to choose your most significant accomplishment, but it’s also important to consider one that was truly meaningful, even if it was small.

Discussing a challenge you overcame or a time you helped someone can show far more maturity and thoughtfulness than mentioning an award or prize or winning a competition in popular international programs like the Odyssey of the Mind.

Of course, you can share your big achievements since you worked hard to achieve them but do not forget to consider the little things you accomplished which made a big impact to your life.

Maybe you are very proud of the 1964 Mustang you and your father restored. Perhaps you’d like to brag about all the friends you made at camp last summer after confronting your social anxiety and putting yourself out there.

What you choose to discuss does not have to be something tangible. It can be more concrete, like raising a certain amount of money for charity, or it can be more abstract like assisting in nursing a family member back to health after a serious injury.

“How Will You Contribute to Our School?”

This can be a difficult question, but as long as you stick to concrete items, you’ll be fine. For example, if you want to join an athletic team or an academic club, let them know.

There are also other ways to consider this question: What distinguishes you? What aspects of the school community pique your interest? How will you participate?

If you’re stuck, go to the school’s website and look through its offerings.

Be as specific as possible about what you want to do at school and how you will be a good classmate, team member, and peer to other students.

By the end of your conversation, your interviewer will almost certainly ask if you have any questions for them. It is critical that you prepare some general and specific questions in order to demonstrate your genuine interest in attending this school. Furthermore, asking your own questions allows you to learn more about the school.

Interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience, but by preparing for these common private school interview questions, students can feel more confident and make a positive impression on the interviewer.

How Do You Prepare for a Private High School Interview?

Preparing for a private high school interview can be a daunting task, but it’s important to remember that it’s an opportunity for you to showcase your strengths and interests to the admissions committee.

View of a woman talking to a student during an interview.

The interview is a chance for the school to learn more about you beyond your academic credentials and extracurricular activities. It’s an opportunity for you to demonstrate your communication skills, critical thinking abilities, and personal qualities that make you a strong candidate for admission.

How do you prepare for a private high school interview? Let’s discuss some tips on how to ace your private high school interview.

1. Research the School

Before the interview, take the time to research the school thoroughly. Visit the school’s website, read the school’s mission statement, and learn about its academic programs, extracurricular activities, and any unique features that set it apart from other schools.

2. Review Your Application Materials

Review your application materials, including your transcripts, essays, and recommendation letters. This will help you refresh your memory on what you have already shared with the school, ensuring that you don’t repeat information during the interview.

3. Practice Your Responses to Common Questions

As mentioned earlier, there are some common private school interview questions that are likely to be asked by a member of the admissions committee or a faculty member. Practice your responses to these questions, so you feel confident and prepared on the day of the interview.

Young woman talking to two inteviewers.

4.  Prepare Your Own Questions

Interviews are a two-way conversation, and the interviewer will likely give you an opportunity to ask questions about the school or the admissions process. Prepare some thoughtful questions in advance to show your interest in the school and learn more about its programs and community.

5. Dress Appropriately

Dress appropriately for the interview. While the dress code may vary depending on the school, it’s essential to make a good first impression. Choose an outfit that makes you feel confident and comfortable and something that reflects your personality.

6. Be on Time

You must arrive at the interview location at least ten minutes before your scheduled appointment. This will give you time to relax and compose yourself before the interview begins.

7.  Show Good Manners

During the interview, be respectful and courteous to the interviewer. Make eye contact, sit up straight, and speak clearly. Show your gratitude for the opportunity to interview and thank the interviewer for their time.

Two women talking in a room next to a shelf.

By taking the time to prepare for your private high school interview, you can help ensure that you make a strong and positive impression on the admissions committee. Being well-prepared also increases your chances of being accepted to one of the best private high schools in the US.

Moreover, the admissions process in private high schools can be challenging, but it’s a valuable opportunity for you to showcase your strengths and passions, and find a school that is the right fit for your academic and personal goals.

With hard work, dedication, and a positive attitude, you can successfully navigate the private high school admissions process and set yourself up for success in your educational journey.

Furthermore, admissions experts like AdmissionSight offer consultations and programs that could help you in getting into your dream private high school. If you would like to know more about AdmissionSight or what we could offer, you can set up an appointment for an initial consultation with our experts today.


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