High School Admission: Cracking the Interview

So, you’re just done attending your middle school farewell ceremony. Sparkling in a jet black suit, your mind is filled with happiness thinking about the fact that you’ve passed school. But in one corner of your mind, there still lurks some uncertainty about the path ahead. High school is as intimidating a phase as it can get. There is no dearth of movies depicting the present high school culture, and this has somewhat already created a misconception about the life in that phase. The movies portray all the highs and fun parts but forget to show all the bitter experiences at the hands of a customary ‘bully’ (well, there must be someone playing that character in high school right!). The bad side is an inevitable consequence of high school you can say.

Coming back to the point, all the filmy stuff looks and sounds great on screen and paper, but the question remains, “How does one enter this phase?” There are primarily two kinds of high schools: ones that have a test to gauge the students’ cognitive abilities where the admission is based solely on your previous academic record and the test score. It can be safely assumed that most private schools follow the above system; but the second category has an inclusion of an intermediary stage between the test and admission. The feared ‘interview’ round. It is actually a very important step as it is here where one can actually judge a person off the paper. It is worth a lot observing a person’s behavior to know more about them, just like a picture is worth a thousand words. This interview is generally taken by either a group of teachers and the principal or sometimes only the principal.

Cracking an interview is a widely-discussed topic, especially in the case of college students and their placements. A profession has also been carved along this line where the main focus is to help students prepare for this stage. But an interview at the high school can be brought down a few notches from that level. Before going any further, it will be good if some general measures are discussed here.

Interviews are meant to be meaningful conversations, where the interviewer and the interviewee exchange helpful ideas. An interview should not be a monotonous dialogue delivery, but rather a dynamic interaction resulting in fruitful discussions.

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when you give the interview.

  • Presentation: Be sure to groom yourself to perfection. A smart look can score some extra brownie points even before the actual process starts. Dress up in a neatly-pressed formal attire.
  • Knowledge: Read up about the school, its culture and activities before you go for the interview. You certainly don’t want to come across as dumb. This stage will clear up the fog over the “why do you want to join us” part of the question.
  • Body Language: Greet the interviewers politely and shake their hand firmly. A solid eye contact will bring out your confidence and highlight your capability to answer anything coming your way. Also, make sure you don’t have drooping shoulders; have a good posture.
  • Keep Smiling: Smiling is seen as a universal symbol of positivity. Don’t let anything take away that smile on your face and answer every question with the same ease on your face. Don’t look at the question as something set to rattle you, but take it as a means to tell more about yourself.
  • Honesty: Whatever be the question, give an honest answer. The quote “Honesty is an expensive gift. Don’t expect it from cheap people” says enough about the importance of this particular quality. The panel already has an idea about your profile from the documents you’ve submitted. So, trying to hide any failures in the past would be a bad option. Warning: No matter how friendly the interviewer is,  do not go on and on about your last Hawaii vacation with your parents. It’s a big no-no.
  • Comprehensive: Keep your answers crisp and sensible. However, a simple yes or no will not suffice and will work reflect negatively on you. Monosyllabic answers please nobody. Think about the question asked, take your own time, formulate an answer based on your experiences or opinions and just put it out in front of them. An interview is as simple as that.

While these are some of the generic steps for cracking any interview, a high school interview, in particular, has a few questions hemmed exclusively under its fold. A particularly famous one is the “Why” question.

Let’s take a look at the possible questions along with the things you can reveal about yourself or highlight during the interview.

  • “Why do you want to join this school” – This question is a must in any interview. If you’ve done your research well, then you should be able to answer unhesitatingly.
  • The Introduction Dilemma – Give a polite smile when you enter the room and start introducing yourself once seated. Wait till the time you are asked a question. Give the interviewers the opportunity to listen to you, and speak your heart out about your interests and ambitions. The best approach would be to ask them questions instead and let them fend for themselves, but care should be taken to maintain the decorum.
  • The interview should be used as a platform to clear your doubts on an issue. If you have any queries regarding the school, its activities, this would be the best place to ask them. More the interaction, more the chances of you opening up and getting an admission.
  • Do not forget to mention any extra-curricular activities you are involved in. They go a long way in defining you as the schools of today look for more than just marks in an exam; they look for smart individuals, ones who can fit right into the the dynamic curriculum that adheres to global standards. You could be asked questions like, “What do you do outside school?” or “What is your favorite pastime/hobby?” Be prepared.
  • Another possible question is the “What is favorite subject?” Sound confident and choose the subject wisely. Introspect and pick a subject that excites you the most, and have a good reason when asked why.
  • The rest of the questions will either deal with your performance in the pre-interview tests or any phase in your previous academic journey. Additionally, there is a possibility of questions concerning the events going on in the world being asked. Stay abreast of all the latest news in the world and that will surely impress the interviewers.

Getting into a high school is not as difficult as getting a job, and hence the same difference can also be attributed to the several admission procedures. High school education is imperative for moving up the ladder, and the selection process is not as strict as that for the placements. But getting an interview experience right from the high school level is beneficial in the long run.

Feel free to drop in your suggestions in the comments box below. We’d love to hear from you.

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