The Student Success Blog

10 Private School Interview Questions

Posted by Milken School 10/2/2017
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It’s application time for private schools, and that means private school admission interviews. Once you schedule your visit to the school, which usually includes the interview, it’s to prepare for your chat with the admission representative. What questions might you be asked? Check out these 10 questions commonly asked during private school interviews:

Why do you want to attend Milken?

We used Milken in this question, but this applies to every school you’re interviewing with for admission. This should be an obvious question that you’ll be asked, because each school wants to know why you’re interviewing with them. Your answer gives the interviewer a great idea of why you chose the school, and how you might excel there. You should share a few things you like about the school, and why you can see yourself attending this particular private school. Think about the opportunities you might have at the private school that aren’t available at your current school. This might include an advanced science program or a robust performing arts department.

Why do you want to attend a private school?

This is one of the most common private school interview questions, especially if you’re transferring from a public school or charter school. This question is often asked of both students and their parents, and you should be ready to give your interviewer two or three reasons why you want to attend private school. There’s a reason why you’re looking elsewhere, and this is the perfect chance to tell the interview why. Perhaps your classes are too large or you’re not challenged enough by the courses you’re taking. Schools like Milken offer smaller class sizes that will give you more attention from your teachers, and offer a wide range of AP courses that can challenge you academically.  

What’s your favorite subject? Least favorite?

Since you’re applying to private school, naturally, you’re going to be asked questions about your academic successes. It’s ok, and expected, that you’re completely honest here. Talk about the subject you enjoy most, why you enjoy it, and maybe even talk about the teacher. If your favorite subject is art or gym, be ready to talk about why. Share career aspirations if you have them, and talk about hobbies that may relate. It’s also important to be honest about the subjects that are your least favorite; again, make sure you say why. Are these courses hard, too easy, not interesting, super exciting, or just not something you understand? Talk about your experiences, and if there’s a class you’re not loving now, perhaps there’s a way for you to get more engaged with the subject matter at the new school.

What’s your greatest strength as a student? Where do you need to improve?

This is another change to show your academic prowess during your admissions interview, and honestly admit where you could use some help. Be it time management and study skills or spelling and grammar, we all have areas in which we excel and areas in which we need to improve. Admission interviewers truly want to help you to decide if the school you’re applying to will be a great fit for you, both in terms of fostering your areas of strength, and supporting the areas in which you need more assistance. But, if they don’t know what those needs and strengths are, it will be hard to figure out if you’re a great fit.

Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?

It’s ok to say no here, but if you’ve known that you want to be a scientist, teacher, or famous actor since you were 5-years old, share it! The school might have programs specifically tailored to the skillset you’re looking to develop, which means you could thrive there! At the same time, if you have no clue what you want to be when you grow up, that’s perfectly fine. Not everyone knows what they want to be when they grow up, and private school is a great environment for you to explore new things and see what might interest you.

Do you play sports?

This is a question that requires you to know a little more about the school before answering. You don’t want to show up and ask what sports they offer. Why? This kind of information is available online, so take a minute to do your homework first. For students who are competitive athletes, you likely know which program(s) interest you most, and this is your opportunity to highlight your skills and share your goals to pursue athletics outside of school. You might want to give your interviewer a heads up before you come to campus; sometimes it’s possible for the office to arrange for you to meet with the coach or potential future teammates while you’re there.

If you’re not an athlete, however, don’t fret. Not all private schools require sports participation, and those that do, also know that not everyone is a natural born athlete. It’s pretty much a given that most schools offer more than just varsity teams; they also offer less competitive teams that focus on learning the game and developing skills to master the sport. Perhaps there are sports you might be interested in learning, or, see if there are options instead of the traditional sports sports, as many schools offer drama or even robotics as alternative options for getting involved.

Are you involved in the arts or any creative activities?

Private schools tend to offer a wide range of creative classes, especially in the realm of arts.  Classes might include everything from the more traditional drawing, painting, and ceramics to digital photography, dance, drama, and music. But, creative endeavors may also mean robotics and engineering, entrepreneurial studies, architecture, or fashion design (all programs that Milken offers!). If you’re a visual artist looking to study beyond high school, consider bringing work samples and be ready to talk about your strengths and areas you want to improve. For those who aren’t natural born artists, that’s OK, too. Share some stories about what you’ve done in the past, regardless of the skill level you have, and talk about any creative pursuits you might want to try. Don’t forget, most private schools require art classes for graduation, so you’re going to have to get in touch with your creative side at some point.

What do you do for fun?

You may fill your day with activities relating to sports or arts, but is there anything else you like to do in your spare time? When you spend time with your friends or family, what do you like to do together? Are you a globe-trotting traveler, trivia champion, or self-proclaimed bookworm? Talk about it! Do you crave an adrenaline rush on roller-coasters, live for quiet Netflix nights on the couch catching up on the latest releases, or thrive in the kitchen creating the best recipes around? Whatever your talents and interests might be, use them to give your interviewer a better idea of who you are as a person, not just as a student in the classroom.

How would your friends describe you?

This question gives your interviewer a great view into you as an individual, and how you view yourself within your friend group. This is also a chance to talk about what it will be like for you to make new friends, and the type of person you like to spend time with.

Do you have any questions for me?

That’s right, your interviewer will likely want to see if you have any questions. Please don’t say no and walk away. Be ready with at least one or two, but make sure you’re not asking obvious questions. You should already know certain things about the school, like what sports are offered or if there is a pool. Chances are, those answers are available on the school’s website, and your interviewer wants to know you took the time to visit their website. It’s perfectly acceptable, however, to ask for more details about something you found online.


Topics: Applying to Private School, Application tips

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The Student Success Blog

by Milken Community Schools

Welcome to Milken's Student Success Blog! We use this space to share information that we think will be helpful to all students at each stage of their middle and high school journey. 

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