As the summer sun blazes and students enjoy their break, it’s easy to let thoughts of school drift to the backburner. However, for those gearing up for high school applications in the fall, summer may be the perfect time to get an advantage preparing for upcoming interviews.

Most independent schools, and even some selective public high schools, will require an interview. These interviews can be a pivotal part of the admissions process, offering students a chance to showcase their personalities, interests, and potential beyond test scores and transcripts.

Here are some strategies to ensure students are interview-ready come fall:

1. Reflect on Experiences and Goals

Summer provides a unique opportunity for students to reflect on their past academic year and their broader goals. Encourage your child to think about:

– What were their most significant achievements and challenges?

– What extracurricular activities or subjects sparked their interest?

– What are their long-term academic and personal goals?

This reflection will help students articulate their strengths and motivations during the interview.

2. Engage in Extracurricular Activities

Participating in summer camps, volunteer work, or pursuing a passion project can be incredibly beneficial. These activities not only enrich a student’s “resume” but also provide fresh experiences to discuss during interviews. Whether it’s a leadership role in a summer camp, a new skill learned, or community service involvement, these experiences demonstrate a well-rounded character and commitment to personal growth.

3. Hone Communication Skills

Effective communication is key during interviews. Encourage students to:

– Practice speaking about their experiences and aspirations with friends and family.

– Engage in activities that require public speaking or group discussions, such as debate clubs or drama classes.

– Work on active listening skills, ensuring they can engage thoughtfully with interviewers’ questions.

– Practice the art of storytelling!  Stories can be a powerful, compelling way to convey thoughts, ideas, passions and interests.

4. Mock Interviews

Conducting mock interviews can be incredibly beneficial. Set up practice sessions with familiar, older adults where students can:

– Respond to common interview questions.

– Receive feedback on their answers, body language, and overall presentation.

Consider recording these sessions so students can review and improve their performance.  But remember, ultimately schools want to see your true, genuine self – NOT a scripted, disingenuous or robotic presentation.

5. Research Prospective Schools

Understanding the ethos and expectations of each school is crucial. Students should:

– Explore school websites of interest and familiarize themselves with its programs, values, and community.

– Reflect on how their interests and goals align with what the school offers.

– Bonus:  Prepare specific questions to ask during the interview, demonstrating their genuine interest and initiative.

6. Maintain a Reading Habit

Encouraging a summer reading habit can be beneficial. Reading diverse materials helps students develop critical thinking skills and provides them with topics to discuss during interviews. It also keeps their minds sharp and ready for the academic challenges ahead.

7. Consider Professional Guidance

Navigating the high school admissions process can be daunting, but students don’t have to do it alone. Working with a school admissions consultant can provide personalized guidance and support. Consultants can help identify suitable schools, refine interview techniques, and offer insights into the admissions process, ensuring students present their best selves.  Our team has conducted hundreds of school interviews, both from the receiving school side, as well as through our experience as school counselors.

Preparing for high school interviews over the summer can be a rewarding and productive experience. By reflecting on their goals, engaging in enriching activities, honing their communication skills, and possibly seeking professional guidance, students can approach their interviews with confidence. Remember, the aim is not only to impress but to stay genuine and find a school that aligns with their aspirations and will support their growth in the years to come.  By taking these steps, students can make the most of their summer break and enter the fall interview season ready to shine.

If you feel your child could benefit from personalized guidance, contact us to learn more about our 1:1 interview preparation process, as well as our small group interview course that begins in late August!

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