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Steer the Interview Your Way with These 10 Tips

By Claude Anderson, Dean of Enrollment

Interviewing can be a daunting process — sweaty palms go with the territory. In fact, nerves are a good sign — they mean you care about doing well. 

Your private school admission officer understands how you feel and is there to put you at ease, so take a deep breath and enjoy the conversation. Remember, this is an interview, not an inquisition!

With that in mind, here are 10 tips to help you get the most from your boarding school interview.

1. Schedule visits at non-peak times, usually early in the admission season. If you get in ahead of the busy season, admission officers will have more time to focus on your needs and will likely remember more about you.

2. Send any great information about yourself to the school at least a week ahead of your interview. This gives your admission officer a positive impression of you before you meet.

3. If there’s any not-so-great information, be ready to offer it during the visit. If you have learned something from your less-than-stellar experience, say so. Hiding information won’t make you feel good.

4. Stand up and smile when you greet your interviewer. Give a firm handshake and look the interviewer in the eye. Remember that you are part of the relationship-building experience — meet the admission person halfway and you’ll get great results.



5. Show your enthusiasm! Be prepared to talk about something at the school that excites you. 

6. Show your interest in learning. You are applying to a college-prep school, which means you should enjoy learning. Talk about what educational challenges you’re looking forward to and what you hope to learn at the school.

7. Show your personality. Outgoing, social people may have a slight advantage in an interview because their personalities are readily visible. Reserved people who are thoughtful or analytical may not fare as well because they take time to warm to the interviewer. Try to step out of the box for your private school interview. You don’t have to be a Broadway star — just interesting to talk to.

8. Make the most of the interview. Ask questions. See if the school is right for you. Both you and the interviewer are looking for a good fit.

9. Thank the interviewer for their time. You get bonus points if you seem genuinely appreciative, especially if you say “thank you” before your parents nudge you.

10. If you spend time with a student host, be friendly and respectful. Most boarding school admission offices will get feedback from the student, and it may have some influence on the decision.

With more than 100 combined years of experience, the staff of the NMH Admission Office work with families every day and can answer your questions about every step of the process of applying to private school. 

We offer many opportunities to connect, including Open Houses and Class Visit Days. Admission counselors can set up tours and interviews so you can get a better look at what NMH has to offer, and our free workshops can help you navigate the application process.

Here’s an overview of the application process, and the NMH Admission Office has assembled this invaluable checklist for comparing one school to another. In other blog posts, we offer tips on how to: