Top tips for preparing your child for interview at an independent school

For the parents of a child about to be interviewed at an independent school, the countdown to the day can be pretty nerve-racking.  However, with the right tips, tricks and industry insider’s know-how, both you and your child can look forward to the day knowing that you are as prepared as you are (relatively) calm.


Be presentable and prepared for the initial greeting

The initial meeting is one of the most important parts of any interview and one in which your child should leave a memorably good impression. So here are some top tips for mastering that all-important moment.


1. Practice deep and slow breathing with your child if they tend to be nervous;
2. Arrive at the school in good time, aiming to be at least 15 minutes early;
3. Encourage your child to smile, maintain a good level of eye contact and say a suitable greeting phrase, such as “Good Afternoon Mr Jones”;
4. Finally, you should frequently practice your child’s welcoming handshake, which should be relatively firm (and decidedly free from squeezing!).


Balance body language with the right words

Body language can very often say more about an applicant than the actual words spoken, so perfecting the two is the ultimate goal of any independent school interviewee. The following tips make light work of this balance.


1. Practice a good sitting posture that looks both interested as well as relaxed;
2. Practice an interview (ideally with likely private school interview questions) and encourage your child to smile throughout;
3. Discuss with your child how they can show parts of their personality whilst still being relatively formal.


Being prepared for likely Independent school interview questions

The following Independent school interview questions will almost certainly be asked during the interview in some format. So, be sure to run through these regularly.


Why would you like to come to this independent school?

Establishing exactly why your child wants to attend the school is essential in their ability to demonstrate an interest in the school and all that it may offer them.

A few suggestions may be as follows:

– The school’s facilities;
– Knowledge of  a previous family member having to attend the school;
– How your child’s strengths may reflect the school’s reputation in particular subject areas.


What would you bring to this school?

If your child is to be interviewed by either the housemaster or mistress, you need to ensure that both you and your child know which subject they teach or their contributions to the extracurricular program at the school. That way, your child can nurture a conversation around this topic.

Other ideas for answering this question include discussing what your child may want to be when they grow up and how they will achieve their goals through education.


Tell me about the school that you currently attend?

Your child may be asked about their current school – in particular, and they may be quizzed upon the following:

– The size, form (whether co-ed or single-sex) and whether it is a boarding or day school;
– The setting and the atmosphere in classes;
– The subjects that they study and the extracurricular activities that they enjoy;
– Whether there are things that they don’t like about the school (although this should be answered as briefly as possible);
– What they may choose to change about the school if they had the chance.


Current affairs based questions

Last but not least, your child will likely be asked questions that relate to current affairs, and it is during this interview stage that your child can earn some brownie points. So be sure to keep abreast of the news in the run-up to the interview and encourage your child to form opinions around key topical happenings around the world.


At Eleven Plus Tutors, we’re busy all year round preparing our students for acing interviews. And our tutors focus not only upon the practical (with tasks that include the revision of Independent school interview questions) but also on confidence-boosting interview techniques that consistently helps our pupils at the interview stage.

Talk to the team today if you think that we could help your child fulfil their potential to earn a place within their independent school of choice.