The admissions interview: We are not out to stump you

Susie Lloyd is the associate director of admission at Peddie.      

Do I need to interview?

All Mid-Atlantic Boarding School Group (MABS) schools require an interview. Just as importantly, an on-campus interview will give you a comprehensive view of the school. The interview is your time to let the admission officer get to know you and your strengths and interests. At the same time, you will be able to gauge if the school is a good match for you.  

What can I expect in my interview?

Admission officers consider talking with prospective students to be a conversation. We are not out to stump you, ask crazy questions, or make you feel like you are being put on the spot. Our goal is to talk with you and learn about your interests, what you like about your current school, what you are looking for in a boarding school, and to share information about our school. 

We are not going to ask you for definitions, to solve an equation, or recite a poem. We want you to be comfortable and feel at ease. We may ask about your family, your pets, what interests you, what makes you happy, and why you are considering boarding school. We will answer your questions about classes, schedules, arts, music, sports, roommates, weekends and anything else you might ask. This is your time to get your questions answered and for the admission officer to learn more about you as a person, not just a student.

Let your personality and interests shine through.

How should I prepare for my interview?  

Be yourself. That is the most important piece of advice for any student. Yes, you should read up on the schools you are visiting, but you are not expected to know everything about the school. Ask questions that are genuinely of interest to you. Do not ask questions that you think the admission officer wants to hear. Let your personality and interests shine through. Try to relax and enjoy your visit and interview. Admission officers are people, too, and we are trying to get a sense of what it will be like to work with you if you come to our school.

What if I can’t get to campus for an interview?

While all schools require an interview as part of the application process, most schools will conduct a Skype or phone interview for those students who live a distance from campus or who are unable to visit. If you are unable to visit campus, a Skype interview will let you ask your questions and let the admission officer learn more about you. There is no distinction between an on-campus interview or a Skype interview in the review process. We want to learn about you and answer your questions about our school.

Do you have any final advice?

While applying to boarding school can be a time consuming and stressful activity, you are encouraged to be yourself. Do your best to relax and enjoy the process. Control what you can control such as your essays and your school work. Let your application speak for itself. You will see beautiful campuses, meet committed educators, and learn more than you can imagine. Remember to take notes on your visits which may help jog your memory later about each school visit.