The school interview: 10 things parents and children should not forget

Interviews are an important part of the entrance procedure for many of the UK’s leading schools. These interviews can be rather daunting for both children and parents as many do not adequately prepare.

We, at Newton Bright Educational Consultants, recommend one-on-one sessions for children devoted to developing interview skills to alleviate any worries that children may have, prepare them to answer any possible questions in detail, and to ensure that they are selling themselves as perfect candidates for their chosen school. Furthermore, we also offer advice to parents about the interview process and how best to answer questions.

Our Academic Director, Drew Maycock, has the following advice for both parents and children to make sure they make the best impression at their prospective school.


  • Be punctual

This may seem obvious but being late will make a very poor impression on you and your child. Be sure to check beforehand how long it will take to get to the school and arrive a little early so that both you and your child are relaxed before the interview.

  • Answer only when you are asked

Remember, when your child is being interviewed the interviewer wants to hear from them. In many cases you will be in the room while the interview is taking place, but that does not mean that you should answer any questions directed to your child, even if you do not feel your child is giving the best answer or showing themselves in the best light.

  • Ask questions

It is important to show your interest in the school as well as your child’s. Research the school and produce a list of thought-provoking questions beforehand. Remember, you want to find the right school for your child and your questions should be directed at understanding whether the school is right for them. If a question arises after the interview, do not hesitate to send an email.

  • Discuss

Speak to your child about the interview and make sure that they understand the format and what is expected of them. Your child is likely to be nervous at the prospect of the interview, but the more they know about the process, the less anxious they will be and the better they will perform.

  • Prepare for the parent interview

This is one part of the interview that many parents forget about. It is likely that you will be asked questions as the school are looking to understand more about your child from your point of view. Answer any questions honestly and be optimistic – if your child has issues with a particular subject, highlight any progress they may have made.


  • Be yourself and be honest

The interviewer wants to find out whether you are a good fit for the school, as they want you to receive the best education, and they quickly understand if your answers have been coached. Show them your true personality and explain how you are unique. There are no wrong answers, but keep in mind that you are selling yourself to the prospective school.

  • Research the school

You should spend time looking at the school’s website and prospectus to gain an idea of the school’s values and mission. You must show that you are interested in gaining a place at the school. Research also helps to avoid any unpleasant surprises, for example: their being no football/ basketball team. Use your research to help understand what they are looking for in a student; this may help guide any responses during the interview. Also, speaking to your parents about the school will also give you a better understanding of why they may have selected this school for you.

  • Be prepared to answer questions

Questions differ from interview to interview, some may require thought, whereas others are easier to answer. Don’t be afraid to take a moment or two to formulate your answer. It is important to practise your interview skills beforehand, so all of your responses are as informative as possible. Remember, the admissions officer wants to find out as much about you as they can, and short answers will not help them to do this.

  • Be respectful

Introduce yourself when entering and shake the interviewer’s hand and greet them by name. Do not take your phone out and put it on silent beforehand. Wait for the interviewer to finish asking their question before you respond. Thank the interviewer when leaving and follow your visit with a thank you letter or email.

  • Dress appropriately

Make sure that you are dressed similarly to the school’s dress code. This will help the interviewer see you as a potential student at the school. First impressions are everything. Being smartly dressed will show that you truly care about being there.

If you’re still having trouble deciding on the right school for your child check out our blog post: