Senior Schools Presentation by Dr Smith

On Monday we welcomed Year 6 parents to a Future Schools presentation. I was at pains to stress the richness of choice in local day and boarding schools in this area – we really are fortunate, and several parts of the country would be envious of having just one of those on their doorstep.

One excellent question from a parent was: What can we do at home to help prepare our son for an interview? I have a few thoughts:

  • Do encourage your son’s to read! A standard interview question is about their reading material, and so long as they can speak intelligently about their reasons for choosing the book and why they enjoy it, it is better to let them choose what to read for themselves. You can subtly encourage your sons in their reading by regularly reading yourselves where they can see you – maybe reading quietly together.
  • Don’t get them to rehearse speeches or memorise their various achievements. Interviewers will politely wait for them to finish and then begin the interview proper. An over-rehearsed interviewee will be marked down.
  • Do ask about their favourite subjects and what they are studying. Getting the boys used to discussing their academic work without them even realising might help with interviews. Mr Williams recommended some open questions: “What did you particularly enjoy today? What went well?” Ask them “How was school?” and the only response you can realistically expect is “Fine…”
  • Do encourage a broader awareness of current affairs. Remember children don’t watch or listen to the news the way we used to. Try to draw out their empathy for the people involved as well as the facts of what may be going on.
  • Do encourage them in their co-curricular pursuits – no school has a single preferred type of pupil – they want a blend of sportsmen, musicians, actors and pupils with niche interests. So as long as they are doing something that shows interest, commitment and the ability to work alongside others, interviewers will be keen to hear more. 
  • Don’t try to perform an interview at home – it will just feel weird. Mr Williams and I will be doing mock interviews for boys as the need arises and will do one or at most two repeats if the first doesn’t go well and give the boys feedback.

Dr D Smith

Interview Preparation Booklet