By Matt Trammell, Director of Admission
As a member of the Bullis Admission Team, interviewing applicants and their families is one of my favorite activities. Interacting with awesome people and connecting them to Bullis is a lot of fun. On the other hand, I recognize that this can be a challenge for applicants. Applicants may even feel nervous, uncertain, or apprehensive.
The good news is that interviewing with schools does not have to be any of those things. It can and should be an enjoyable experience, as well as an opportunity to learn more about your school of interest. By following these 5 keys to an awesome school interview, you will not only put your best foot forward, but also have some fun doing so.
- Be Yourself.
Admission officers want to get to know you. Avoid the temptation to try and present yourself as you believe the interviewer expects you to be. Truly, admission teams want to get to know your authentic self. Being confident in knowing who you are and being comfortable in that is a real strength. That confidence and resulting authenticity will be an asset to whatever school you attend and admission officers recognize that.
- Be prepared.
Have you asked yourself the following questions?
- Why are you applying to the school?
- What do you like about the school?
- What is it about the school that you find most attractive?
- What will you bring to the school?
- Why do you believe the school to be a strong fit for you as a student and person?
Demonstrate that you have invested some time learning about the academic program, extracurricular activities, and the community itself. It will go a long way.
- Be curious.
Ask questions. Do your own interviewing. Remember, the interview is a two-way street. I do not suggest asking an endless list of questions, yet having two or three questions that are important to you is a positive. This connects to being prepared and doing your research (see above). The more research you have completed on a school, the higher the quality of questions you can ask - and it shows.
- Be Open-minded.
You may be surprised by the school that ends up being the right fit. It may not be the school you predicted enrolling in at the beginning of the application process. Thus, approach the application process with each school with a genuine interest and a mindset of possibility. If you approach a school half-heartedly, your lack of interest and excitement will show. And most consequentially, you may miss out on a great school fit.
- Be Honest.
As an interviewer, I can tell you that it is refreshing when students and families are honest, transparent, and authentic. For example, it is okay that you are applying to several schools. That is a healthy approach. It is also okay to share struggles or challenges that you have experienced. Everyone has them. And finally, it is okay to share stories and interests reflective of your age. We should all have some more fun in our lives - spend some additional time with friends and family, make time for new hobbies, and just laugh. As a young person, this should be a significant part of your life. And that is something worth sharing.
Matt Trammell, Ed.D. serves as the Director of Admission at Bullis School. In his 8 years at Bullis, he has been a teacher, advisor, coach, and administrator. Matt is a frequent contributor on LinkedIn and is the co-author of the book, School Culture Fit: How to Align Students, Parents, and Faculty Under One Common Purpose.
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