It is not common to interview for a place in a study program at this level, unless you apply for a place at a private school. Typical private school have acceptance rate at 70-85% so your chances to get in are still pretty decent, and unless you mess something up, you will eventually study at the high school of your choice. What’s more, they aren’t going to ask you any tricky behavioral or technical questions at this point. Just basic questions about motivation, hobbies, strengths and weaknesses, some idea for your future career, and similar stuff.

Before we analyze the questions, I want to stress one thing: What you say isn’t the most important thing in this interview. The most important thing is how you say it, and how you conduct yourself in the meeting with the admission committee members. Try to show healthy level of confidence, but also respect and humility. And try to show some enthusiasm for their school and for your studies. Last but not least, it is good to ask them one or two questions if they give you an opportunity to do so. Let’s have a look at the questions right now.

 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Just briefly introduce yourself. Tell them what’s your name, how old you are, what elementary/secondary school you attended, where you are from, whether you have any siblings, and so on. Than you can pick one or two extracurricular activities you enjoy doing–be it some sport, art, or anything else.

The first impression is very important as you can imagine. If you aren’t extremely nervous, try to keep the eye contact with the people in the admission committee, and display a positive non-verbal communication overall.

 

Why do you want to study at our school?

You are still young, and without a doubt your parents helped you with your choice. And it is fine to say so, but the people interviewing you should not get an impression that you are obeying a wish of your parents here, whereas in reality you’d prefer to study elsewhere, perhaps at a public school where your friends are going.

Sure enough, parents helped you with your choice, but you understand the advantages. It can be bilingual studies, more practical subjects in the curriculum, smaller classes, or simply amazing teachers with excellent reputation, who will without a doubt help you reach your full potential until you graduate.

 

What is your most favorite and least favorite subject?

You should be honest at this point. You can even say that you like all subjects, or, on the contrary, haven’t found your favorite subject yet. Since you are still young, you have several years in front of you to understand exactly how you want to specialize, whether you want to continue your studies after high school, and what career you want to pursue.

But you can calmly point any subject you do not enjoy–be it Math, Physics, History, English Literature, or anything else. Ensure the admission committee members that even though you enjoy some subjects more than the other, you try your best in all lessons, because you understand the importance of every subject, including the one you do not like.

When not studying, what do you enjoy to do the most?

Try to pick some positive hobbies. I mean, without a doubt you spend several hours a day playing/chatting with your smartphone (unless you belong to small minority of teenagers who don’t waste time in this manner). This is obvious to the committee, and it isn’t the best thing to mention really…

But if you do any sports, arts, help your mom with cooking, or even have a part time job, these are good things to mention. School likes to get onboard people who are active, students who will participate in events and some after school activities, and perhaps even contribute in some way to the community of students and teachers.

Having said that, your answer should sound realistic. So it is good to add that you enjoy to just stay in your bed sometimes watching movies, or hang around with your friends. What I try to say here is that while you should try to present yourself in the best light, your answers should remain realistic.

 

What do you consider your major strengths?

Perhaps the best option is picking two or three character abilities, such as persistence, resilience, warmheartedness, reliability, or ability to learn quickly and think outside of the box. Communication skills and sense for organization, or leadership, are also good choices. But keep in mind that your answer should correspond with the picture they see in the interviews.

As an example, if you claimed to have excellent listening skills, but at the same time asked them two times to repeat some questions and then even didn’t talk to the point, they would not believe your words, and would start to doubt your credibility…

 

What do you consider your greatest weakness?

It doesn’t matter what you pick, as long as you pick something. They want to hear that you can actually admit having a weakness. It can be not paying enough attention in the lessons, struggling with concentration, finding it hard to start new relationships, or even a weakness in a particular subject.

Tell them that you are still young though, and feel ready to work on your weaknesses. Studying at such a great school as their, you will without a doubt get better and more mature down the road, and perhaps even eliminate your weakness over the years.

 

Do you have any idea what do you want to do once you finish your education here?

You do not necessarily have to have one goal, something set in stone. But it is good to point out at least some ideas, maybe a couple of them, so they see you have some vision that will motivate you to try and study hard.

You can pick a college of your choice, or even a job you’d like to have in the future. The more courageous can talk about starting their own business, or even pursuing a career of a professional athlete.

Anything you say, you can always add that you are still young. Without a doubt you’ll meet many interesting people at their high school, from ranks of both teachers and students. These people will inspire you, have an impact on you, and help you to find your eventual calling, which can end up far from the ideas you have right now.

 

What do you consider your biggest achievement so far?

This one is a bit tricky, especially if you did not take part in any competitions. If you did take part in them, and won some prizes, you have an obvious answer. But if you did not, maybe you can come up with even a more powerful answer.

Perhaps you have helped someone–your classmate, friend, or even your parent, to get over a difficult period in their life. You supported them when everyone else let them down, you offered words of encouragement, you were there for them and helped them push through. Such a situation demonstrates your maturity, and can definitely help you stand out.

Another good option is saying that you are still young, and waiting for some really big achievements. You should elaborate on it though, explaining that you definitely want to join some clubs/after school activities, and perhaps achieve something in sport, art, or any other field, representing the colors of their school.

 

5 other questions you may face in your high school interview

  • Do you have any role model in life?
  • Tell us about the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your young life.
  • How would your best friend describe you?
  • What books are you currently reading?
  • Is there anything you’d like to ask us about this school?

 

Final thoughts, next steps

Interview at high school is most likely the easiest interview you will ever go to in your life. Typical acceptance rate at private high schools in the US is about 80% (unless we speak about some super elitarian educational institutions), which means that 4 out of 5 people will get in. And you can trust me you’ll never have such odds on your side later in your life, when applying for a spot at a University, or later for some good job.

Try to relax, and enjoy the experience. Show some positive body language and enthusiasm for your studies. Be honest with your interviewers, and follow the hints from this article. As long as you manage to do so, and won’t remain silent after hearing their questions, you will get accepted. I wish you good luck, and enjoy this interview!

Matthew

May also interest you:

  • How to overcome interview nerves – Feeling extremely nervous before your interviews? Learn how to get your stress under control, and make sure that your nerves won’t mar your chances in the meeting with the admission committee.
  • 15 most common interview questions and answers – The article is dedicated to job interviews, but sample answers to questions about your motivation, goals, strengths and weaknesses can help you also in your high school interviews.
Matthew Chulaw
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