the consensus regarding preparation for independent school

interviews points to the need for children to be aware of what an interview may feel like through practicebut that they should not feel overburdened by memorising endless lists of facts about the school or a particular subject

There is a sense that admissions teams are acutely aware of the difficulty that families face in treading the fine line between over-instructing and putting excessive pressure on their children, with costly professional preparation often leading to children handling their interviews in an overly self-confident and boastful manner due to little experience under their belts

Despite the value of doing research and partaking in practice interviews, we should be looking more towards the realms of conversational competence and soft skillsso sadly overlooked in the 21st century, yet so pertinent when it comes to your childs interview

Quite frankly, there is no skill more important in the present day than being able to sustain coherent and lively conversation. Children must be taught that, during an interview, they need to be fully present and focused. They cannot multitask, have their minds on other matters or show signs that they are inattentive

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It is imperative that your child comes across as being inquisitive, as the interviewer wants to feel that the school is the childs dream choiceand not one that has just been selected by his or her parents. With this in mind, the questions that your child asks could be

open-ended to elicit more interesting responses, and give the interviewer the impression that the child has thought deeply about the application. Consequently

  • will feel that questions are not just being asked for the sake of asking questions. So, instead of asking Does the summer break last for six weeks (a natural question for any student to ask), your child could begin questions using the forms Could you describe or Could you tell me why

    With regard to responding to questions, your child may well be asked why he or she would like to attend the school. There is little wrong with taking notes from the schools website or prospectus about its strengths, and how these may align with your childs own interests. What about the schools setting? Which facilities stand out? Is it single-sex or co-educational? In answering, it is vital for your child to appreciate how a wise use of lexis goes a long way. For example, I am adamant that has a more confident tone than I think that Forceful adjectives and avoidance of modesty can place your child at the fore

    Interviewers generally try to make children feel at ease. It is vital that your child understands that an interviewer may ask simple questions to build a rapport so that the interviewee can relax immediately. Indeed, Caitriona Redding, head of international admissions at UK boarding school Oundle School, says: Once we have established a rapport, then it is much easier to have a meaningful conversation.

    The important point here is for candidates to recognise the interviewers attempt to establish a rapport at the outset

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