How To Prepare Your Child For School Admissions
Getting into a good school is an important step in your child’s journey. With competition for seats higher than ever, serious preparation is a must for the admission process.
By Ashwin Lobo
Pushpa: Rahul is going to be four years old next month. It’s time we put him in school now. Do you know any good ones in our neighbourhood?
Reshma: There are a few. But, it really depends on what you’re looking for. Do you want a school that focuses more on academics or extra-curricular activities? One where teachers are strict or lenient? CBSE or State Board?
Pushpa: My, my... I didn’t know that so many factors need to be considered. When I was a child, my mother just admitted me in the school closest to our home.
Reshma: Those days are long gone. Simply deciding on a school isn’t enough. Competition for seats is stiff. You’ll have to make sure that Rahul is well prepared for the admission process.
Pushpa: Oh, gosh! Looks like getting a seat is going to be a struggle. I think I should start preparing him right away.
As a parent, you want to give your child the best education you can afford. You want to get her admitted to a school that would mould her into a well-rounded individual. But, finding the right school for your child and getting her admitted there isn't easy. It requires a lot of hard work and preparation.
During admission time, it is now common to see long queues of parents before prestigious schools. Sadly, seats are limited and only a few children manage to get admitted in these institutions.
In order to improve the chances of getting a seat in a good school, both the child and the parents should be well prepared to go through the rigours of the admission process. As a parent, here's what you should do:
Preparation for parents
- Ascertain if your child is ready for school: Most parents want to admit their child in school as soon as possible to give him a head start. However, if your child isn’t ready, enrolling him in school too early can be detrimental to him. Most schools also have a minimum age requirement for admissions; so, make sure that your child meets the age limit.
- Decide on the school: Various factors need to be considered when deciding the school you want to put your child in. Distance from home, transportation facilities, fees, medium of instruction, curriculum, reputation, infrastructure and teacher–student ratio are just some of the factors you should keep in mind.
- Do some research on the admission process: Speak to parents who’ve already gone through the admission process and find out what to expect. If the process includes an aptitude test, ask the parents about the questions asked. You can even call the school to gain some clarity.
- Put in hard work: Getting your child admitted in a good school can be tough. For, many other parents are also trying their best to get their child in. So, be ready to stand in long queues and do a lot of paperwork. Also, it would be a good idea to fill in and submit admission forms in multiple schools, since you can never be sure that your child will get into one you want.
- Never show your disappointment: Competition is stiff. All parents want their children to get into premier institutions. Chances are that you and your child might get rejected by a couple of schools. But, don’t let this dishearten you; especially, don't show your disappointment in front of your child. This will demoralise him. Instead, try to analyse and understand what may have gone wrong, and prepare better for the next interview.
Preparation for the child
- Prepare your child for the admission process: Once you’ve found out what the admission process entails, begin preparing her for it. Make sure she knows all the basics like letters of the alphabet, numbers and colours.
- Use every opportunity to help your child learn: When preparing your child for the admission process, try to use all the learning opportunities available. A child has an innate curiosity to learn from diverse environments, so take advantage of this. For example, while going to the market, point out the different fruits and vegetables to your child, or while travelling from one place to another, quiz her on the different types of vehicles you see and their colours.
- Visit the school before the admission process: If it’s possible to take your child to the school a few days before the admission process, do so by all means. Visiting the school in advance will familiarise your child with the surroundings and make her feel comfortable. Additionally, knowledge about the school and its facilities may prove to be advantageous during the interview.
- Remain calm before the admission: While you try to help your child understand the admission process, ensure that you don't make her feel stressed. Putting too much pressure will do more harm than good. And, don’t feel stressed yourself. Remember, like other children, your child too has the ability to understand your body language and non-verbal cues. By looking at you, she will know that something is wrong, and this could make her feel tensed.
Preparing for the interview
The interview is a critical part of the admission process. Performing well in the interview goes a long way in ensuring if your child would get a seat or not. But, if both of you are well prepared, going through the interview will not be a stressful experience.
Some schools interview only the child, some only the parents and some both. So, both parents and the child should be well prepared to answer questions confidently during the interview.
Preparing yourself: Do some research on the school, as the interviewer will probably ask you a few questions about it. Here are some questions that are often asked during the interview:
- Do you live in a joint or a nuclear family?
- Do both parents work?
- How have you prepared your child for school?
- Why are you interested in getting your child admitted to this school?
- What are your aspirations for your child?
- What do you believe is your role in your child’s education?
The way you answer is as important as the answers themselves. Remember to always be courteous and respectful during the interview. The manners of the parent reflect on the upbringing of the child.
Preparing your child: The interviewer would like to gauge your child's confidence; so, in the months leading up to the interview, encourage your child to have conversations with others to help boost her self-confidence. If your child is too shy and refuses to answer the interviewer’s questions, her chances of getting through would decrease.
You can also do some mock interviews at home to prepare your child for the real one. Ask her some questions and see how she responds. At the same time, refrain from coaching her to give specific answers. This might come through as rehearsed when she goes through the actual interview.
A good school will build your child’s character, improve his social skills, help him realise his academic potential and give him friends for life. So, take the admission process seriously and start preparing for it well in advance.
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