School Principals Talk About What Parents Should Not Do In An Admission Interview

Now’s the time when most parents start looking at various schools to find the best fit for their child. If you are one of those parents, here are some things you should know. Read on…

By Leena Ghosh

School Principals Talk About What Parents Should Not Do In An Admission Interview

As parents, we want our child to receive quality education. So, we do everything possible to try and make it happen. However, to secure a seat in a good school, a child has to clear the admission interview, which isn't an easy task at all.

Preparing their child for success in the admission interview can be a nerve-racking experience for both the parents and the child.

To improve their child's chances of clearing the interview, most parents talk to other parents, to usually know more about the admission process and how best to prepare their child.

But, a child’s selection is not based only on her performance in the interview, but that of her parents as well.

While parents and children go through an admission interview only when the child has to be admitted to a school, principals go through this process every year.

So, we decided to go straight to the source and ask principals of various schools some pertinent questions about how to prepare a child well for a school admission interview.

How to prepare your child for the admission interview

What you should do

Stay calm: As a parent, when you feel stressed, it reflects on your child and can affect her performance during the interview. Jayalakshmi Ramachandran, Principal of Anna Adarsh MHSS School, Chennai, feels that it’s important for parents to stay calm. “A parent’s calm and composed attitude provides encouragement and support to the child. Before parents enter the principal’s room with their wards, they should decide and divide their responsibilities between each other,” she says.

Do a thorough research: Well before going for the interview, do a thorough research on the school and the syllabus. This can help you prepare your child for the questions that are likely to be asked during the interview. Remember, a child who is well prepared always feels confident and sure of himself. “The child must be able to tell his personal details and interests confidently. He should also revise from the previous year’s books, if he is seeking admission to a higher class,” says Sangeetha Krishnan, Principal of Sri Sankara Matriculation School, Chennai.

What you should not do

Don't pressurise your child: “In a bid to secure a seat, parents often nag their child by constantly training her on how to face the interview. They also compare notes with other parents on how to prepare their child, which puts more pressure on the child. Parents should understand that children can have mood swings. Therefore, they should encourage them to be themselves,” says Jayalakshmi.

“Many parents often tell their children to recite poems or count numbers during the interview. I have observed that most children who are prompted to say something remain uncommunicative. So, it’s better to stay calm and let the child do the talking or take the initiative,” says Vaishnavi Vivek, Centre Head of Little Elly, RMV and IISc centers, Bengaluru.

Don’t compare: The school management knows that parents look at more than one school and finalise only what suits their child’s needs the best. However, it’s not a good idea for parents to begin comparing schools during the interview. “Parents shouldn’t start comparisons with other schools while their child is being interviewed. The aim is to decide whether this school is the right fit or not. Similarly, the school is also deciding on whether to admit your child based on the interaction with you and your child. So, be open-minded,” says Sutapa Ghosh, ex-principal, Sunbeam International School, Varanasi.

Don't show off: A school selects a child based on many factors; your social ranking and wealth are not among them. So, try not to brag. “When parents talk more about themselves rather than their child, it gives the impression that they may be demanding or difficult to deal with. All schools look for the child's skills and qualifications as well as how much the parent is involved in the child's education. So, talking about your social status does not help, and may even seem rude,” says Sutapa.

Don’t be careless: Being negligent and unmindful always results in bad outcomes and creates an unfavourable impression in the minds of those around us. “Many parents make mistakes while filling the application forms or don’t bring the necessary documents. This careless attitude may put off the school administration and work against you and your child,” says Sangeetha.

What to ask the school authorities in an interview

“Parents should enquire about the student-to-teacher ratio, aspects related to hygiene, and the presence of various facilities and how frequently those are made accessible to students. They should also ask about the school’s homework policies,” says Vaishnavi. Sangeetha agrees and adds, “Parents should ask about the facilities available in the school, the syllabus, curricular and co-curricular activities, the sanitary facilities and the class strength. They should also enquire about the teachers’ qualifications and their experience.” 

In addition, Jayalakshmi feels that parents should enquire about transport arrangements, medical facilities, SMS facilities and e-learning.

Common questions asked during an interview

  1. What is your educational background?
  2. Do you live in a nuclear family or a joint family?
  3. Are both you and your spouse employed?
  4. What kind of personality does your child have?
  5. What type of school would you like to put your child in?
  6. Why do you think your child would benefit from this school?
  7. What is your approach to disciplining your child?
  8. What are your dreams and aspirations for your child’s future?
  9. How do you feel about homework?
  10. As a parent, what is your role in your child’s education?

The important thing to remember is to be calm and supportive of your child. Remember, your child is as nervous as you are and pressurising him will make him feel more tense. So, go to an interview with an open mind and let your child take the lead. All the best!

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