• Boarding School
Tips to Prepare for your Boarding School Interview

Visiting a Boarding School and interviewing with the Admissions team is an exciting step forward in your education. We want to help you be prepared, know what to expect, and ease some of your nerves.  While every campus and Admissions team is different, there are a few things you should keep in mind when preparing for the visit.  

What to Bring?

1. First Quarter/Semester Grades
2. SSAT Scores (if you have them)
3. Anything relevant to the interview (an artist's portfolio, examples of work or projects, highlight film)
4. Questions you have about the school (surrounding location, faculty support, residence life, dining hall, and more)

Each school has its own Admissions process. Many schools require the Standard Application Online (SAO) and that may be the only application they accept, as in the case of Perkiomen School.  Do your research to understand which application is required for each school you are interested in. Keep in mind that if a school accepts several applications, the applications are weighed equally. 

What to discuss?

In terms of the interview, here are some insights about the kinds of questions you can expect.
Schools understand that some students will be nervous and the interviewer will put them at ease, in order to engage in a conversation. Interviewers will spend a lot of time on academics. Be ready to discuss the classes you are taking, your strengths, weaknesses, and be willing to engage the interviewer with an in-depth conversation about your favorite subject. One word answers make it difficult for a natural conversation to happen. Be prepared to talk about extra-curricular activities, family, friends, interests, and hobbies. You can expect a 20-30 minute conversation with Admissions. 

Students should write down some questions in advance and bring them to the interview. It's easy to forget your questions during an interview and interviewers look favorably on students who arrive with questions. Additionally, follow up after the visit is important. Write a thank you note - email or handwritten  - and try to point out an aspect of your visit that was especially meaningful to you.  

Parents should be prepared to ask what makes each school unique. Inquire about each school's strengths and if you feel it is a match, don't be afraid to discuss financial assistance. Many families will want to know and it is a fair question to discuss. 

What to wear?

A student should wear the school's dress code. Often a shirt and tie, or blouse, with a jacket and dress pants or skirt, is a good starting point.  Do your research to learn what each school's dress code is, but as a first impression, dressing up is highly recommended.  

What to ask Admission Directors?

Parents and guardians should be asking how each school approaches teaching. With the outcome in mind of attending college and being prepared for the new economy, ask about a school's overall mission and philosophy so you can see what differentiates one school from another. While many questions often seem common sense, parents often do not ask these fundamental questions about the learning environment. 

Asking about average scores, rankings among other boarding schools, and if your child can accelerate in certain courses are fair questions, but they do not indicate any real sense of what should be the purpose of a school. Boarding schools are not a conglomerate of cookie cutter institutions and each has their own idea of what constitutes a true and transformational learning experience. There are different approaches to the classroom, athletics, discipline, and more. For example, Perkiomen School offers three Institutes for deep-dives into student-driven topics. Because every school is different, some teenagers find a particular school is the right fit for them, and some do not. Drilling it all down to statistics, then, does not get to the heart of the school. Ask for specific student stories, and learn more about the application of their education.  

Best of luck to you and your family in this exciting process as you select a boarding school! If you would like to explore Perkiomen School as an option, we invite you to Uncover Boarding

Perkiomen School is grateful to be a part of The Association of Boarding Schools and The North American Boarding Initiative, who provide research and resources about Boarding School to interested students and families. Boarding schools today serve a diverse body of motivated students who study and live in supportive, inclusive academic communities, where they learn independence and responsibility. Research has shown these values help them achieve success in the classroom and beyond.


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