Wednesday, January 30, 2013


One of my favorite parts of my job as an Admission Counselor is interviewing prospective students - but it's also one of my least favorite parts. How is this possible? 

My favorite part of doing an interview is really getting to know the student that I'm sitting down with. I like asking questions like "tell me about your favorite class this year" and "what do you like to do outside of school?" Students give some great answers to these questions, and I enjoy feeling like I actually have something to write about when I write notes after the interview. Coming back upon these notes when reading an application is also a nice reminder of my time with the applicant, and can help me remember the details of why I thought a student was a good fit.

After I spend some time with just the student, I bring their parents into the interview room so that we can chat - this is another favorite part of interviewing. Parents can ask TOUGH questions, and I love thinking about the answers and providing the best information that I can to the family.

That being said, there are some interviews that I do not have such a wonderful time conducting. Because interviews are mainly driven by student questions, students that come into their interview unprepared or who answer questions with one word are especially painful.

I am often asked "should I do an interview?" and here is my answer: it depends. You should absolutely do an interview if you have questions that you would like answered by an Admission Counselor or you have a unique story to share that you think would be important for your counselor to know. Sitting down with your Admission Counselor shouldn't be scary or nerve wracking, because it should be just as much about you interviewing them as it is about them interviewing you. Come prepared with questions (written down, in a notebook is the best!) and be able to talk about yourself. Think about things like your favorite book, favorite class, best experience in high school and thoughts about your future.

However, there are some students who should not do interviews - students who do not have questions, are not interested in the school or are only coming to campus because their parents are making them are unproductive for all parties. It's a waste of your time to sit down and try (or not..) to make up answers to my questions, and it's a waste of my time trying to drag answers out of you. So - have a real, honest conversation with yourself (and your parents) about the pros and cons of doing an interview. Remember, you don't have a second chance to make a first impression!

If you are planning to do an interview at Saint Michael's, don't be nervous! You are the expert on you, and that's what we want to learn about. Bring questions - we look forward to meeting you!

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