This from Kim Hamer of

Interviews are a two-way conversation. Interviewing is a tool used by most private elementary schools to assess whether or not a family is a good fit. It is also a time for you to assess a school.

You should be looking for the same fit. You are looking for a school to partner with in raising your child, a school that extends, partially, the way you parent into the classroom, a school that makes you want to be part of the community for a long time.

Mastering an interview is a combination of luck and preparation. To prepare you will want to: Do your research. Outline your responses to the common interview questions. Prepare your own questions. Know what not to do or ask. Follow up.

Review your notes from your tour for research. What was it that made you think, “THIS IS IT!” or, “Umm, okay but not perfect”? What values did you see the school demonstrate? The more specific you are, the better prepared you will be to answer certain questions.

The kinds of questions an admissions director can ask vary widely but the most common question is: Tell me about your child.

Most parents are so nervous they forget they have questions too. Come up with a list of questions that you want to ask. Here is one you can use as a jumping off point: Is there a type of child or family that excels at this school?

Don’t ask questions that are confrontational. Watch your tone as well. A really bad question to ask would be: What are our chances of getting in? Ask that and you will have just lowered your chances of getting in.

Snafus happen. I wish I didn’t have to include this list but alas, every year, parents commit these interview blunders.

Do not answer your cell phone in an interview unless it’s the person caring for your child. And that person should be instructed to only call you if there is an emergency.

Do yourself a favor and arrive early. You can sit in the car if sitting in the school office will make you too nervous. Give yourself time to relax before the interview.

After the interview, write a thank you note. Write it on a notecard and be brief. Thank the interviewer for his/her time, note what you really like about the school and only if the school is your first choice include, “If offered a spot we will happily accept.”

Be prepared for your interview!

Kim Hamer, The Private School Admissions Expert, is founder of the 7 Steps to Acceptance System, the proven step-by-step program that shows you exactly how to get your child into private elementary, private middle or private high school. To get your F.R.E.E. 7 Steps to Getting Into Private School by e-mail and receive Kim's weekly admissions secrets articles on getting the private education you want for your child, visit