Top 25 School Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 22 November 2022 | Published 7 September 2021
Updated 22 November 2022
Published 7 September 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
When securing admission to a new school or university, it's likely that the admissions officer calls you for an interview. This is a chance for you to highlight your interpersonal skills and life goals. Understanding the common school interview questions and answers can increase your chances of gaining admission. In this article, we cover what school interviews are, list the top 25 general and in-depth school interview questions, describe some sample answers and share a few tips on interview skills.
What is a school interview?
Admissions officers conduct a school interview with potential students to determine whether they would integrate into their new school environment effortlessly. It gives them the opportunity to examine a candidate's technical ability and social skills. This way, they can learn more about the candidate's background so that they can help them over the course of their studies.
An interview also serves as a platform for the candidate to familiarise themselves with the school's values and vision. With a tour of the school grounds, you can determine whether they could feel comfortable in their new environment. During the interview, you can enquire about how you can be an active member of the school community.
10 general school interview questions
Admissions officers ask general interview questions to get a better understanding of your character and drives. When answering these questions, your goal can be to build a rapport with the interviewer. You can capture their attention by revealing interesting details about your interests and ideas. The following are 10 common general questions that schools ask candidates during an interview:
How would you describe yourself?
Why are you interested in our school?
What are you passionate about?
What is your greatest strength and weakness?
What subject do you enjoy the most and why?
What subject do you like the least and why?
What makes you unique?
What extracurricular activities are you interested in?
What do you enjoy reading outside of school?
What are you motivated by?
10 in-depth interview questions
In-depth school interview questions seek to analyse your opinion on current affairs topics and your approach to different situations. This gives interviewers a better idea of how you may respond to challenging circumstances and handle pressure. Since schools are becoming increasingly competitive, they usually want students who can manage their emotions and stand up in the face of adversity. The following are 10 in-depth questions that schools ask candidates during an interview:
How do you evaluate success?
What do you think is the most important thing you can learn in school?
What is your current school like? What do you like and what would you change?
Have you ever had trouble communicating with a coach or teacher? If so, what did you do?
How will you benefit from attending this school?
If your best friend asked if they could copy your homework, what would you do?
Have you ever had conflicts at school? If so, how did you deal with them?
How have you recovered from a disappointment or setback?
If you had one wish, what would it be?
If you could meet one person in history, who would it be and why?
Example interview questions with sample answers
When planning your answers to admissions interview questions, it's important to show a strong understanding of the school's values and your own personal goals. The following are a few common school interview questions with example answers for your reference:
Tell us about what you do outside of school.
Admissions officers ask this question because they often look for students who understand the importance of keeping a balance between schoolwork and outside activities. This is also a great opportunity to demonstrate key interpersonal skills, such as leadership, communication and teamwork. In your answer, use examples of your hobbies and interests to highlight your openness to experience.
Example: "Outside of school, I'm part of a local hockey team. We meet twice a week for training and friendly matches. Playing hockey has really taken me outside my comfort zone. Through the sport, I have made new friends, improved my fitness and developed stronger communication skills."
Describe a time when you managed a challenge effectively.
In your academic life, you may encounter obstacles. Therefore, admissions officers typically want to know how you cope with adversity and manage stress. This is a crucial quality that can help you throughout your work and personal life. Training these skills early in life gives you an added advantage over others. To approach this question, think of an example that demonstrates your problem-solving skills. Structure your answer using the STAR technique. Describe the situation you were in, the task you had to complete, the action you took to mitigate the problem and the results you achieved.
Example: "Last term, I was really struggling with math. It made me feel nervous because I knew the topic would come up in our final exam. I tried going over the topic in greater detail in my tutoring class, but I still didn't feel too confident about my skills. Soon, I realised that my nervous attitude was preventing me from asking more questions in class. Changing my attitude, such as being more patient with myself, improved my focus. I noticed that I made fewer mistakes in my calculations. In the final exam, I attained a higher grade."
Who are the people you most admire?
The influences you have can shape your thinking and ambitions. Thus, an admissions officer might ask you about the people you admire because it exemplifies the character and values you would like to cultivate for yourself. It shows them your definition of success, whether it's money, fame or hard work. In your answer, share what you learnt from observing this person. Feel free to talk about a public figure, mentor or family member.
Example: "The person I admire most is my dad. I admire his ability to balance his work life and our family life. Despite his driven nature, he always prioritises our needs first. As I earn more responsibility in my own life, I hope I can follow his example."
What talents and gifts can you bring to our school?
Schools usually want students who can bolster their reputation in the public eye. This way, they can attract more talented students and teachers, who can enrich the school culture with stories of their unique experiences. Talking about your interests and how you intend to be an active member of the school community shows admissions officers you intend to take ownership of your educational experience. As you structure your answer, remember to align your interests with the school's mission to present yourself as a good fit for them.
Example: "From my research, I found that your school has a prestigious music department with a rich history of alumni who have excelled in the music industry. As an aspiring singer, I think joining your school choir can help nurture my talent. I also hope to learn from your music teachers to improve my skills and confidence. In the future, I'd love to represent the school at the annual inter-school music competition."
Do you know what you want to be when you get older?
This question seeks to examine your future vision and your ability to set smaller targets to attain this goal. Share with the interviewer why this role interests you and how your studies can help you achieve this career ambition. However, if you aren't certain about your future profession, feel free to talk about the industries that appeal to you and the kind of leader you hope to become.
Example: "Currently, I don't have a profession in mind, however, I notice that I have a gift in the sciences. I enjoy the process of observing our environment and testing distinct hypotheses to make better sense of our world. The science industry appeals to me because it has improved many lives. As a future leader, I hope to use my knowledge to give back to the wider community."
Tips on preparing for a school interview
Review the following tips to improve your interview skills and increase your chances of success during a school interview:
Arrive on time. Being punctual reflects positively on your character. It shows that you're considerate of others' time and effort.
Dress appropriately. For a school interview, it's best to dress neatly, as it suggests how you may carry yourself during a regular school week. Wear a formal outfit to show respect for your interviewer.
Do some research in advance. Browse the school's website to understand its values and teaching philosophy. This way, you can decide whether they are a good fit for your learning style.
Plan your answers. Write a list of common interview questions and outline your answers for each. To appear natural in the interview setting, try to remember the key points you want to convey so that you can be flexible in your approach to different questions.
Practise your answers. Conduct a mock interview in front of a mirror or with a friend so that you can feel more comfortable in this high-pressure situation. Ask for feedback so that you can improve your interview skills.
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