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Choate, Hotchkiss, Taft Boarding School Interview (need help).

maybesoonmaybesoon 6 replies3 threads New Member
I am wondering what kind of things BS admissions ask during an interview since I am attending one soon. Also is there anything specific that I should wear for the interview? FYI I will apply to some of the Connecticut boarding schools (Choate, Hotchkiss, Taft).
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Replies to: Choate, Hotchkiss, Taft Boarding School Interview (need help).

  • MercurriiMercurrii 138 replies2 threads Junior Member
    when's your interview?

    and I'd say wear formal/semi formal things.

    they mostly just asks you about your school, Ecs, ETC

    don't stress you'll do great!
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1149 replies20 threads Senior Member
    To the OP - wondering what AO’s ask during interviews. It really depends on the interviewer - and (to some degree) the situation/school. Kiddo got into every one on your list, so it turned out ok. The one interview that was super difficult was with the Head of Admissions at Deerfield. Most thought-provoking questions that seemed to tap into knowledge of current events and the student’s ability to discuss the topic with an adult. It was all good in the end - even though kiddo thought it was difficult, happy result in March.

    Each interviewer at the above mentioned schools were different - I think Hotchkiss had the longest interview for both student and parent. Really nice - honest about what they were looking for. The interviewer seemed sincerely interested in the student’s background and interests to determine if they would be a good fit. Asked about the reasons the student was seeking a BS education, as well as the school in particular. Taft was the most disappointing interview because the person was new and an athletic coach (not for one of our sports) who seemed disinterested. The Choate person seemed very tired and had very many rushed interviews during a Ten Schools Event. Kiddo picked up on this fatigue and commented @ it and asked questions about the interview process that would make this person more engaged.

    I am telling you this because....sometimes you may be in an interview situation that is a Ten Schools Event day and it’s like “speed dating”. Other times, AO’s just have many many interviews scheduled that day. So be sensitive to it and also prepare in advance how to stand out, and how to turn the conversation to your advantage it the interviewer seems bored or not listening.

    During our year, each of those schools you mentioned did ask our student what other schools they were applying to. One school - Taft - asked to rank the top 3 them in order. There was much discussion about this among others on older threads. Good advice on those threads. So, do be prepared for an interviewer to ask you what other schools you’re applying to. You may want to direct the answer more to what your are seeking in a school, or the type of offerings these schools provide rather than getting school-specific.
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  • maybesoonmaybesoon 6 replies3 threads New Member
    @Mercurrii I probably shouldn't say when my interview exactly is, because the admissions officers could see this, but it's pretty soon. Thank you for the advice on clothing though.

    @Golfgr8 Thanks for the insightful advice on school interview questioning. Did you remember any specific questions that required thought for your child?
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1149 replies20 threads Senior Member
    Thanks @Maybesoon - I don’t want to give that away on the thread. It’s a good idea to have some knowledge of current events and the ability to discuss top of the news day issues. Be prepared to answer questions that may have nothing to do with boarding school or your current school life. At the same time, you should be thinking of interesting questions to ask the AO about their school.

    Another couple of interesting questions kiddo was asked related to the following:

    * What is the most recent national or international news story you read? Where do you get your news?
    ^ How do you deal with disappointment?
    * What is the biggest challenge you have had to overcome, or mistake?
    ^ What is a typical weekend like for your family?
    * Tell me about a time you had to stand up for something/someone that your friend’s didn’t want to.
    * Which golf club is your favorite in your bag & why (Sorry sport specific)
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  • PrepMommPrepMomm 15 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I have a child at Andover, and she interviewed at 5-6 different New England schools (none of the ones on your list). I agree with all of the points above. Another point: please do not give a flimsy handshake or have your phone out AT ALL. It is amazing to me that some kids are on the phone in interview waiting room; leave phone in car or put on Do Not Disturb. Good luck!
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1149 replies20 threads Senior Member
    Just to add....my kiddo is now on second year of tour guide experience at one of the NE schools well known on CC. Tour guides at the school do submit reports after tours at the school. You would not believe (or maybe you would) how so many potential students a) do not ask a single question, b) have parents that do all the talking, c) are on their cell phones and/or taking selfies but not paying attention to the tour, d) have not read up on anything about the school before taking the tour, and e) don’t send thank you notes to interviewers.....

    Here it is in a nutshell:
    Be prepared to wait for your interview - sometimes AO’s run late
    Read up on or learn about the school you are visiting
    Look through year-books - it gives you something to talk about & looks good
    Shake Hands with AO’s and tour guides
    Look people in the eye (if not against your culture)
    Look happy and interested, even if you are not
    Come prepared with questions & be verbally engaging
    Say “thank you”
    Do not take selfies on the tour (or with the tour guide, because most don’t really like to do this)
    Do send thank-you notes
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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 293 replies9 threads Member
    edited October 31
    My daughter wore a cute dress and converse to interviews and tours. We went to Marshalls/TJ Max and tried on 100 to find one good one. It's fine to show personality.

    My son wore khakis and a button down. Boys' fashion just kind of lacks personality unless you are a boy with flair which mine is not.

    We weren't going to any jacket required schools.
    edited October 31
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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 293 replies9 threads Member
    Have a good firm handshake. Wet noodle hand shakes are gross.
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  • springfield18springfield18 65 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Before your tour and interview, read the school's course catalog included on their website. Each school should have at least one quirky, compelling elective that will allow you to stand out as someone who did their homework. For example, St. Paul's a has a Humanities Elective "American Film & Culture, 1950's & '60s." You should be able to generate at least 2-3 specific questions just from the course catalog.
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1149 replies20 threads Senior Member
    Agree with above - be prepared to list a couple of specific programs or series of courses you find appealing at the school. Also, do your homework on the history of the school. For example, very few visitors to Deerfield know the meaning behind it’s symbol (Deerfield door) and motto (Be Worthy of Your Heritage). Knowing this will make the trip more interesting. What famous people attended? It’s always fun. For example, many talented actors & writers attended Kent. Who built the beautiful chapel at St George’s and why? Also, know a bit about the Head of School. There have been a few changes over the past couple of years. Do know which schools have a built-in Community Service component to their curriculums, or built into weekly schedule. Know about stand-out programs that are hallmarks for some schools. SGS has their sailing ship study program and sailing trips abroad.
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  • lightningqueen12lightningqueen12 318 replies12 threads Member
    I applied to Taft and Choate, and I'm at Taft now. I can tell you that the admissions officers at Taft are so friendly, and they are at Choate as well. I wore black pants and a nice blouse to my interview, but it really depends on your taste. Not too formal but nice and a little bit professional is the way to go.
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  • maybesoonmaybesoon 6 replies3 threads New Member
    I also need help in whether I need to retake the SSAT or not. I'm also applying to Loomis Chaffee. Based on the stats below, do you think I need to retake the SSAT and approximately what's the possibility I could get into Loomis, Choate, Taft, and Hotchkiss?

    Stats:
    SSAT - 86%-ile
    GPA (unweighted) - 3.875 (I take Algebra II though)

    Interviews (Highly Subjective):
    Choate - 9/10 The interviewer was really interested in my passions and we had an entire discussion about New York City's transportation system and as well as the political system.
    Taft - 8/10 She didn't seem quite interested in myself and asked usual questions about schools and grades.
    Hotchkiss - 7/10 The interviewer most likely didn't want the interview to go past fifteen minutes so I'm not confident that I did exceptionally well compared to others.
    Loomis - 8.5/10 We had a pretty good discussion about how I'm pursuing my interests and what I could do for Loomis.

    Subjects Recommendation (Highly Subjective Again):
    Math: 8/10 My school has Algebra I and II in 8th grade, and one would need to take a test to get in (which I did). While I got in, math is my worst grade in terms of grades (86%). The teacher likes me a little, but the teacher likes everyone.
    English: 9/10 The English teacher really likes me (the teacher coaches cross country), and I generally do well with my assignments and am one of the better students in the class.

    Personal Rec: 9.5/10 I started playing piano eight or so years ago so my piano teacher knows me really well, so I don't think the personal recommendation letter has any problems.
    Guidance Counselor: 8.5/10 The Guidance Councilor likes everyone on our grade and she knows me but I usually only go to her when I have really big problems that my teachers or I can't fix.

    Sports: Cross Country (competitively), Tennis + Track (non-competitively)
    Instruments: As mentioned earlier I play the piano. I've also accompanied the choir in seventh and eighth grade. I also play the cello, in which I am in my orchestra and was in Chamber Orchestra until seventh grade, and in eighth grade, I founded a small ensemble which performs in different casual spaces, we will also be performing in a couple of months at our school. I also have a private teacher.

    Other Extra: Student Council Representative (my first year), I also regularly participate in our Yearbook Club, I was in our Debate Club and Flim+Photography Club in seventh grade, and took Future Problem Solving (a team competition) for three years and got into the State Bowl last year.

    Thanks!
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1149 replies20 threads Senior Member
    You sound like a very strong candidate. You have a lot of strengths. As you may realize from reading acceptance threads from 2017-2019, it’s hard to predict outcomes. Personally, I think your 86% is right on target and your other stats/EC’s are strong. You have demonstrated engagement and success in your current school. In addition, you have much to offer. As many folks on CC will tell you, the SSAT is just one piece of the puzzle.

    I do wonder why you selected those schools to apply to all in CT, and if maybe you want to apply to more schools?

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  • maybesoonmaybesoon 6 replies3 threads New Member
    I do have a downfall, though, which is my math grade wasn't particularly well in sixth and seventh grade. It's tough to determine who (the schools) gets accepted and who doesn't. I am applying to some other schools in the Mid-Atlantic area, but I'll be fine when it comes to those schools. I'm not applying to the upper NE schools (like Andover or St. Paul's) because it's too far, and the chances of getting in are slim.
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1149 replies20 threads Senior Member
    There are additional schools that are either within or very close to CT for you to consider;
    Berkshire, Kent, Salisbury(boys), The Gunnery, Suffield, LC, Pomfret, Millbrook, St George’s (Newport), Avon (boys), Tabor (MA), and Canterbury.
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