I have my first interview at Andover (with campus tour) next Tuesday, on the 12th.
I have a few questions I’d like to ask about the interview process, since this is my first ever interview with a school.
1: What do I wear? Normally, when I think of interviews, I would think to wear western business attire - a suit jacket, shirt, tie, dress slacks, and leather shoes. However, concerning the tour beforehand will involve a lot of walking and I’m not sure if it’ll always be on stone ground, is something more casual expected? I know that Hotchkiss asks you to “Dress comfortably and appropriately for walking outdoors” (per their interview email - I have that on the 23rd).
2: What am I allowed to bring? Andover has three questions they will always ask you, and I’m thinking of bringing an index card to be more prepared for the interview (bc the natural anxieties that interviews bring). I was also wondering if I could take notes during the tour, with a notebook perhaps? Maybe condense the index card and notebook into just the notebook, for both purposes?
3: Any advice for interviews in general?
Most people I know say wear comfortable shoes i.e. tennis shoes since you will do a lot of walking. For Schools that don’t need a jacket and tie, the tie is optional
You will not have the time to look at the index card for the interview nor is it appropriate. However you may write some questions you want to ask the interviewer and glance at it if you need at the end of the interview when you are given an opportunity to ask questions.
Make the interview conversational rather than scripted.
Hi - first, please relax. Just that you are thinking about this is great. Be yourself. I have a daughter so that is not as helpful re: dress, but I will share some thoughts.
You want to fit in but still dress for an interview. I am a big believer in dressing for success. We saw a range of boys interviewing in nice khakis and button-down shirts to slacks, jacket and ties. Most wore dressy sneakers. At Deerfield I would be more inclined to wear a blazer/jacket since that is part of their uniform. You will be walking a ton. If you are able to, I suggest getting dressier shoe sneakers. A shoe that is sort of a crossover with a good Rubber sole or a dressy sneaker. You will not be comfortable in dress shoes, you do not want a blister and they know you are walking a lot. (Note: at Andover we were toured by a kid in pajamas and another in a halter top with overalls with one side clipped, showing her stomach) Dress nicer as you are not a student there yet, this is an interview. Put your best foot forward, but you also want to show that you will fit in.
Do not bring note cards. This is suppose to be an organic conversation. Andover will ask you the questions either directly or indirectly. The interview was very friendly. They are not trying to trick you, but want your thinking to show that you belong there. They will engage in small talk to make you feel welcomed at the start of the interview. Be sure to have a question or two to ask at the end.
Andover has a great snack station in their admissions building. You can take notes during your tour, but you probably will not need to as it is a comfortable conversation where you can be engaged and ask questions while walking. Dot down your thoughts after the tour/interview while everything is fresh in your mind as you are are bound to get multiple schools confused and months later you will forget different tidbits/your reactions.
Get to the interview a bit early as sometimes it is hard to find the admissions building or parking on campuses you are not familiar with. It will also allow you to go to the bathroom after your trip to the school.
Be mindful of what you discuss in waiting areas. Everyone has ears. We were shocked that families actually compared schools and their prospectives (sometimes negatively). Stay off your phone while you wait for your parents there are plenty of school materials to read in the waiting areas.
Good luck - you’ve got this!
In a nutshell: dress slightly more formal than the current students, with shoes that you can walk in comfortably.
I’m hoping that you’re overthinking this.
Know the school you’re interviewing at. And don’t be surprised if you get asked something completely unexpected. Most of all, have fun and enjoy the experience.
I will second “the walls have ears” advice of Sroo, and that this applies to the adults as well. Also, you might think that this is obvious, but be friendly, polite, and egalitarian to everyone.
And check the weather forecast a few days out. It’s HOT today but forecast to be 74 on Tuesday.
Think of the interview as a friendly conversation rather than a formal interview. The goal is for the AO to enjoy their conversation with you enough that they’d want to sit next to you at the dining hall. Which means, leave the index cards at home. I promise, they’d much rather hear you stumble through an honest and heartfelt answer than recite the “perfect” answer read from an index card.
On our visits, we did see a few students in suits and dress shoes, carrying notebooks into their interview. If that is what you are most comfortable in, go for it. I advised my kids to wear something equal to, or a step above the school’s dress code. For a casual school, my son wore khaki pants, a button down, and a quarter zip with sperrys (deck shoes). For more formal schools, he added a blazer and tie. My daughter wore a skirt with a sweater and ballet flats (except for the two days when the weather was below 10 degrees and we subbed Uggs for ballet slippers).
Lots of other good information shared above, about being friendly to everyone you encounter, and being engaged throughout your entire visit (look at school yearbooks and handouts rather than at your phone while in the admission office). Above all, check out the students and faculty on campus, and try to figure out if they are part of a community that you also want to be part of. Best of luck!
@Floorboard you have gotten some great advice from the other posters.
My DS interviewed last January and we saw all sorts of permutations and combinations. I think that anything that’s neat and tidy and denotes respect is probably acceptable. DS wore a blazer with khakis, button-down & tie to schools with more a formal dress code, and khakis, button-down & sweater to those that were more informal. And he wore comfortable, rubber-soled loafers.
I agree it’s important to keep a note of your thoughts, impressions and observations. DS used GoogleForms to make a questionnaire which he could answer easily on his phone in the car afterwards. It allowed him to record information and also to evaluate schools on a scale of 0-10 on categories that were important to him, which he found helpful down the line. Of course you could use paper if that’s what you prefer. Some people also like to do voice recordings. Whatever works for you!
@Calliemomofgirls had a great solution for remembering things which involved doing a voice recording of impressions as they drove off from each school. She can share more!
To me, this is preferable to taking notes. It’s about making a connection, not attending a lecture. And believe it or not, the AOs really like young people and they want to see you at your best, so if you can relax and see it as a conversation, that’s what they are hoping for too. In any case, be comfortable and be yourself – you do it better than anyone else!
I agree with the great feedback you have received so far. The best advice my daughter received before interviews 1) practice potential interview questions with a friend or your parents, so that you can be comfortable answering as your authentic self and mentally feel prepared 2) if you do the tour beforehand, ask lots of questions/pay attention, so you have some material to fall back on during the interview when asked if you have any other questions (and this also gets your brain stimulated and gets some of the nerves out ahead of the interview) 3) take a deep breath and smile before you walk in the door to the interview. You’ve got this!
Update: interview done, thank you to everyone for your advice! I think it went very well.
Hey! I’m also applying to Andover, what type of questions did they ask you?
Honestly, questions-wise the only real “questions” they asked me were the 3 they included in the email. Otherwise, it was just a conversation (and a pretty enjoyable one, at that).
Thank you! I’m taking the SSAT, is there anyplace/social media or even by email that I could use to talk to you? I don’t use this forum much.
Yeah, sure (sorry for the delay, I caught a pretty bad cold) - message me!