My DS is applying to private schools this year and we’re scheduling interviews. Should we make early (like Sep/Oct) or late (Nov/Dec) appointments? Is it better to schedule them after open houses? Thank you!
Just sign up as soon as you can - interviews can be hard to get.
Many schools will do interviews on the Open House day, so you could do that if it works for you. Many schools don’t do open houses, though, and want you to come for a tour and interview. Open houses are most common for schools that have a larger day population or 5-day boarding (i.e., local students). You might want to do both the open house and the personal tour. The first allows you to be more of an observer and the second gives you lots of opportunity to engage around your interests. I am a huge fan of open houses as a low stakes way of checking out a school.
I don’t think timing matters a lot. Basically, they want to have a conversation with your kid, assess their readiness, and make sure they aren’t affiliated with nut-job parents!
Agree about scheduling relatively early. Interview slots can be hard to come by as you get later in the year. We generally did mid-October to early November.
Not sure if you are applying to day or boarding schools. Nice to see the school before the interview as it just makes you better informed to engaged in the conversation. We did tours followed by interviews. A few times the schools changed the order on us so be sure to do your homework prior as you never know and you want to be prepared.
My child was taking SSATs late and didn’t want December to be too jammed with interviews + prep + essays, so we did all interviews in Sept/October.
That said, do prepare for interviews and as others said, will go better if you have been able to visit/do virtual open house or what not first. You can take that learning into consideration!
Agree with the advice above; but also schedule them when it’s best for your family/when you aren’t worried about competing stressful other events. We did them all in one week (my daughter’s school gave students time off for interviews which obviously helped) and in the moment it felt like so much to manage, but afterwards we were so glad to have them all done at once. I asked a Secondary School Counselor if there was any benefit to being one of the first groups seen (in Sept) vs. the last (in Dec) and was told there was absolutely no difference (I was worried about interview “fatigue” happening with the Admissions staff). One of the more important factors is the touch points throughout the Admissions application window (go to the open houses, attend the virtual events, etc. and make sure you have touch points before and after the interview for the schools you are really interested in attending). We had one school that we knew we would definitely go to if accepted and focused the majority of our touch points on that school. I honestly think that is more important than the timing of the interviews.
@hidden.stone, I agree that the timing of interviews doesn’t appear to make much difference and echo what other posters have said about scheduling interviews at times that work best for your family, and ideally after campus visits.
DS was a late applicant in the last admissions cycle (we only decided to apply to boarding school at the beginning of December) and we had no difficulty scheduling interviews. He visited schools and interviewed in person early/mid January and online in early February with positive outcomes. (If I recall correctly, some schools said that they added extra interview slots to accommodate the large number of applicants.) I was told that Admissions Officers wait until all of the applications are in before they commence reading.
Wishing your DS the best of luck!
Thank you so much for everyone’s input! Very helpful!