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Admission interviews are conversations, not tests!

Angela Brown, Assistant Head of Admission and Strategic Initiatives

When serving on admission panels across the country, I am often asked about the admission interview. It’s understandable that students (and their parents/guardians!) are a little nervous about the interview, wondering why schools require it and how students should prepare for it. Without fail, I always share the two most important factors I believe students should remember when it comes to interviewing: 1) Be yourself and 2) Ask good questions.

Since admission counselors want to get to know YOU, being yourself is the best advice I can give. Remember: the interview is a conversation, NOT a test. We won’t quiz your knowledge about an academic subject or try to stump you in any way (say, by asking "If you were a kitchen utensil, what kind would you be?!"). We simply want to get to know you, and the interview is a wonderful opportunity for you to share who you are, what excites you inside and outside of school, and how you’d like to contribute your unique interests and talents to enrich the Dana Hall community.  

So whatever you find interesting— be it science, theater, anime, soccer, painting, or you name it— we want to hear about it! We find it fascinating to learn about your favorite subjects, books, and activities, and we’re also curious about what you might like to try in the future. That’s why it’s important for you to share who you really are in the interview. If you try to be someone you’re not or talk about things that really don’t interest you, we won’t get to know the real you. So relax, be yourself, and have fun!

The second piece of advice I offer students is to ask good questions. The admission interview is a special opportunity to speak one-on-one with a member of the Dana Hall community, as all other events take place in larger group settings. Before your interview, take a few moments to visit our website and see what sparks your curiosity. Now, you might be wondering, “What makes a *good* interview question?” Here’s a tip: if you think of a question and the answer can easily be found on our website, try to think of another one. For example, if you’re a committed volleyball player, instead of asking “Do you have a volleyball team?” consider asking, “How do volleyball players show their school spirit?” Though both questions will give you information, the first question elicits a simple fact, while the second question helps you learn more about how Dana Hall students encourage and celebrate their teammates. The second question is sure to spark more conversation and lead you to a deeper understanding of Dana Hall’s values, culture, and community!

For Dana Hall admission counselors, speaking with prospective students and their families is the highlight of our day, so there’s no need to be nervous. For more tips about the interview process, check out our Interview FAQs. We look forward to chatting with you soon!