The “From the Desk Of” series is my regular email to the Valley Torah High School community.
This week began the interview process for potential incoming 9th graders. I have been enjoying meeting the future of Valley Torah and it got me thinking about if anyone is preparing these students for the interviews. Not that anyone that I have met has done a poor job. In fact, I have been very impressed. However, as someone who sat on the other side of the interview table many times in my life any and all tips were always welcome. So here are my tips for any 8th grader looking to come to Valley Torah or any high school for that matter. Good luck!
Don’t worry and be yourself:
You have taken your entrance exam, submitted your transcripts, almost finished middle school and are at the last stage of the application process. You have worked really hard to get to this point and should feel good about that. The interview is not a test. It is just a way to get to know you in a way a test can’t. We are interested in knowing what you are interested in and why you are interested in Valley Torah. Just be yourself and you will do great!
Be on time:
Ok. If you are interviewing at a high school the chances are you have little control over punctuality because you are coming with your parents and are not the one driving. However, you can remind your parents that it is important to be on time. Is being late a deal breaker? Of course not, especially if there is a good reason. Yet, being late can mean having to reschedule the interview and it is not best way to start the interview.
Dress for success:
This does not mean you have to come in a suit and tie. However, it also means it would probably not look great to come in shorts and a T-Shirt. Your regular school uniform will be just fine. By dressing nicely you are saying that you are taking the interview seriously and that goes a long way.
I know this sounds like a tall order. I mean come on, you are only thirteen year old! I don’t mean you have to know everything you want to be and everything you are yet. That will come with time and high school will help with that. However, be prepared to talk about some of the things you like, what you are good at and even some of the things you know you need to work on. Why? Because you will be asked to describe yourself either in general or in specific areas like your academics, what you do for fun or what you like or don’t like about school.
We can’t make you like school, but we are looking for students who generally do like school. Valley Torah is a wonderful school to learn in and we hope you are excited about coming here. Does that mean you have had to like every class you ever took? Of course not. What it means is you should come prepared to talk about some of the things that you do like about school. Every student is different and have had different experiences with the schools they are currently in. We understand that. However, there is generally something you liked and we want to hear about it. Of course, if you like many things we would love to hear about that as well.
Know something about the school
It is always good to come to the interview knowing about the school. This should be easy if you came to the open house and heard all about us. Use that information to describe why you want to come to Valley Torah. If you missed the open house, check the website, speak to some friends or ask your parents what they know about the school. If you still have questions, bring them to the interview.
Always have a question
In most interviews in life you will likely be asked if you have any questions for the interviewers. Be prepared with at least one. It should be about the school. Don’t ask what the interviewers favorite color is, but you could ask what clubs the school currently has.