There may come a time when an in-person interview isn’t feasible. Perhaps your family is relocating to the area of the school or you’re considering a distant boarding school. How can you, or more importantly, your child, ensure a successful virtual interview? The following tips offer guidance.

In recent years, virtual calls, classes, interviews, and presentations have become commonplace. If you haven’t established a virtual office at home, start by setting up a tidy space with ample lighting and a non-distracting background. To prevent shadowy visuals, consider using a ring light and avoiding direct backlighting from windows. Position the camera at your child’s eye level — placing your laptop on boxes can help achieve this. If your child wants to showcase a hobby, consider a custom background with relevant imagery, be it their artwork, a beloved sports figure, a memorable travel destination, or a pet. This personal touch can be a great conversation starter. Choose a location that minimizes interruptions from pets, deliveries, landscaping noise, or siblings.

If you’re unfamiliar with virtual meetings, determine the platform the school will use and practice with a friend. Adjust camera angles, teach your child to maintain their on-screen presence, and practice projecting a clear voice. If possible, record these practice sessions for feedback. It’s crucial to advise your child against nervous habits like fidgeting or excessive gesturing, which can be distracting in a virtual setting.

Just as with a face-to-face interview, attire matters. Ensure your child dresses in a manner that’s both comfortable and in line with the school’s dress code. The goal is to convey respect and leave a lasting impression.

Arrange a mock interview with an adult unfamiliar to your child. This allows them to acclimatize to the digital format and refine their virtual etiquette, such as logging in early to account for technical issues, avoiding phone distractions, and keeping snacks out of sight. It’s acceptable to have a glass of water nearby, but leave it at that. Ensure your child attends to any personal needs before the call starts.

Establish whether parents should remain present during the interview. While it’s advisable for a parent to be available for initial tech troubleshooting, it’s best to give your child space once the interview commences.

Encourage your child to jot down notes, especially if they encounter challenging questions. Ahead of time, prepare a list of 5-6 questions they can refer to if asked. During the conversation, prompt them to note down intriguing points or further questions, ensuring they’re engaged and proactive throughout.

As the session concludes, remind your child to express gratitude. If something piqued their interest, they should ask the interviewer for more resources or insights on that topic.

Lastly, always follow up. A handwritten thank-you note, referencing a personal tidbit from the interview, leaves a lasting impression. If the admissions officer works remotely, a thoughtful video message or email is a suitable alternative.

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