by Jackeline Carter
Your child has successfully made it to the final stage of the DSA selection process – The Interview. This is the moment where your child needs to do especially well in order to be offered a place in the school. All students who reach this stage of the DSA selection process have proven that they are academically inclined and talented in a certain area. Now the schools want to know if your child is able to communicate his/her views and opinions clearly, effectively and even creatively. Can your child handle the pressure of a face to face interaction without breaking down? Is your child prepared to answer questions with confidence? Depending on the school, your child must be ready to undertake a group interview or an individual interview.
So preparation is the key and practice makes perfect.
In a group interview, three to five students will face one to three interviewers – this varies from school to school. The interviewers are usually vice-principals, head of department, senior teachers, coaches and even student leaders. Group interviews are tougher as your child will have to answer questions put forth by one or more interviewers. Your child must also outshine the other students and not be afraid to maximize his/her speaking opportunity.
During a group interview, the interviewers will take note of the following:
- Can your child display a positive impression and stand out in the group?
- Does your child have good communication skills (verbal and non-verbal)?
- Does your child have abilities such as leadership, creative thinking, problem-solving, and knowledge of current affairs?
- Is your child able to display a sense of empathy towards those less fortunate than themselves?
- Can your child interact socially and work in a team?
RELATED: Is DSA Right for my Child?
For this form of interview, your child will be alone in a room with one, two or three interviewers (varies with different schools). The interviewers can be the principle, vice-principal or head of department and even senior teachers. The interview is an opportunity for the interviewers to get to know your child better and to assess if he/she will fit into the school culture and environment. This form of interview is usually done in a conversational style. In some cases, it can begin in a relax manner and becomes a little more challenging as the interview progresses.
During the interview, your child needs to share the following:
- His/her personal qualities and strengths.
- Be able to express his/her views with confidence.
- Display enthusiasm and interest in the school.
- To assure the interviewer that he/she will accept an offer from the school.
Techniques for a Successful Interview
Follow these tips to ensure a successful interview:
- On entering the interview room, smile, make eye contact and greet every interviewer.
- When answering a question, focus on all the interviewers. Try to engage every one and not just the one who asks the question.
- Never say anything negative about yourself, family, teachers, primary school or the school you are interviewing with. No one likes a negative or ungrateful person.
- Never behave in a defensive manner if your views are challenged by the interviewers. Acknowledge their point of view and thank them for offering it.
- Anticipate as many questions as you can and practise answering them.
- When answering a question, always provide a reason or an example to accompany your answer.
- Try to control the interaction by introducing views and ideas into the discussions.
- Project your voice, speak with clarity and vary your tone when speaking.
- Smile, use facial expressions and hand gestures when necessary.
- Do not cross your arms or legs.
- Lean back in the chair with feet firmly on the ground. Do not rock or fidget.
- Always thank the interviewers before leaving the room.
No matter how much preparation your child undergoes for the interview segment, success will not be achieved unless your child has a positive mindset. Children need to believe in themselves. They need to be confident that they deserve a place in the school of their choice. As parents, you can help by showing more optimism. Never tell your children that they are not good enough or compare them to your friends’ children in front of them. This is the quickest way to lower children’s self-esteem. No matter how smart or talented your children are, they will never be able to convince others to regard them highly if they have a low self-esteem. I cannot stress enough the importance of positive thinking and its role in contributing to a successful interview.