By Jennifer Brozost and Vimmi Shroff
If you, as a parent, are planning to have your child go through the admissions process to gain acceptance into a highly-regarded public or ongoing private school, it is imperative that you support your child, but do not over coach them on how to act, or bribe them with presents!
Kids can be unpredictable, to say the least! They have good days and bad days and each has their own unique personality, attributes and well… ultimately no one is perfect.
I will never forget attending my son’s interview for elementary school. My only goal was for the school to see his best traits: his politeness, intelligence and his caring nature towards other children. The interview seemingly went smoothly, but I noticed his, well, not so wonderful side emerging as we were getting ready to exit the building. He announced in the loudest voice that he did not intend to go to the school, that he “needed to pee”, and that he did not like one of the boys he had been playing with in the playgroup. Our exit from the building following this was quick!
Instances like this happen. There is little we can do to control our wonderful young children during the school application process. At some point, we have to just hope for the best and forget about encouraging them behave in a “certain way” – as this usually backfires! Kids are honest, upfront little people who wear their emotions on their sleeve and like to talk endlessly about every secret in their household. We have seen and heard this many times while working in various admissions offices.
“My mom told me if I behave, we are going to Disneyworld!”
“My dad said to tell you that my favorite thing to do is to read, but I can’t remember the name of the book.”
“My mom told me to tell you that you are my favorite teacher in the whole world, you are not… should I still tell you?”
The truth is that the teachers who are working with your children come with a wealth of experience and knowledge. In addition, kid’s personalities and true characters tend to come out in these interviews. It is a good idea to refrain from giving your child exact instructions on how to act and what to say.
Here are some tips we DO recommend:
• Instead of Disneyworld, maybe a special snack or time with a parent doing something they like if on their “best behavior”
• Be honest with your child about the expectations for behavior in any school setting
• Tell your child to look at the teacher when they ask them a question so she will know he is listening
• Tell them you will be waiting to see them when they are done and are looking forward to hearing all about what they did!
• Remind your child to smile when meeting the teachers. It really goes a long way!
As education and admissions experts, we feel that honesty is the best policy. Your child will be spending a large part of their growing years in the school in which they gain an admission spot to. Explaining the rules of appropriate behavior is perfectly acceptable, but using certain false tactics to try to control your child’s performance could be detrimental in the long run!
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