There has always been a certain urge to be able to read people’s minds; to find out exactly what they want, how they react, and why they react a certain way. This fantasy holds true for many kinds of people, parents to children (and vice versa), employees to employers (again a mutual want) and finally, applicants to interviewers. Consequently, through our extensive experience and research, we have compile five fantastic tips for you to fufill this fantasy, and be a dream applicant to the interviewer holding the key to your dream school.

  1. YOU

It may seem obvious, but often what happens is that an applicant will simply list out a list of achievements, hobbies and various community involvements and hope that this will impress the interviewer. But what is important is how what you are saying (or listing) is testament to you as a person: your character, your values and your goals.

For example, instead of saying “I was the captain of the school team”, try phrasing it as “As the captain of the school team, it taught me the importance of being accountable as a leader, the value of teamwork and friendship, and also the ability to manage my time effectively as a captain and a student”.

A personal statement is merely a piece of paper with black ink on it, but what will bring the ink to life, what will make that blackness blossom, is y-o-u.

You put meaning into those words, so do not simply list out what an interviewer can take 5 minutes reading.

  1. Balance

Managing your time effectively was mentioned in the previous point, and this balance is something which will stand you in good stead with the interviewer. It is not about how brilliant your academic results are, or how excellent your CCA record is, or even how commendable your personal qualities may be. Rather it is the management of all three components which will give you the edge. It is no longer about how good you are at doing one thing, but multiple things. And most importantly, it is how you as a student and person are able to transfer and transmute lessons learnt from one part of your life to another.

  1. Confidence

The secret of presenting yourself: it is not about what you say, but the way you say it. Confidence is key to building a good impression and most pertinently,  it is one thing to sound confident when you are speaking about your numerous achievements and qualities as a person, but it is another to continue to sound and appear confident when faced with a difficult question such as “What are your weaknesses?”

Confidence therefore, not content, nor charm will be the key.

  1. Potential

No, we are not simply talking about academic potential, but simply, the potential for growth as a person. Your weaknesses, for example, should not be stumbling blocks but stepping stones in your journey as a student and as an individual. Interviewers will be looking not for students whose flame is burning brightly now, but for students whose flame will continue to burn, even get brighter over the course of the next few years. After all, getting into a secondary school of your choice is not a one-time acceptance, but a 4-year journey. And it is the journey, not the joining that counts.

  1. Your file

This may seem a little left-field, but the way your file with all your certificates is arranged when you present it to the interviewer does say quite a lot about you. For that matter, that bag which you take that file out of also counts. A neat, crumple-free file and bag shows effort, and also is reflective of you as a student and person. It would be a shame to deliver a brilliant interview only to be let down by your mediocre dossier. The small, seemingly insignificant things count as well.

From the obvious, to the obscure, this is just a little sneak peek into what goes on in the minds of  interviewers. In conclusion though, do not think too much about what they want, because it would seem robotic and scripted. Rather, after you have understood their requirements, it is about working on yourself, and delivering the best snippets of who you are within the time allocated to you. And if you do manage to keep the interviewers back even longer, then all the better for you!

Make A Statement Even Before the DSA Interview

Here are some simple and interesting tips to help you gain that extra edge for that big Direct School Admissions Interview!

  1. Arrive around half an hour before your timeslot. That way, you will have time to compose yourself and appear calm and composed, not sweaty and shaken once your interview begins.
  2.  Bring an interesting book or magazine to read while waiting, for books tell a great deal about a person and what their interests are.
  3.  Grooming is everything – make sure your hair is neat, fingernails are clean and your outfit and shoes look presentable.
  4.  Mints always come in handy just to ensure that you do not let your interviewers know what you had for lunch.
  5.  If you are bringing along your bag, make sure that its contents are neatly packed and filed (no crumpled papers and files everywhere), and that the exterior of your bag is clean too. This will make you appear organised rather than in dire need of organisation.