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Elizabeth Street


The 3 Types of Private School Admissions Directors You'll Meet

Nov 05, 2013

The 3 Types of Private School Admissions Directors You'll Meet

As a mom of two kids who has been through the private school admissions process several times (for kindergarten and middle school), I can tell you, not all admissions directors are alike. You will most likely encounter this person during your parent tour and/or your parent interview. While some admissions directors are warm and welcoming, others are about as friendly as a doorman at a trendy nightclub. Both personality types have interviewed my husband and me. Each interview style presents unique challenges. No matter whom you meet with, it's best to keep in mind that admissions directors are all power brokers of one sort or another. After all, they hold the keys to the empire.

The Tough Cookie
Admittedly, admissions directors at top-tier schools have a tough job. They must interview a lot of families—far more than will be accepted. So, it’s no surprise that some of them can’t even feign interest when it’s your turn to sit down to talk about your kid. So, what’s the best way to deal with an admissions director who you find abrasive or even rude? Be prepared. Be ready to talk comfortably about your kid’s interests, personality and why he/she would be a great fit for the school. And, importantly, talk about what you like about her school. That may even cause her to crack a smile. Your advance preparation will get you through even the most superficial, uninterested interview with an admissions director who looks like she’s ready to fall asleep.

The Note-Taker
Sometimes, the admissions director is unavailable to interview you, so her assistant (or another administrator) fills in. This person is probably not well-versed in the job and will take a lot of notes, listening to you, but not talking much. This is when you have to talk until you’re tired of hearing your own voice. When you leave the interview, you want to make sure her notepad is filled with highlights about your child and everything you want the admissions director to know.

The Long-Lost BFF
There are many admissions directors who are so friendly and charming, you instantly feel like they are your long-lost BFF. They do their job with professionalism and a genuine interest in everything you have to say about your family. The parent interview begins without you even feeling like you’re being interviewed. This lovely admissions director has read your file, knows everything about your family that you included in your written application and seems to want nothing more than to admit you to her school. You are her sole priority. You leave the interview certain that your child will be granted a spot at her school.
Of course, everyone she interviews feels the same way. 

By Christina Simon
Christina Simon is the co-author of Beyond The Brochure: An Insider's Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles. She is the mom of two kids, ages 10 and 13. Christina writes the Los Angeles private elementary school admissions blog,

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