Parent Interview Do’s & Don’ts

Parents applying their child to nursery school and independent on-going schools can expect face-to-face interviews with the admissions team for schools that they’re serious about (though every school is different and the process can vary). This can be a daunting process, but it’s an essential one—and it’s just as much about you determining whether a school is a good fit as it is about the school evaluating you. To help ease the anxiety, here are some handy do’s and don’ts for the parent interview!


  • Be on time
  • Be yourself and be genuine
  • Be honest about your child’s needs & your family’s values
  • Do your homework by researching the school ahead of time
  • Ask meaningful questions that speak to your goals for your child’s education
  • Know what you’re looking for in an education philosophy and be able to articulate it
  • Assume that every interaction you have with the school is being observed—so be respectful and pleasant to every staff member you come in contact with
  • Share any relevant concerns that you have
  • Write a sincere thank-you note afterwards
  • Stay organized and keep track of each school’s requirements regarding the interview process


  • Be late
  • Brag, show off excessively, or display a competitive attitude
  • Ask too many questions that you could likely find the answer to on the school’s website
  • Dominate the conversation or turn the interview into an interrogation
  • Make comparisons to other schools
  • Feel too intimidated to ask questions or share genuine concerns
  • Insist that your child is the absolute perfect fit and simply must go to the school in question
  • Use skeptical, disapproving, or unimpressed body language
  • Use your cell phone—at all

Our sources for these lists include: Michael Luft, Preschool Director, 14th Street Y Preschool; Carolyn Wilson, Director of Advancement, AltSchool; LaNette Hodge, Director of Admissions, BASIS Independent Manhattan; Jason Morrow, Headmaster, The British International School of New York; Andrew Hume, Director of Enrollment, The Calhoun School; Elizabeth Carey, Director of Admissions, Grades 7-12, Dwight School; Martine Lala, Director of Admissions, Lycée Français de New York; Marielle Lopez, Director of Admissions, Metropolitan Montessori School; Ashley Warren, Director of Admissions, Montclare Children’s School; Matt Bateman, Director of Content and Strategy, Polis Montessori World School; Robin Aronow, Founder, School Search NYC; Erica Papir, Educational Consultant, Smart City Kids; Hope Mueller, Principal, St. Ann, The Personal School; Carrie Berger Rosenthal, Jessica Anub & Candace La Douceur, Directors of Admissions, Twin Parks Montessori Schools; Kate Bailey, Head of School, Wetherby-Pembridge School.