Applying to private/independent schools is stressful enough without the Covid -19 virus. But with a pandemic and the private school admissions process moved online, there’s an added complexity. So, how can you prepare for your your child’s assessments on Zoom? Here are 5 things you should know:
- Let your child do the talking. Don’t answer, don’t give clues, don’t speak for your kid. The school wants to get to know your child. You will have a separate chance to share your thoughts. This is an opportunity for your child to shine. If your child is shy, that is ok. If your child does not answer the question that was asked, that is ok. Try to remember this is about your child, not you. If you interrupt or answer for your child, the school may not have the opportunity to see your child at their best. And, the school may draw incorrect conclusions about your child’s ability to communicate and/or ability to answer questions without help. It is important to let your child represent him/herself. If your child is ready for elementary school, he/she is ready to do an assessment independently.
- Don’t open the packet ahead of time. Wait for the ZOOM meeting. The school gave instructions for a reason. They want to see if you can follow them! You will be told when to open the packet after the meeting starts.
- Headphones. If your child is not used to wearing headphones, be sure to have him/her practice before the assessment. It is important that kids are used to wearing them and that they fit properly so he/she does not tug at them during the assessment. The reason the kids wear headphones is so the Admissions Team can talk to them directly. You do not need to hear (or respond to) what they are saying.
- What to expect? Ask the school if your child’s Zoom will be a one -on- one meeting with your child and the Admissions Team or a group assessment i.e. other kids on the same Zoom. It is helpful to be able to tell your son/daughter what to expect. If they know that there will be a group and that they will need take turns talking or answering questions, it is different than having the time all to themselves.
- Don’t forget that you should write a thank you email after the assessment. Make sure you get the name of the person who met with your child so you can send an email. During non-Covid times, you could send a pretty card, but during Covid, an email is better. Most people are working remotely and they may not receive your lovely note if it is sent by regular mail.
Take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the experience of meeting with each school!
Lisa Marfisi has been a professional in education in Los Angeles since 1991. She was the Director of Admissions K-12 at Wildwood School and PK-6 at Echo Horizon School. She also worked at the Archer School for Girls, PS #1, and Westside Neighborhood School. Lisa’s experience has given her an understanding of what schools are looking for and enables her to help parents navigate the admissions process from an insider’s point of view. Lisa has been helping families with the admission process as a Director of Admission for 15 years. Her son is a graduate of UC Berkeley and her daughter graduated from UC Santa Barbara and is in grad school at Georgia Tech. Lisa has experience as a parent at independent, public, charter and parochial schools. Education: BA – University of Pennsylvania. www.lisamarfisi.com