Wednesday, May 19, 2004

In three days this week, we interviewed about 140 students for next year's sixth grade class. A few were interviewing to enter as seventh graders. We are a public school, but a magnet school, and we select our students based on a combination of test scores, interviews, recommendations from former teachers, and report cards. This year, we had many more applicants than in previous years, so we had to spread out our selection process over three days. We gave the students a writing task while we called them one at a time for an interview.

Here are some of the questions:

  • Why do you want to come to this school?
  • How would you feel about having 2 hours of homework every night? (You should see some of the faces they make when they hear this question, before they pull themselves together and pretend to like the idea...).
  • Have you ever come to class unprepared? How did that make you feel? What did you do about it?
  • How would you compare yourself to the rest of your classmates?
  • Do you have a place & time for homework every day? Do you have a system for doing your homework, to decide which assignments to do first?
  • How do you prepare for an important test?
  • What do you think would be the most difficult part about coming to our school? (This gets the occasional literal answer about the bus ride being long...)
  • What is your favorite thing to do?
  • When was the last time you got in trouble? Tell me about that... How did you handle it? Have you ever been in a fight? (Interestingly, and disturbingly, many of our prospective students have been in at least one fight. A couple of kids today had accidently crossed the wrong person and been beaten up by whole groups of kids. The difference between the fifth graders and sixth graders that we interviewed is that nearly all the sixth graders had fought at least once. Welcome to Junior High, indeed.)
  • What would you do if someone were bothering you and calling you names?
  • Is there anything else you think we should know about you?


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