"Are we your number one choice?" is a question being asked of K-12 applicants during interviews. Why? What is the purpose of trying to predict a high ratio of enrollments/admission offers?
A better measure of a school's health is high retention, year over year. So, why do we persist in trying to predict an applicant's interest in accepting our future offer?
A good interviewer knows that children are fickle. Their answer will be swayed by their peers, their crushes, their parents, the school lunch program, and even the adults (seen as an authority!) in the admission office. How impossible to ask a child if we are their first choice! It puts children in an untenable position and most likely their answers are unreliable, so let's stop asking!
Instead, let's focus on getting to the core of our mission and asking good questions that help applicants reveal their heart and show us if our school can serve them. Let's train our interviewers to practice active listening and help applicants feel comfortable to engage in real dialogue with us. Let's veer away from canned questions that produce canned responses.
Director of Admission
St. James' Episcopal School
Los Angeles, CA 90005