Beat the waiting list blues

You’ve done your homework, you’ve looked at all the options and, finally, you’ve found the perfect school for your child. Now it’s just a matter of getting in. With long waiting lists at many independent schools, it can be difficult to obtain a place at your preferred school but there are a number of ways to improve your child’s chances. offers this commonsense advice to parents.

Be organised. Submit the necessary forms, fees and documents correctly and on time.

Show interest. Book a principal’s tour, visit on open days, get to know the school well.

Don’t despair. If you do end up on a waiting list, let the school know that you remain eager to enrol your child when a place becomes available. Parents often put their children’s names down for several schools. Waiting lists can shrink quickly when it comes time to make a final decision.

For many families though, the most stressful aspect of the application process is the enrolment interview.

St Andrew’s Cathedral School registrar Bruce Perry has these tips for a smooth interview.


  • Arrive on time. If you’re running late, call ahead to let the school know.
  • Don’t answer questions directed at your child. Remember that the purpose of the interview is to get to know the student.
  • Ensure that your child is dressed to impress. Either in a neat and clean uniform or in good casual clothes that conform to the school’s dress code.
  • Be honest. Non-disclosure could jeopardise your child’s enrolment prospects.


  • Answer questions calmly and directly. Be polite. Don’t fidget, don’t slouch, don’t chew gum. Offer a firm handshake and maintain eye contact.
  • Do your research. Prepare a few in-depth questions that show you’re truly interested in attending the school.
  • Always try to answer in full sentences, not just Yes or No.
  • NEVER check your phone during an interview.
Beat the waiting list blues
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Author: Mindy Laube

Mindy Laube is a creative content specialist with a strong background in digital and print journalism gained over a 14-year career at the Sydney Morning Herald. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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