WUS 7+ Interview

(58 Posts)
MilansMum Thu 24-Jan-13 14:22:59

Does anyone know what sort of questions are asked at the WUS 7+ interview? What level of books do they have to read to the Master? What type of lesson do they participate in? Any answers would be most gratefully received as I don't know anyone who has been through the interview process at any competitive school in the UK. Many thanks.

Turniphead1 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:08:17

Hi Milansmum. Congrats to your DS. I don't know much about the lesson - but in general it's not much you can prepare for. The questions though do centre quite a lot on why they want to go to WUS and whether they are up for Colet Court. They tend to be asked about hobbies and perhaps something cultural - about musicians and artists (I was told this today and my DS would have no view on such matters!). All I am going to do is remind him to shake hands firmly, and look the Master in the eye. Oh and not mention that he really doesn't want to go to the School .... wink
Good luck!

posadas Thu 24-Jan-13 22:12:45

The objective of the interview is to try to get to know the boys -- if your son's main interest is football, the questions will probably be about football; if his interests are cultural, the questions will probably be cultural -- ie the questions will be designed to try to explore the "depth" of interests, whatever those interests are. They're also designed to try to see how original the boys are, how they think about unusual or unexpected topics, etc. As Turniphead said, you can't prepare, other than to try to encourage your son to relax and enjoy the experience.
By the way: Don't worry about questions about why your son might prefer WUS over another school. Most of the boys will be taking exams/having interviews at other competitive schools and many receive multiple offers. A parent I know a few years ago was nervous because he'd been told the schools try to figure out what is your top choice and only give offers if they think THEIR school is your top choice. In my experience/observation, this is not true. The schools want to get the boys they think will thrive in their school and they give offers to all who meet their criteria, regardless of whether they think they're also interested in "another" school.
Good luck!

Turniphead1 Thu 24-Jan-13 22:42:47

Thanks Posadas!

TennisMom Fri 25-Jan-13 14:15:50

Posada, from your experience, is the order of interview telling? In other words, do the tend to bring in boys most likely to get an offer earlier?

The interviews are spread over 2 days. Is it first day 1 group and then second day 2 groups?

Any other insights into the interview process in terms if interview order? There must be some underlying thoughts here. Much appreciated.

TennisMom Fri 25-Jan-13 14:18:23

Posada, from your experience, is the order of interview telling? In other words, do they tend to bring in boys most likely to get an offer earlier?

The interviews are spread over 2 days. Is it first day 1 group and then second day 2 groups?

Any other insights into the interview process in terms of interview order? There must be some underlying thoughts here. Much appreciated.

MilansMum Fri 25-Jan-13 18:51:43

Thanks so much for sharing your experience Posadas. Very helpful. We are just trying to relax over the weekend as there is obviously not much to prepare, which is a relief after the assessments. Good luck everyone.

GoLadyEdith Sat 26-Jan-13 10:00:06

No personal experience of WUS but dd went to NLCS at 7+. There were 3 interview dates lined up. Afterwards a parent with older dds told me they interviewed the strongest candidates on day 1, middle band day 2 etc. perhaps WUS has a similar system.

TennisMom Sat 26-Jan-13 10:29:27

GoLadyEdith, thanks for your insights of NLCS' process. I was told of something similar by another WUS mother. This makes sense.

TennisMom Sat 26-Jan-13 10:36:11

MilansMum, what time is your interview on Tuesday? We are trying to determine how many groups they are assessing on Day and Day 2. We are Day 1.

Turniphead1 Sat 26-Jan-13 10:51:28

Tennismom - we are in at 11am on Tuesday. Is Tuesday day 1?

TennisMom Sat 26-Jan-13 18:07:44

Yes, sorry, I meant to say "Day 1 and Day 2" above. Tuesday is Day 1.

posadas Mon 28-Jan-13 10:11:36

I don't have any insights into the meaning of different interview times. Probably best not to try to "read the tea leaves" and just help your sons be as relaxed and "natural" as possible.

Turniphead1 Tue 29-Jan-13 22:01:24

Hope anyone who went in today was happy. My DS seemed to enjoy it. Will they definitely wait until Friday to send out letters do you think?

middlesqueezed Tue 29-Jan-13 23:28:54

Glad he enjoyed it - best of luck smile. My current year 3 boy said they were all "Sooooo cute". In my experience they normally do wait until Friday, but send all the letters then so you should get it on Saturday morning.
Surprised not to see any 8+ WUS parents posting here. Are there none?

TennisMom Thu 31-Jan-13 07:43:29

My DS had a good time on Tuesday and was very happy coming out. He said they were taking turns telling jokes at the end while waiting for the parents.

Now that the last group is finished with interviews yesterday, the anxious wait begins until Saturday. My experience is that it will be a thin envelope one way or another so don't get initially discouraged if you receive a thin letter in the post box.

Good luck, everyone!

TennisMom Thu 31-Jan-13 07:45:00

Turniphead1, have you revisited the commute issue from North London in case DS is accepted?

Turniphead1 Thu 31-Jan-13 08:59:23

Tennismom. It's still very much an issue for us - but like everything it is doable.

If he gets accepted it will be down to two schools and we will need to be as certain as we can that the disadvantages to him, longer school day, less local friends, not at school with siblings, and to us (the extra travel logistics etc) are outweighed by the extra special quality of the education he would get there.

It's so hard to know what is the "right" school for your boy.

In some ways the easiest thing is if the decision is made for us on Saturday wink.

If its a yes on Saturday I would really appreciate speaking to anyone who has a son there currently. But let's worry about that then.

Good luck to all.

Turniphead1 Sat 02-Feb-13 08:47:41

I have no idea when the post comes on a Saturday. Oh for the days when it was 8am. wink

middlesqueezed Sat 02-Feb-13 09:37:28

Good luck all!

TennisMom Sat 02-Feb-13 11:37:02

Any letters yet? We won't be home to get the post until later.

Turniphead1 Sat 02-Feb-13 12:03:41

Good news here. grin
Decision time ...
Good luck Tennismom.

anxiousdaddy Sun 03-Feb-13 17:03:27

DS sat for CC and WUS. We decided today to accept CC . Good luck everyone.

Turniphead1 Sun 03-Feb-13 18:03:42

Including Anxiousdaddy I know of two boys taking CC over WUS which might be good news for anyone on the reserve list.

Well done to your DS.

anxiousdaddy Sun 03-Feb-13 21:18:26

DS is really into maths but was disappointed that there's no featuring of it at all in WUS interview. In sharp contrast with CC, he was challenged in maths by both the HM and the group session, which he really enjoyed. That's a deciding factor we chose to go with CC. The chance for parents to meet with HM in person with CC also weighted in our final decision. Hope we made the right choice for DS. Love to hear your views too.

TennisMom Sun 03-Feb-13 23:23:18

anxiousdad, don't let the WUS interview experience turn you off to the school. They probably already know the boys are good in maths based on the exam.

One of my sons had offers at both CC and WUS at 8+ so we went through everything you did, including the parents interview with HM. He is also very strong in maths (at least 3-4 years ahead of his age) and is currently one of the top math students in his class.

In the end, we chose WUS over CC due to proximity; flexibility for schools at 13+ (CC doesn't prepare you for CE and expects boys to stay whereas WUS will support boys for other schools at 13+); ethos of teaching the boys to "love learning" for its own sake and not for exams; and values quirkiness in individuals.

There are plenty of opportunities to do maths at WUS. It is very academic but you and the boys don't feel it.

I'd choose a school based on distance and commuting time since there will be lots of birthdays, school events and parents' coffee mornings and a long commute would be a pain.

anxiousdaddy Mon 04-Feb-13 08:36:03

Thanks TennisMom for the insight. Proximity will not be an issue as we are current way out of reach of either schools and will definitely move to wherever school we choose for DS. DW is keener on WUS while DS is extremely keen on CC. So we have a little dilemma in our decision ...

middlesqueezed Mon 04-Feb-13 09:45:17

We chose WUS overwhelmingly for proximity, although the greater flexibility at 13+ is also a consideration unless you are totally sure about St Paul's. DS was also very strong in maths and certainly didn't feel that he wasn't challenged - WUS/Westminster is extremely good in that area. My personal feeling is that Westminster is possibly better at embracing different personalities and quirkier boys, although YMMV of course. But your DS will certainly do well at either - after a certain point it's about the child not the school and they're not worlds apart in terms of what he'll find there. I know many boys at both and they're all happy.

TennisMom Mon 04-Feb-13 10:10:04

If it's important to you, another point worth considering b/w the 2 schools is that the WUS student body is more diverse with students originally from all over the world even though they are now based in London. I got the impression CC students are more native British.

With the world now becoming increasingly global, if it's not already so, the early exposure to a diverse student body is probably not a bad idea.

Turniphead1 Mon 04-Feb-13 10:16:38

Tennismom - I take it you will have another boy starting in September? Thanks to you and Middlesqueezed for your information about the school. All very useful.

mrsshackleton Mon 04-Feb-13 10:25:27

CC boys are certainly not mainly "native British", it's a hugely international crowd, as with virtually any school in London

anxiousdaddy Mon 04-Feb-13 11:55:12

On the culture mixture side, on our CC intervew day, the school sent some randomly selected senior students to the waiting room to answer our questions while the DS's taking their assessment. Each boy came down from their classes and stayed for about 15-20 minutes before returning to their classes. Among the 6 CC boys we talked to during our session: 1 from the States, 1 of Korean original, 2 from Chinese original, and 2 from native Britain. So I'm sure it's a quite mixed community there.

DW is still a bit wavering on the final decision between WUS and CC, and so looks like the ordeal of the process will drag on into the last two days... though I do want to say a huge thanks to my lovely DS for doing well in exams and giving us this chance of 'suffering'... And well done to all your boys who got this far!

middlesqueezed Mon 04-Feb-13 12:03:16

Indeed - it's a very nice dilemma to have! But really, sure he will be fine and happy at either.

Mominatrix Mon 04-Feb-13 12:45:57

anxiousdaddy - well done to your son! My son had to initially choose the 2 schools he wanted to apply to as of the 3, 2 schools had their examination on the same day. The choice was between WUS and KCJS, and he said, without hesitation, Kings. I initially thought that WUS would be a better fit for him as he is a quirky child who, if interested, will take a subject and run with it beyond the curriculum and also is very creative. However, the two schools he chose to apply to were CC and KCJS because they also offer space and a physical freedom which WUS just cannot due to its more urban location. He too got into both of the schools he applied to, and I let him make the choice. They are all good schools, and children do have a sense of what appeals to them.

DS is thriving at CC - loving every minute of it. It certainly is not very British - in fact, native British are in the minority of the student body.

Think if your son needs space, enjoys running around (does not have to necessarily be sporty - my DS certainly is not), this would be a key difference. Another key difference between WUS and CC is the access to phenomenal DT facilities (CC and KCJS have this, but not WUS) - this is what DS is REALLY keen on and another reason he wanted to apply to the schools he chose.

Good Luck in your decision. My gut feel is to let DS decide, but I guess you'd have to sway DW.

anxiousdaddy Mon 04-Feb-13 14:10:42

Thanks Mominatrix for sharing the experience. DS had started calling himself Coletine from yesterday while DW is busy making phone calls to friends asking for second opinions on WUS. I think the next two days I'll start seeing some fighting smokes at home ...

Turniphead1 Mon 04-Feb-13 14:59:48

Mominatrix. Your post has also given me food for thought - regarding DT facilities and outdoor pace. Albeit not a WUSvCC choice. Relevant nonetheless.

TennisMom Mon 04-Feb-13 16:56:31

Turniphead1, yes we will be accepting WUS offer so DS can join his brother.

Regarding WUS facilities, do not worry about the lack of play space as Vincent Square is huge and more than sufficient for boys to run around for games and during breaks. I've attended games and functions there and the space is vast, more than a boy will ever need. In addition, the newly acquired and built sports hall allows boys to participate in many indoor sports and activities including wall climbing, fencing, rowing, cricket, table tennis, etc. Basically, more than a boy will ever need unless you think he is going to be an Olympian.

Regarding DT, it is one of my son's favourite subjects at WUS. He raves about the equipment and the teaching is "amazing". Hence, don't automatically discount the DT curriculum. At this tender age, I'm sure just a little exposure to computers is sufficient for their needs. Let's put it into perspective. We are not yet talking about MIT or Cal Tech here.

TennisMom Mon 04-Feb-13 21:25:20

At the end of the day, all the competitive entry schools' teachings are good; there are only so many ways to teach subjects like Math and English. It is just down to personal preference.

posadas Tue 05-Feb-13 11:41:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Turniphead1 Tue 05-Feb-13 12:36:13

Has anyone had call to try and speak to either CC or WUS since the offers came out? I am currently rather unimpressed by complete inability of WUS to have anyone available to speak to me...

anxiousdaddy Tue 05-Feb-13 12:39:02

Posadas, thanks for the well versed summary.

Turniphead1, DW had tried calling WUS multiple times from yesterday but each time was switched to an answer phone.

Turniphead1 Tue 05-Feb-13 13:08:55

Yes - they had 11+ on yesterday. I still don't understand why they didn't send their offers out at a time when they would have capacity to speak to parents.

TennisMom Tue 05-Feb-13 13:42:00

anxiousdad and turniphead, I know what you mean. I tried calling a few times yesterday as well and had the same experience as you.

Don't be discouraged even though this is not the best reflection of the school. As you probably already know, they have a relatively new HM and, as in all new regime changes, the entire front office staff has been replaced. Hence, things are not running as smoothly during this transition period. This is no excuse but just be sensitive to this fact.

Also, just so you know, we value outdoor space for our DC as much as any parents and it is definitely something we look for in our DC's schools. In fact, we've turned down a few schools due to cramped spaces. My DS currently at WUS talks about the "independence" and "spaces to explore" during the many breaks as well so posadas' description above could be applied to his experience at WUS.

At the end of the day, we all love the school/house/neighborhood we choose at the end.

TennisMom Tue 05-Feb-13 13:52:11

There is no dispute that CC has much larger outdoor space than WUS given their suburban location. However, should you choose WUS for your DS, trust me there will be plenty of outdoor and indoor activities and space to engage him. There is more than enough for his needs and he will not be wishing for more.

Another way to look at it is a city versus a suburban school albeit a city school that owns an entire block of green space plus an adjacent dedicated sports hall.

Turniphead1 Tue 05-Feb-13 14:24:37

Someone very wise once told me " you don't purchase education by the acre" wink

In saying that I am struggling greatly with the fact that I really need to speak to the school and can not do so. In contrast to our other top ranking choice where an email query was met with a phone call one hour later from the JS head (who is dealing with about four times as many admissions as the Master at WUS).

I feel I am running out of time.

TennisMom Tue 05-Feb-13 14:38:53

Turniphead, don't despair. I realise the frustration due to the difficulty in contacting the school this week during decision time and I'm an insider! Just leave messages and email them. I think they are bombarded with 7+, 8+ and 11+ all around the same time. Again, no excuse.

Just know that it is not like this once DS is a student here. The school is super-communicative--too much, in fact. I get more emails with info from WUS' administrators and teachers than at any of my other DC's schools, sometimes 2-3x/day. All the teachers respond to emails usually within the hour as they all get an iPhone and a MacBook Air.

posadas Tue 05-Feb-13 14:57:26

I agree entirely -- the quality of education doesn't necessarily depend on the facilities. (Vincent Square is beautiful, TennisMom, and it's charming, too. I have no doubt the WUS boys have great fun playing there!)

My point about the campus at CC wasn't to compare the size of outdoor space at various schools. What I meant to emphasise is that the large, self-contained campus allows/encourages/requires boys to be very independent. (It can, also, be daunting for newcomers but the school seems to be effective in helping new boys settle.) When I see children at other schools being shepherded to other buildings for sports or music or assemblies or lunch-time tennis matches etc (ie Hill House, Sussex House, etc -- all wonderful schools), I am glad my son has the independence (challenge?) to take himself to all of his school activities, in the safety of one large campus. When I think about what is truly different about my son's experience from that of his friends at many other "good" schools, I think it's this independence that stands out.

Turniphead -- have you tried emailing the Master at WUS? or someone else on staff? Or perhaps the head of your son's current school could put in a call for you? I hope you can get the answers you need.

TennisMom Tue 05-Feb-13 15:18:50

I agree with a bigger school comes more independence. As my DS currently at WUS said to his younger brother who will be joining him there next September, "You'll love the independence here compared to your old school. Whenever you are done with lunch, you can pick up and leave the building on your own without having to wait for the entire class to finish. You can walk over to Vincent Square on your own and you are given a code to go into the park to play. If you want to stay indoors, you can go to the Library, Bookstore or DT lab to play." Independence is a highlight for him as well.

Granted, they do have to walk down the street chaperoned to swim at Queen Mother Sports Centre.

Turniphead1 Tue 05-Feb-13 15:30:41

Posadas - I have emailed three times. No response. Called various times. No response. Have stopped short at emailing the Master. Am
presuming I can extrapolate her email address from the standard.

Tennismom - out of interest - is there another phone number that parents have? Not that I want it - but this experience begs the question, if I had an emergency and needed to contact the school during admissions time, how would I go about it? angry

Turniphead1 Tue 05-Feb-13 15:30:56

Posadas - I have emailed three times. No response. Called various times. No response. Have stopped short at emailing the Master. Am
presuming I can extrapolate her email address from the standard.

Tennismom - out of interest - is there another phone number that parents have? Not that I want it - but this experience begs the question, if I had an emergency and needed to contact the school during admissions time, how would I go about it? angry

anxiousdaddy Tue 05-Feb-13 15:34:24

Thanks for all the insightful comments about the two schools. DW has just left another voice message and email to WUS. She's getting a bit frustrated till this point. I hope this won't be a turning off point but with the deadline looming I think everyone's getting more anxious...

Turniphead1 Tue 05-Feb-13 16:10:34

Now heard back. Hope your DW has also. Yes, it's a busy time for them. But it is for all schools.

TennisMom Tue 05-Feb-13 16:16:38

I'd be anxious, too, esp. as I'm trying to do a bank transfer of the deposit and getting a receipt confirmation from them before Friday's deadline.

There is no "inside" phone numbers but you have more numbers to try and they can transfer you.

I did get a call back on Monday from someone in the office regarding admissions. There must be something going on today because she said she'll get back to me on an issue on Wednesday, not Tuesday.

anxiousdaddy Wed 06-Feb-13 09:25:28

The wait is over for us. We went along with DS's preference (CC) this morning. Thanks for all your valuable input here (TennisMom, Turniphead, Posadas, Mominatrix and middlesqueezed). No more anxious for me for now...
Best wishes to all.

posadas Wed 06-Feb-13 10:14:29

nolongeranxiousdad: i'm sure you're all relieved to have made a decision. Good luck now with the house search!

anxiousdaddy Wed 06-Feb-13 11:49:52

Yes, DW has started search places near Hammersmith area. Will definitely need more advice down the line. But that would be a new topic, and a new anxious. But until then, wish you all the best...

Mominatrix Wed 06-Feb-13 12:52:49

Congratulations on the decision anxious daddy - did DW come around and agree?

Good luck with the house search - luckily there are lovely areas surrounding the school or a very easy commute.

anxiousdaddy Thu 07-Feb-13 22:49:14

Mominatrix, thanks for the good wishes. We definitely need that for the house search. DW was bent over DS's strong will, albeit reluctantly somewhat, and this chapter is apparently over.

All, guess this is the end of this specific topic and I'm sure we'll meet on other topics about our DS/DD over the course of their long school years ahead. Given the nice people like you and the informative information I got here, I think this site deserves to be upgraded to mums&dadsnet. smile.

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