Reading this admissions guide will reveal that there are no tricks or secrets to getting your child into a private school. Just a lot of steps.
It doesn't matter whether you are trying to find a place in kindergarten or 9th grade in a prep school, start the process a year to 18 months or more in advance. It's not that any of these steps take a whole lot of time by themselves. But completing the process requires lots of lead time.
Plan Your Work
From the moment you ask yourself how you get your child into private school until the much-awaited acceptance letter arrives, there is much to do. Plan your work and work your plan. Keep on top of the tasks and deadlines with this timeline. Communicate regularly with your consultant. Some schools are highly competitive. So be sure your child offers what the school is looking for. Your consultant can advise you on this important point. She knows what schools look for. Always include a safe school in your final list of schools to which you are applying.
Visits and Interviews
Visiting schools is critical. You have to see the schools, get a feel for them and make sure they meet your requirements. Part of the visit will be the admissions interview. While the admissions staff will want to interview your child, they will also want to meet with you. Remember: the school does not have to accept your child. So put your best foot forward. Take some time to prepare a list of questions to ask. Review your notes after the visit and discuss them with your consultant.
Standardized admissions tests are required by most schools. The SSAT and ISEE are the most common tests. Prepare for these thoroughly. Make sure your child gets lots of practice. Make sure she understands the test. Your child will also have to submit a writing sample or essay.
Pay attention to the applications deadlines which are typically mid-January, though some schools have rolling admissions with no specific deadlines. Most applications are for an entire school year though from time to time a school will accept an applicant in the middle of an academic year.
Many schools have online applications. Several schools have a common application which saves you lots of time as you only complete one application which is sent to several schools you designate. Don't forget to complete your Parents Financial Statement(PFS) and submit it as well.
Part of the applications process is getting teacher references completed and submitted. You will also have to complete a Parent Statement or Questionnaire. Your child will have his own Candidate Statement to fill out as well. Give yourself plenty of time to get these tasks done.
Acceptances are generally sent in mid-March. If your child is wait-listed, don't panic. A place might just open up.
If you have questions or need more information about getting into a private school, post a message in the Private Schools Forum or email me.