So, what do you do? Do you push? Do you flaunt your wealth? Do you try to impress with your social pedigree? What about sending the school a first-choice letter? Will that help? Do you have the CEO of a Fortune 100 company write the school on your daughter's behalf? Do personal recommendation letters really help? For the answers to these questions you need to look at the private school admissions process and understand how it works.
Understand the Admissions Process
- On the grade
- On the school
- On the academics
- On financial aid requirements
If you have been accepted
Schools will give you a date by which you must accept or refuse the offer of admission. Acceptance requires the return of the acceptance forms together with payment of a deposit for next year's tuition.That is usually 10% of the fees. So, for example, if next year's tuition is $25,000, you will need to return the acceptance forms with a payment of $2,500. If you applied for financial aid, you will also receive a letter detailing the terms of your financial aid package.
It is very important to read all the materials which the schools send you and deal with them immediately. You have a limited window of opportunity in which to respond. If, for some reason, you do not reply to the acceptance letter, the school will most likely give away your child's place.
What if the financial aid package is not enough?
It is possible that the financial aid award letter will contain some perplexing news. You may have required $15,000 in aid and the school is only offering $10,000. What are your options? Discuss your situation with...
Most schools require your child's current math and English teachers to complete a teacher recommendation form. These are fairly detailed evaluations of your child's efforts and abilities in these core subject areas. They take about 15-20 minutes for the teacher to complete. So be thoughtful and considerate of the current teacher's time by giving him these forms to complete well in advance of any deadlines.
You typically will download the teacher recommendation forms. You complete the information at the top of the form, then hand the blank form to your child's teacher. Be sure to include an envelope addressed directly to the school's admissions office. Stamp the envelope before you give it to the teacher. Remind the teacher to submit the recommendation forms as soon as possible, in any event no later than December 31 for mid-January deadlines.
Note: you waive your right to review or even see what the teacher writes in her evaluation. This information is strictly confidential.
From Miss Porter's:
From Shattuck-St. Mary's:
From McCallie School
- What do you hope your child will accomplish at McCallie?
- From what activities does your child derive self-confidence?
- What are your child’s strengths and weaknesses? (Please comment on social characteristics: e.g., self-reliance, sense of humor, ability to mix, shyness, assertiveness, etc.)
- Include any particular concerns of which the school should be aware: e.g., Has your child experienced any difficult challenges or personal setbacks in recent years? Are there any medical conditions of which we should be aware?
- Has your child had any psychological or educational testing?
- Does your child regularly take any prescription medication?
- Does your child's health limit or interfere with the normal performance of everyday activities, including class work, athletics, or other duties?
- Please make any additional comments about your child which you feel may be helpful to us.