Getting into Private School

Here we cover the private school admissions process from the application to the interview. Get information on how admissions works, when and how to apply, and tips on preparing for testing and interviewing. Learn what you should look for on a school visit and questions you should ask during the interview.
View the most popular articles in Getting into Private School:
How Do I Apply?
You can apply online or submit a paper application via snail mail.
Most private high schools have application deadlines of January or February. If you are applying to several schools, make sure you are on top of each school's specific deadlines. Use our Application Calendar to keep you organized. The application process varies from school to school.
 
Application Options
 
Generally you have three options for applying to private schools:

  • Online at the school's web site
  • Online at the SSAT site 
  • Complete and submit a paper application 
Let's look at how each application option works.
 
Applying Via Individual School Web Sites
Not all schools offer an online application feature. But for those schools which have the resources to offer it, you will find the process is straightforward and generally intuitive. Woodberry Forest's is typical. You complete the application, pay for it with a credit card and even download teacher recommendation forms online. How convenient is that? Finally, you can check back as often as you like and see what the status of your application is too.

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Application Calendar
Keep track of all aspects of choosing a school as well as the application deadlines.
Applying to a private school is a process. Try to begin your private school search more than a year in advance of when you actually want to enroll.This will give you enough time to thoroughly research schools and arrive at well-informed decisions about where to apply.This also helps ensure that you have enough time to take care of all the details. Excluding the school visits you are looking at a project which will require more than 100 hours of your time.

If you're a little out-of-sync with the timeline below, not to worry! This is only a rough guideline. While application and testing deadlines are key dates you'll need to follow, families differ in how long they need to explore and evaluate schools.
If you are starting the process late in the game or need help with particular parts of the process, seek the professional advice of an educational consultant.
 
  Application Calendar

             Month                                    Activity
May
  • Begin with a self assessment.
    • List the academic, athletic and extracurricular opportunities you seek.
    • List any academic or athletic goals you wish to achieve in high school.
  • Research a wide-range of private schools.
  • Review your initial list with your educational consultant.
June
  • Create a list of 10-20 private schools to explore further.
  • Divide this list into 3 groups of schools:
    • Schools where you know you can get accepted
    • Schools which are competitive
    • Schools which are very competitive and will be a reach for you
  • Request information from these...
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Getting into Private School

How Admissions Works

The private school admissions process can be competitive. Explore the process, compile your profile and submit your application with help from our tips and tools. Explore the challenges of getting into private school and the most common mistakes made during the admission process.

Applications

An in depth look at the private school application process. From teacher recommendations to the acceptance letter, we’ll explore some of the most crucial aspects of applying to private school. Learn more about when and how to apply, why the deadlines are important and what to do when your child is accepted.

Test Preparation

Standardized tests are a large part of the admission process at many private schools. Here you’ll find information on the most commonly used exams and how to prepare for them. Explore the tests, what the scores mean, and how the schools will use them.

School Visits and Interviews

School visits and interviews are an integral part of applying to private school. Learn why it’s important to visit and what to do if that is not possible. Explore school visit options like open houses and shadowing. Get valuable tips on a successful interview and learn what questions you should be asking.