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:
Updated December 07, 2016 |
5 Admissions Tips for International Students
In addition to complying with all the usual admissions requirements, international students must also obtain a student visa. Here are five tips to help you navigate the admissions process.

If you live overseas and are thinking about sending your child to private school in the United States, pay attention to the following five admissions tips for international students. I am assuming that you are not American citizens or green card holders and that English is not your first language. Many students from countries outside the United States want to attend American private schools. International students make up about 15% of the student population in American boarding schools, according to The Association of Boarding Schools.  

The I-20 Form

Be aware that not every private school is certified by the United States Immigration Service to accept foreign students. Why is that important? Always confirm that the school in which you are interested is a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certified school. If the school is not SEVP-certified to accept foreign students, it will be unable to issue the form I-20 which is the first step in applying for and obtaining a Student Visa from the U.S. Immigration Service.  Once you have received the I-20 from the school which you have chosen to attend, you will pay the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fee. The Immigration Service will not allow your child into the United States as a student without the proper paperwork. If in doubt, ask the school if it can issue the I-20 form. Do not assume anything.

Pay Attention to The Deadlines

Applying for admission to an American boarding school requires that you stay organized

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Updated April 10, 2015 |
The Writing Sample
At some point in the admissions' process, your child is going to have to write an essay sometimes referred to as The Writing Sample. Here's how to cope with that challenge.
At some point in the admissions' process, your child is going to have to write an essay otherwise known as The Writing Sample. Don't be unduly fazed by this requirement. It is simply one more piece of the admissions' puzzle.
 
What is the Purpose of the Writing Sample?
 
Very simple really. All the school wants to do is determine how well your child can express herself in her writing. Many schools will split this part of the application up into a series of questions. On The Madeira School application, for example, she is asked to answer five questions in Part 2.  By the way, Part 2 of Madeira's application is to be completed by the candidate. This is very important. The school wants to hear what your child has to say. Not what her uncle or father has to say. One thing you must never do, no matter how tempted, is to use the services of an essay writing company such as EssayEdge. Most of the time it isn't possible anyway, because the two places where an essay is required are on the SSAT test itself and during the interview at the school. So, put that thought out of your mind right now. The school wants to hear what your child thinks, it wants to see how she writes and all in her own words, not somebody else's.
 
Practice Makes Perfect
 
The secret to writing effortlessly is to practise as much as you can. Encourage your child to keep
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Updated June 10, 2016 |
How To Read The Test Scores
SSAT test scores can be mysterious to most parents. What do they mean? How does the admissions staff use them?
Your child has taken the SSAT. You have received the Scores Report. Now what does it mean? How do you read the Scores Report?
 
How to read the Scores Report
 
You will recall that the SSAT consists of 3 sections:  Quantitative or Math, Verbal and Reading Comprehension. For grades 8-11 each section has a possible 800 points perfect score theoretically allowing a 2400 points total. There is a Writing Sample or Essay but it is not scored.
 
The SSAT uses Percentile Ranks to show you how your scores in each section compare with students who have taken the test over the last three years. A score in the 85th percentile indicates that you are ahead of 85% of other students taking the test.
 
How do schools use the Scores Report?
 
Schools use the Scores Report for several things.
 
1. They want to see if you are prepared to do the work at a private school. Private schools typically expect a high standard of academic work. and there is a lot of it. For example, the typical public school high school Shakespeare class will cover one play a year if it is lucky. A private school English literature class will cover several plays a year. And in great depth and detail.
 
2. Schools are looking for deficiencies in your basic or core learning skills. A brilliant mathematician must be able to read and understand what he is reading. Hence, the SSAT has the Reading Comprehension component. Once your deficiencies are identified
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Updated June 10, 2016 |
What If I Miss The Deadlines?
Finding a school which will accept your child after the normal admissions deadline has passed is not easy. But it can be done.
 
Sometimes things don't go exactly as you'd like. For any number of reasons you find yourself starting theschool search process really late. Perhaps you have been transferred and are suddenly faced with finding a place for your child. It's May and the move is planned for July. You need a place for the fall. And fast. What do you do?
 
Contact the Schools
 
Contact the schools directly and see if a place is available. Phone the admissions department as soon as you can. That assumes, of course, that you know the schools in the area to which you are relocating. But what if you don't? What if you simply don't have time to do all that careful research? The solution is to hire an educational consultant to do the work for you. Consultants know private schools and have the contacts to find a place for a qualified student.
 
You May Be in Luck If There Are Places
 
Back to the original question: what if you have missed the deadlines for entry next fall? You probably will be out of luck when it comes to the most competitive schools. But there are plenty of very good schools which have rolling admissions or no fixed admissions deadline. In other words, they admit qualified applicants as long as they have places for them. The other reality is that no school likes to have empty places. But things do happen. Students are forced to drop out of school for all kinds of reasons. Suddenly a place
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Updated May 25, 2016 |
Waitlisted? What Next?
Being waitlisted is not the end of the world. More here.
You applied to several schools. But your first choice didn't accept you. Instead it waitlisted you. What exactly does this mean? And why do schools waitlist applicants? What do you do now?
 
What does waitlisting mean?
 
Schools typically offer places to more applicants than they have places for on the theory and experience that they will receive enough acceptances to fill all their seats. Calculating the actual yield from the acceptances which they have sent out is something which experienced admissions officers know how to do almost instinctively. For example, let's say the school has places for 100 students. It could send acceptance letters to 100 applicants. But what happens if only 75 of those families accept the places which have been offered? Having 25 empty seats will wreack havoc with any private school's finances.
That's where the waitlisting comes in. The admissions officers know that if they offer a certain number of applicants over the actual number of places which they have available, that they will receive the necessary yield of acceptances. For example, using our hypothetical 100 places available, the admissions office sends out 125 acceptance letters. The admissions staff know that historically they will receive 90-100 acceptances when they send out 125 acceptance letters. But what if circumstances conspire to produce the number on the low end of the yield scale? Say they only receive 90 acceptances? That's where the waitlist comes in to play. The school will send out 125 acceptances. It will
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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.