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:
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
. . .read more
You thought everything was set. The test scores were excellent. She had glowing teacher recommendations. The visit and the interview went well. But the school didn't accept your child. What do you do now?
 
A private school does not have to accept your child. Nor does it have to give you any reason why it has refused your child admission. How can this be? Surely there must be some federal or state laws which govern the situation? There is no legal recourse because private schools don't take public funding. They pride themselves on their independence. They admit who they choose for whatever reasons they decide are best.
 
Most of the time parents find themselves in this frustrating situation because they thought they could chose a private school for their child by themselves. Of course technically you can do it. You can also write your own will or buy a house without consulting an attorney. But would you? Should you? Do you trust your limited knowledge of private schools? That is why you need to hire a professional educational consultant. A consultant offers you a wealth of experience for a very modest fee. While she can't guarantee that your child will get into a particular private school, a consultant knows private schools. He understands the process, knows who to call and the questions to ask.

So unless your father endowed the school or was its first headmaster, don't take a chance. Seek and pay for the expert advice you need.
. . .read more
Many Roman Catholic high schools don't use the SSAT or ISSE admissions tests as part of their admissions requirements. For instance, Roman Catholic high schools in the Archdioceses of New York and Brooklyn/Queens administer the Test for Admission Into Catholic High Schools or  TACHS.
 
Elsewhere in the country you will find the Cooperative Admissions Exam (COOP) or the High School Placement Test (HSPT). What the admissions staff are looking for is readiness for high school level academic work. The tests are generally given in the late fall of grade 8.
 
Diocesan and archdiocesan high schools generally admit most of their new students from elementary schools within their own dioceses. (A diocese is a legal territory and entity under the control and jurisdiction of a bishop.) Consequently, most of the students have been educated to certain standards which are well-known within that diocese. Standardized tests are not necessary in order to develop a student profile. That profile is already well-known. as well, the teachers and principals of the diocesan elementary schools themselves are known quantities. That being the case, it is simply a matter for the admissions office to identify any marginal performers and decide on those applicants. The testing per se has already ben done.
Many people find the admissions process to private schools intimidating, confusing, complicated and, perhaps, a tad invasive. "Why do they have to know so much about me?" is the question which keeps popping up as you peruse all those admissions materials.
 
The truth is that admission is more than test scores and a faultless transcript. The school wants to get to know you as much as possible. Who are you? What subjects do you like? What sports do you enjoy? What is your favorite pastime? Behind all those recommendations and test scores is a real person with dreams, aspirations and hopes. A private school wants to encourage you and help you be all you can be.
 
What Are They Looking for?
 
The admissions staff are not looking for geniuses or stars. If you have good math grades and  think that you might like to explore math in depth, a private school can make that happen. Maybe you want to play hockey on a really good team. Again, the right private school can make that happen. But you will not find the right school for you unless you open up and lay all your dreams and aspirations on the table. Once you do that, the admissions staff can begin to explore all the possibilities with you.
 
One of the great things about private schools is that they encourage excellence and a well-rounded person. You don't have to be afraid of what others will think if your passion is solving quadratic equations. If you are
. . .read more
You have spent many hours selecting schools online. Some of the schools' web sites were so good that you almost felt as though you had explored every corner of their campuses. You watched videos of classes, sports and extracurricular activities. So, what more could you possibly need to know about the schools? After all you have identified three or four to which you want to apply. That's the next step in the process, right? Not exactly. The next step is for you to visit those three or four schools on your short list. You really have to set foot on each campus. By the way the schools will insist on meeting you and your child in person as well.

Here is an example of what I am talking about. This excellent video presents Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault, Minnesota and its fine campus and programs in the best light possible. But you still need to visit the school and truly experience all it has to offer.
 
 
Visit schools on your short list
 
Don't skip visiting the schools on your short list. Why? Because you need to inspect the campuses yourself. It's like buying a house or renting an apartment. A web site and a video will not show you what you really need to see. Professionally done photo galleries and videos are no substitute for experiencing the school. All of those videos and photos are produced and positioned to present the school precisely as it
. . .read more
View Pages:<<Prev  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  Next>>
Recent Articles
Why Would I Want to....
Why Would I Want to....
Many parents tend to dismiss the idea of sending their children to private school without exploring it in depth. We explore this and several more related subjects.
So Many Choices
When it comes to choosing a private school, there are so many choices to consider that the project can be a huge challenge to most of us. We offer some help and advice to help you get started.
What About a Foreign Language School?
Sending your child to a foreign language school makes good sense when you have been posted to this country from abroad and in other circumstances as well.
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.