It's a nagging question many parents ask themselves. You suddenly decide in late winter or early spring that you want to get your child into a private school for fall. Or perhaps a job transfer makes finding a private school in a hurry an absolute necessity. So, are you indeed too late?
It depends. Let's look at some of the reasons why you may be too late and some reasons why you still may have time to get your child into private school on short notice.
- On the grade
- On the school
- On the academics
- On financial aid requirements
Which grade are you trying to get into? It is normally really difficult to find a place in a good nursery or pre-school by April or May. But call around. If they will entertain your application, perhaps you can be put on a wait list.
Kindergarten, 6th grade and 10th grade are the major entry points for private school. Finding places will depend on the availability of places. The only way to know if a school has a place is to call. If you are lucky, the school might have a last minute cancellation or withdrawal. Or better yet, the particular grade you are seeking to find a place in was not filled. That can happen. Especially in tough economic times. Most schools need full classes in order to balance their budgets. If your budget is based on 15 children in grade 8 and you only have 11, you will be much more receptive to accepting late applications. Private schools call this rolling admissions. It's a polite way of saying that they are open for applicants until all places are filled.
If you are thinking about a selective school, forget it. They have plenty of applicants on their waiting lists and always fill places from that pool. The SSAT has a list of schools which are currently considering applicants. Always worth a look.
What kind of academics?
Academics are pretty important. Mainstream schools expect a high standard because the academic curriculum is intensive and demanding. Especially if you are in a college prep school. If your child can offer good test scores, great transcripts and excellent recommendations, she will enhance her chances for late admissions immeasurably. Assuming, of course, that there is a place.
Unfortunately, in most schools, financial aid will most likely be out of the question for a late admission. Why? Because financial aid is usually dispersed on a 'first come first served' basis. Consequently, applicants who met the set deadlines or were ahead of you in a school with rolling admissions will be the ones considered for financial aid.But ask any way. You never know and it never hurts to ask.
Are you too late? It depends. In the meantime, good luck.