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.
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Updated May 26, 2016 |
 Don't Forget These Admissions Deadlines
Getting into a private school is a time-consuming process. We look at the various deadlines involved.
Getting into a private school is a time-consuming process. There are many details to keep your eyes on. In particular you need to keep your eyes on the calendar and all the deadlines set by the various admissions departments of the schools to which you are applying. Most of the time you will be applying to two or three schools depending on the grade level your child will be entering. This further complicates the process because you will most likely end up watching three or more sets of deadlines. The best advice which I can offer as you deal with applying to schools is to begin the process as early as you can. Do not put things off until the last minute. 
With the objective of helping you prioritize all those deadlines let's look at the most important ones.
The admissions fixed deadline
What I mean by a fixed admissions deadline is that your child's application must be submitted and completed by a date certain. Most private schools have their fixed admissions deadlines occurring on January 31. Some schools position their admissions deadlines a week or two earlier. The issue with fixed admissions deadlines is that you simply do not want to miss them. This is particularly true when you are applying to a selective school which was far more applications than it has places for. If your application is submitted after the fixed deadline, it will more than likely be placed in a pile with the other late applications. These might
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Updated August 23, 2016 |
Why Should I Send My Child to Your School?
There are many reasons why you would want to send your child to a particular school. Let's examine the main ones.
In Why Should I Admit Your Child? I looked at the admissions process from the school's perspective. We discovered that schools were looking for specific criteria in their applicant pool. They wanted to make sure that any student they admitted was capable of doing the academic work. They also wanted to make sure that applicants would be a good fit for the school.
Now let's turn the tables and look at the question from a parent's point of view. There are many specific reasons why you would want to send your child to a particular school. You also want to make sure that the school is a good fit for your child. Let's examine the principal items on your school selection bucket list.
The school offers the amount of financial aid I require.
For most of us financial aid is at the top of the list. It is a top concern when it comes to selecting a private school. Whether you need everything paid for or just a bit of help to make attending private school viable for you and your family, you need to calculate the amount of aid you need. Then be very clear with the schools which you have on your short list precisely what your financial requirements are. Laura Volovski explains what is involved.

Completing the Parents' Financial Statement as soon as you can before the end of a calendar year will help immensely. That data is sent
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Updated June 13, 2016 |
Applications - Principal/Head/Counselor Recommendation Form
Most schools require confidential recommendation forms as part of the application process. The forms coming from your child's current school and teachers need to be handled according instructions given in the admissions materials.

Recommendations from your child's current head of school or principal or guidance counselor are an important component in your child's private school admissions portfolio. Why? Because they give the admissions staff an assessment of both your child's abilities and her accomplishments by someone who has actually taught her. Strong recommendations from professionals who know your child can make a difference. So can weak recommendations. Professional recommendations made by a private school employee are confidential. You will probably never see what the head of school wrote about your child. Neither will the admissions staff reveal that information. On the other hand professional recommendations made by a public school employee are a different matter which I shall explain below. While this video approaches recommendations from a college applications perspective, much of it applies to the private schools admissions process.

Are there special forms to be used?

Recommendation forms typically are completed and submitted by your child's current principal or head or guidance counselor directly to the admissions departments of the schools to which your child is applying. As noted at the beginning of this article, they are an important part of the applications process. 

These recommendations should be handled according to each school's very specific instructions. They are the evidence the school needs to substantiate all oral or written statements about your child. These documents are not hearsay or anecdotal. They are professional opinions and records which the school considering your child's application needs to review. They complete an

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Updated May 26, 2016 |
Why Should I Admit Your Child?
Why should I admit your child? We examine some of the things needed to get into private school.
Why should they admit your child? Admissions to a private school is not a beauty contest. Neither is it a forgone conclusion that just because she offers most if not all of the things the school is looking for that your child will get in. With that in mind let's examine some of the things a private school admissions director will be reviewing and considering when he reviews your child's admissions folder.
1. Your child's file is complete.
While you would think this is simply common sense, there are many parents who leave things to the very last minute. If we have a deadline posted for submission of applications, we have it posted for a reason. Yes, we are aware that some of the schools to which you are applying do not have admissions deadlines. They have rolling admissions. Each private school sets its own admissions requirements and deadlines. It is your responsibility to keep track of those requirements and deadlines.
Failure to meet the application deadlines without a really good, compelling reason will generally mean that we will put your child's file in the incomplete category. In other words, we cannot make any decision until we have everything in the file. Test scores. Teacher recommendations. Academic transcripts. The complete application. The works. All applicants are treated in the same way.
2. We met you and your child.
Whenever it is practical, we expect you and your child to visit the school. We want to meet you. We want you to experience our school
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Updated October 20, 2016 |
Applications - The Candidate's Statement
Among the many forms which you must complete when applying to private school is something called The Candidate Statement. Here's what it is involved in preparing this document.
There are tons of forms to fill out when you apply to a private school. Whether you do it online or by hand, you still have to give lots of thought to what you and your child are writing. This is especially important when it comes to The Candidate Statement. Let's look at a couple of schools' forms and see what they require.
Chatham Hall calls its Candidate Statement an 'Applicant Response' and specifies up front that the form is "To be completed by the Applicant without assistance." That's true of just about every school to which you will apply. The school wants to get to know each applicant. It wants to understand what makes her 'tick'. Absolutely resist the temptation to guide or correct your child's answers on this form. The admissions staff will know if you 'fix' things anyway.
Chatham Hall wants to know about your child's activities. It asks whether she rides or not and if she plans to ride at the school. Most schools with equestrian programs will want to know if the applicant is a rider. There are several more questions which are fairly straightforward. Then comes the essay. Your child must choose from three questions or prompts. Her answer can be as long or short as she wishes. What are they looking for? They want to see if she can frame a thoughtful response to the question she has chosen. They want to know if she can organize her thoughts
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