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.
View the most popular articles in Applications:
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Applications  - Teacher Recommendations and Transcripts
Teacher recommendations and transcripts are an important part of the applications process.
Teacher recommendations and transcripts are an important part of the applications process. They have to be handled according to each school's very specific instructions. They are the evidence the school needs to substantiate and all oral or written statements about your child. These documents are not hearsay or anecdotal. They are professional opinions and records which the school needs to review.
 
Teacher Recommendations

Most schools require your child's current math and English teachers to complete a teacher recommendation form. These are fairly detailed evaluations of your child's efforts and abilities in these core subject areas. They take about 15-20 minutes for the teacher to complete. So be thoughtful and considerate of the current teacher's time by giving him these forms to complete well in advance of any deadlines.

You typically will download the teacher recommendation forms. You complete the information at the top of the form, then hand the blank form to your child's teacher. Be sure to include an envelope addressed directly to the school's admissions office. Stamp the envelope before you give it to the teacher. Remind the teacher to submit the recommendation forms as soon as possible, in any event no later than December 31 for mid-January deadlines.

Note: you waive your right to review or even see what the teacher writes in her evaluation. This information is strictly confidential.
Here are some examples of the forms:

From Miss Porter's:
 
 
 
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Applications  - The Parent's Statement
Part of most school's admissions package is something called the Parent's Statement. We take a look at this document and offer advice on how to complete it.

I wrote this article and its companion article Applications - The Candidate's Statement to explain how to understand and complete these important forms. The problem with these parts of the application is that they require you and your child to express your thoughts in your own words. You won't be able to check any boxes to select from prepared answers.  You will have to write out responses to the school's questions in any way you choose.  David Petersam of Admissions Consultants offers some tips in the following video. While he targets colleges admissions, the advice is quite sound for private high school admissions.

Many schools require a statement from the applicant's parents. After all, you probably know your child better than anybody. The school also wants to know what your concerns and educational objectives are. The goal here is to make sure that everybody's expectations are the same. For example, if you want your son to play on a varsity hockey team and the school offers limited hockey time, you need to deal with that before you decide to send your son to that school. Perhaps your daughter finds math challenging. You will want to point that out so that the school can discuss how it might deal with that concern.
 
The following questions posed by McCallie School and The Hun School are fairly typical of what you will encounter as you prepare your applications.  I will add editorial

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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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They Didn't Accept My Child!
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?

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. Here

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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.
 
 
SSAT's Online Service
 
The SSAT's School Application Service allows you to apply to several schools using the same information. It's as close
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