Getting into Private School
The documentation required by international or non-United States students has always been extensive. As I have pointed out many times, if you are not an American citizen and are living outside the United States of America, and you wish to attend a boarding school in the U.S., you need to start the process at least 18 months in advance of the date of your first class. See the College Application Timeline on International Student for a detailed timeline. While the article discusses how to apply to American universities, the process is the same for students applying to American private K-12 schools
What is being adhered to more strictly is a policy which dates back to the Obama administration. This policy requires that applicants for U.S. visas furnish their social media usernames. U.S. Requiring Social Media Information From Visa Applicants in the New York Times gives an overview of the changes. An update to the Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records was published on September 18, 2017. Specifically, it adds the following clause: "Social media handles and aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results"
This video discusses how the US Border Patrol now requires all immigrants to provide social media logins and passwords, phone records going back 5 years, and other details.
How does this impact your child's student visa application? It means that your child will have to furnish the handles or names which he uses on his Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp,
The SSAT is probably unlike any test your student has ever taken. That’s because it’s designed to find the best students in a large pool of excellent students. The SSAT’s questions are significantly different—in their difficulty and their content—from questions on other standardized tests, to the point that your student isn’t even expected to know everything that’s on the test! This means that, in order for your student to have the best chance at getting a score that’ll help them get admitted to their school of choice, they’ll need to prepare for the test.
There are a lot of test prep options out there, from tutoring, to books, to online services. We’ve compiled a list of 5 of the best test prep options we’ve found. But first, here are some things to consider before choosing a prep solution:
- How does your student learn best? Some students learn best in a self-paced program where they are in control, while others may benefit from the more rigid prep plan that a tutor or a class can provide.
- Where are you now, and where do you want to go? It’s important to have an idea of your student’s score goals, and to know where they stand at the beginning of the preparation process. That means taking a full-length test that provides scores and quality feedback, and comparing that performance to where they need to be. If you don’t know what score your student needs to aim for, check out the target scoring information that
There are many reasons why a private, independent, or boarding school could be the best option for your student. They typically offer thrilling academic challenges, extensive STEM or arts programs, or other remarkable resources. Their student-teacher ratios are excellent, and faculty may have advanced academic degrees and strong professional reputations. While only about 10 percent of students attend private schools nationwide, private school admissions is selective and competitive.
To help distinguish applicants, private schools use standardized testing. The admissions process, especially for those migrating from public to private, can be an eye-opening experience. The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) and Secondary School Admissions Exam (SSAT) are the most commonly used admissions tests for private, independent, and boarding schools. The High School Placement Test (HSPT) is often used by Catholic schools for entrance into grade 9.
The ISEE and SSAT are long multiple-choice tests lasting 2-3 hours and potentially covering above-grade-level content. For the 4th grader applying to private middle school, this might the first time they have undergone two hours of solid testing with only one or two short breaks. The best starting point is always to have your student take a full-length diagnostic test. It’s important to know where your child is starting from so that you can help them get to where they need to be.
ISEE & SSAT Similarities and Differences
Start by looking at the websites of your target schools or giving the admissions offices a quick call to
Editor's Note: I am most grateful to Kate Fisher, who is an expert in admissions essays with Noodle Pros, for explaining how to handle the inevitable essay portion of your child's private school admissions application. ~Rob
If your child is applying to a private middle school or high school, he or she will likely have to write an admissions essay. It is important to remember that this is not a college admissions essay, which means that the standards used to assess your child’s writing ability are lower. However, this also means that it’s much easier for admissions officers to quickly identify essays that a parent, teacher, or tutor has had too heavy a hand in.
It is extremely difficult to disguise adult involvement in an essay that is supposed to be written by a child applying to middle school or high school. You may feel uncomfortable allowing your child to submit his or her essay without reading it over. If you choose to help him or her by proofreading or editing it, remember to make sure the language, syntax, and sentence structure remain age-appropriate. No private school admissions officer expects a rising sixth grader to write as well as an award-winning novelist, let alone a college-educated adult.
The best way to ensure the success of your child’s admissions essay is to show how to choose the right essay. Most private schools ask applicants to choose one prompt from a list of several. Helping your child brainstorm which topic to write about