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.
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.
The Ten Schools Admissions Organization offers a one-stop site for applying to the following schools in the northeast: Choate Rosemary Hall, Deerfield Academy, The Hill School, The Hotchkiss School, The Lawrenceville School, The Loomis Chaffee School, Phillips Academy, Phillips Exeter Academy, St. Paul's School, The Taft School.
SSAT's Standard Online Application
The SSAT's Standard Online Application allows you to apply to several schools using the same information. It makes applying to several private schools a breeze. Downloadable teacher recommendations and lots of help with the application process make this application option a breeze. In addition, you can follow the progress of your applications on the SOA dashboard.
This video entitled Applying Made Easy from the SSAT explains the SOA common applications process.
The tried and true paper application is still available at most schools. While most applications are submitted online, there are some applicants who do not have Internet access. For them the paper application process is the only way to apply. Most schools will have their application package available for download on their sites or you can request an admissions package from the school. Begin completing your paper application as soon as you can. Mail it with a Return Receipt Requested via the USPS or via UPS or Fedex. Send your paper application in at least a week before the deadline.
The other things you need to keep on top of are the Math and English teachers' letters of recommendation. Make sure those have been submitted timely. Don't assume that they have been completed and mailed. In addition, be sure that you have completed the interview and campus visit in good time.
Many schools practice what they euphemistically call 'rolling admissions'. That's another way of saying "We'll stop accepting applicants once all our places are filled." In other words, there are no fixed application deadlines. Rolling admissions works to your advantage in several ways. For example, if you find out that you are being transferred and need to find new schools for your children in the spring, a school with rolling admission might be just the ticket. While a school with rolling admissions may not be as highly competitive to get into as Exeter or Groton, nonetheless, the fit with your child's needs and requirements is much more important than how competitive a school is. As always, seek advice from your educational consultant.
This video explains how rolling admissions work in college. The same is true for private schools.
The best advice anybody can give you is to stay organized! If you have questions or are not sure how to proceed, always call the admissions office of the school concerned. Admissions staff are trained to be helpful and will go out of their way to assist you. Good luck!
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