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.
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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 August 23, 2017 |
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
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Updated September 22, 2016 |
First Choice Letters and Personal Letters of Recommendation
Getting your child into a competitive school is a tough assignment. Don't let the many challenges overwhelm you. There is a simple solution.

The competition for places at some private schools is intense. When a school receives hundreds of applications for a hundred available seats, that indicates a very competitive admissions situation. If your child is applying to a competitive school, what do you do to ensure success? The school admissions staff isn't going to be much help. Indeed more often than note, it will be sphinx-like about letting you know whether your kid stands a chance or not. Money is not an issue. You can afford the fees and all the extras. This school would be ideal for your daughter because you know that the school does an excellent job of getting its graduates into the best colleges and universities. You and your daughter were both impressed with the facilities, programs and the general feel of the campus when you visited. The admissions staff were professional but warm and friendly, as was everyone else you encountered during your visit.

 

So, what do you do? Do you push? Do you flaunt your wealth? Do you try to impress with your social pedigree? What about sending the school a first-choice letter? Will that help? Do you have the CEO of a Fortune 100 company write the school on your daughter's behalf? Do personal recommendation letters help? For the answers to these questions, you need to look at the private school admissions process and understand how it works.
 
Understand the Admissions Process
 
Admissions to any private school seems

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Updated May 26, 2016 |
Is It Too Late to Apply?
Starting the admissions process and getting into a private school in late spring and early summer is a challenge.

"Is it too late to apply?" is a nagging question many parents find themselves asking. The circumstances vary, of course, but typically you find yourself deciding in late winter or early spring that either you want to or have to get your child into a private school for the coming fall. Feeling that your child will be better off in private school is a circumstance which gives you the luxury of a flexible schedule. On the other hand, if your organization plans to relocate you, then finding a new school for your children becomes an urgent matter. Time is probably not on your side. 

A friend of mine was facing the first situation. She was not happy with her child's public school. Therefore, in January, she and her husband decided to see if there were a place at a local private school about which she knew and of which she thought highly.  It turned out that the school did have room, subject to the standard testing and formal admissions process. My friend did have to meet deadlines to complete her child's admissions portfolio, but she did not have the pressure which the second scenario of finding a school in a new city or country entailed.

The just-announced job transfer makes finding a private school in a hurry an absolute necessity. The resulting pressure is enormous. After all, you not only have to uproot and move your family, you have to find a school for your children as well.

So, are you indeed

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Updated May 26, 2016 |
Admissions - The Acceptance Letter
The desired result of taking the admissions test, visiting schools and submitting all that paperwork is to receive an acceptance letter. Here's how to handle this part of the admissions process.
The final step in the process of choosing a private school is dealing with the acceptance letter. These letters are typically mailed in mid-March for schools which have a January 31 (or thereabouts) deadline for applications. If the school has rolling admissions, you will receive your acceptance letter or an offer of a place at the school once your admissions file is completed and a decision has been made.
 
If you have been accepted
 
Schools will give you a date by which you must accept or refuse the offer of admission. Acceptance requires the return of the acceptance forms together with payment of a deposit for next year's tuition.That is usually 10% of the fees. So, for example, if next year's tuition is $25,000, you will need to return the acceptance forms with a payment of $2,500. If you applied for financial aid, you will also receive a letter detailing the terms of your financial aid package.
 
It is very important to read all the materials which the schools send you and deal with them immediately. You have a limited window of opportunity in which to respond. If, for some reason, you do not reply to the acceptance letter, the school will most likely give away your child's place.
 
What if the financial aid package is not enough?
 
It is possible that the financial aid award letter will contain some perplexing news. You may have required $15,000 in aid and the school is only offering $10,000. What are your options? Discuss your situation with
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