Proctor Academy (NH, USA)
Consider this the starting line on your journey to finding the best private school for your family. We’ll be your guide, providing valuable insights and tips to navigate the admission application process every step of the way. Applying to private schools can be a time-consuming process, but with our assistance, you’ll have all the information you need to make informed decisions. Let’s begin by exploring the timeline below, which outlines the typical admissions cycle for North American private day and boarding schools.
The admission timeline outlined below represents the standard process for private schools in North America that have fixed application deadlines. It begins a full year before the enrolling school year. However, please note that deadlines and requirements may vary by school, and some institutions now offer rolling admissions.
You can start researching private schools at any time, but it’s recommended to narrow down your list by early fall. After identifying potential schools, visit their websites, follow their social media accounts, and engage with other parents to learn more about each institution. Additionally, VNIS Education can connect you with schools that align with your preferences, saving you valuable time during the research process.
Completing an inquiry form on a school’s website is an excellent way to demonstrate your interest in applying and request further information. Although submitting an inquiry form is often optional, we encourage you to complete this step as soon as you’re comfortable engaging in admission conversations. By reaching out to the school early, you’ll have more time to establish a relationship with the admission team, giving you an advantage over families who enter the process later.
Interviews, Open Houses, & Tours
Attending school visits, open houses, and tours provides an opportunity to interact with faculty, administrators, and current students. These events allow you to observe classes, participate in admission interviews, and gain insights into the school’s environment. Your attendance at these events sends a strong signal of your family’s interest in the school, which can positively influence the admissions committee’s decision-making process.
Private school admission applications typically involve multiple steps, beginning with an online form that collects essential information about your family and requires the student’s essay. Completing this form often grants you access to the school’s online admission portal, where you’ll find detailed information about application requirements and deadlines. To simplify the application process when applying to multiple schools, consider using the Standard Application Online (SAO), a common application accepted by over 400 participating schools. This streamlined approach saves time and effort.
Transcripts & Teacher Recommendations
Before requesting transcripts from your current school, check if the schools you’re applying to have specific forms for this purpose. It’s crucial to track individual requirements accurately, as they may vary across schools and grade levels. For elementary school applicants, the requirements usually include a parent statement and general recommendations from the principal, guidance counselor, or teacher. Middle and upper school admission requirements typically involve subject-specific recommendations from English and math teachers, along with personal and special interest recommendations. To ensure teachers have sufficient time to provide thoughtful assessments, make your requests early but not too far in advance. Early to mid-November is generally the ideal time to submit recommendation requests.
Testing and Assessments
Students applying to grades three and higher, particularly middle and high school, are commonly required to take a standardized test, such as the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT). The SSAT assesses verbal, math, and reading skills. It can be taken either as a computer-based test at home or a Prometric test center, or as a paper-based version. Lower elementary grade students typically complete an academic assessment with a school official instead of taking a standardized test. International students may need to take additional tests, such as the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System), or the Duolingo English test. It’s advisable to practice and take the SSAT early in the application process to allow time for retakes if necessary. Many students take the test once in the spring and again in the fall, leading to significant score improvements.
Application deadlines vary among schools, but mid-January is the most common timeline in the United States. Canadian schools often have deadlines around October 31 or early November. It’s essential to be aware of the specific deadline for each school you’re applying to and ensure all required documentation, transcripts, and recommendations are submitted on time. We recommend marking these dates on your calendar and keeping them visible to stay organized.
Financial Aid Applications
Private school tuition assistance comes in two forms: financial aid and merit aid. Financial aid is awarded based on a family’s financial need and the available funding at the school, while merit aid is granted based on academic or community achievements. Most schools start accepting financial aid applications for the following school year on October 1. To assess financial need, families must provide detailed financial statements and supporting documents, such as W2s or foreign tax returns for international applicants. Application deadlines for financial aid may differ from those for general admission, so it’s crucial to meet the correct dates. Financial aid decisions are independent of admission decisions but are usually released around the same time to help families make informed enrollment choices.
Admission decision letters from U.S. private schools are typically sent in March, although some may arrive as early as late February or as late as April. In contrast, Canadian schools often provide decisions in November. Nevertheless, exact dates can vary based on grade levels or rolling admissions. After receiving admission offers, families are usually given two weeks to a month to make their final decisions and submit enrollment contracts. Revisit days, organized by schools, are invaluable opportunities for families to experience the school environment firsthand and ask any remaining questions. Make the most of these events to gather additional information that can aid in your decision-making process.
In conclusion, the U.S. private school admission application process can be complex and time-consuming. However, with careful planning, thorough research, and our expert guidance, you can navigate this journey successfully. Remember to stay organized, meet deadlines, and take advantage of the resources available to you. Best of luck as you find the best private school for yourself!
Source: Understanding the Private School Application Process (admission.org)