Applying to private school can seem like a daunting experience if you’re new to the process and just getting started. There are deadlines to meet, requirements to fulfill, and appointments to make. It can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! These quick private school application tips can help you easily break down the process into simple steps that will help you stay on track.
Complete an Inquiry Form
Even if you know a lot about the school you’re applying to already, make sure you complete the inquiry form online. For schools like Milken, this is the first step to applying; once you finish inquiring, you’ll be provided with a login to the site where you can complete your application and keep track of its status.
Know the Admission Deadlines and Apply Early
While most schools operate on the traditional admission deadlines set by the National Association of Independent Schools, others adopt their own set of standards based on regional associations or external affiliations. As a prospective student, it’s important that you know what the private school application deadlines are and mark them down. Don’t wait until the last minute to complete your application, either. It’s always a good idea to apply early, just in case there’s something you need to update or a piece of the process you forgot to complete. That way, you have ample time to ensure that you check off each and every task on your list.
Know What’s Required to Apply
While every school may be different, it’s usually a safe bet to assume that the application process will require several key components. Make sure you know what’s required for admission from the schools you’re applying to, and keep track of what’s submitted and received, in progress, and waiting to be started. Typically, this is what you need to do to apply to private school:
- Complete the Online Application: Student Questionnaire and Parent Questionnaire
- Write an Admission Essay
- Complete an Admission Interview
- Take an Admission Entrance Exam
- Ask for Teacher Recommendations (usually English and Math)
- Submit Transcripts from Your Current School
- Complete Financial Aid Applications
Complete the Full Application Using the School’s Preferred Method
Some schools accept multiple forms of the application, but others are strict when it comes to how you can apply. If the school requires the application to be completed online, don’t print it out and submit it by hand. The school’s admission page will likely also tell you if they accept any form of the private school common application or if they require you to complete their own application. Either way, be sure to look at what supplementary forms are required and the deadlines for those, which may differ. The application typically has short and long answer questions for students and for parents, requiring everyone to participate in the process. Be honest and truthful in your responses; it’s the only way to ensure you find the best private school for you.
Write Your Admission Essay
Most private schools require students to write an essay as part of the application process, and this isn’t something that should be taken lightly. It’s important to make sure that this piece of writing properly reflect your own writing abilities, thought processes, and even levels of creativity. Check out this article with tips on writing your admission essay.
Schedule Your Admission Interview
Every student will likely need to complete an interview as part of the application process. This usually involves sitting down with someone from the admission office where you each get to ask questions of each other to learn more about the school and your ability to thrive in that environment. Some schools interview both parents and students, while others only interview students. For elementary school students, class visits are sometimes used to evaluate a candidate in place of a student interview. Admission interviews don’t have to be stressful though, especially if you’re prepared for what might happen. Check out these 10 questions you might be asked during the interview.
Schedule your Standardized Testing
Scores are submitted to schools fairly quickly today, but you still want to make sure you schedule your test well in advance of the deadline. Some entrance exams may be taken more than once, which means giving yourself time to retake it can be a great idea. Remember, just because there’s a test date available from SSAT or ISEE doesn’t mean it’s a date that will be acceptable to the school where you’re applying, so pay close attention to deadlines. You may also need to travel to a testing site, so planning ahead is important.
Submit your Teacher Recommendation Requests Early
Part of the process for applying is asking your teachers to complete recommendation forms. This is how a private school will learn more about you as a student and your abilities within the classroom. Typically, these are submitted to the school directly from the teachers, and you waive your rights to access the recommendations once they are submitted. Be sure to give your teachers ample time to complete the recommendations, check in with them before the deadlines to see if they need anything from you, and thank them profusely after they complete them. Sometimes, a counselor or school principal will need to complete a form, as well. If a teacher isn't completing the form as quickly as you had hoped, make sure they are aware of the deadlines and ask if there's anything you can do to help; just be sure to not pester them.
Submit Your Transcripts
Most schools require official transcripts to come directly from your school’s registrar. Copies of your report cards typically won’t be accepted, so it’s important to submit the request to your current school with enough time for them to turn around an official transcript to the school you’re applying to.
Complete your Financial Aid Application
If you’re applying for financial aid, make sure you do so well in advance of the deadlines. Schools typically have limited funding available for new students, so a late application can jeopardize your chances of receiving an award. Make sure you complete all the steps within the financial aid process, and always ask questions if you’re not sure what you’re doing.