8 Tips To Navigating The Private School Admissions Process

The Private school admissions process starts the day after Labor Day. To get a head start, you need to begin preparing for your child’s admission much before this date. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the process.

1. Have an open and honest talk with your partner

Both partners need to be fully involved in the admission process of their child. Sometimes, one of them might be fully excited about getting their child admitted in a private school, while the other may not be as enthusiastic or well-informed about the process. In such families, the whole admission process can be a stressful experience since there is no agreement between the partners in the first place. So you first need to ensure that you and your partner both have the same level of commitment, expectations and enthusiasm towards securing an admission for your child in a private school. Sit together and honestly share your goals and aspirations as well as your apprehensions and fears until both of you agree on the route that you wish to take.

2. Make a Commitment of your Time

You would have to commit your time towards achieving the goal that you have set for your child’s education. Be prepared to spend a lot of time writing personal essays and completing the application forms of schools that you wish to apply to. Once the admission process begins, you would have to attend open houses, parent interviews, child interviews and school tours. You need to allocate time for all these activities. Learn more about each school through their website and other literature to have a better understanding about the admission process. Knowing about the school’s philosophy and their values will help you decide which school will be the most appropriate institution for your child’s academic and personal growth.

3. Make a Financial Commitment

Money is a factor when applying to private schools. You need to properly plan your finances to accommodate this expense. There is a standardized testing procedure that the independent schools require for admissions. This assessment is administered by the educational records bureau. There is a fee associated with this assessment. Some schools may reduce or waive the application fee and you may also apply for a fee reduction for the child assessment if the cost poses a financial burden on the family. Financial documentation will be required for this procedure. If your family is applying for financial aid, you may be required to pay a fee to process your child’s financial aid application.

4. Get Your Documents in Order

If you are requesting financial aid for your child’s education, then both partners need to provide at least three years of tax forms and W2 that shows your income. If you are divorced, separated or another partner is actively involved in raising your child or financially contributing to your child, then their tax information is also required. Schools want to be able to assess the total contribution that a family can make towards their child’s education. So having all the relevant documentation readily available will make it easier for you to provide this information when it is requested of you.

5. Communicate with Your Child’s current Pre-school

During the admission process, a private school might need to communicate with your child’s current Pre-school to get clarifications on your child’s application. If they are not aware that you are currently seeking admission in private schools, it could be awkward for you and for them if they are hearing about this for the first time. So it is good to inform the Director of your child’s current preschool that you are seeking admission in other private schools.

6. Provide Correct and Complete Contact Information

Make sure that you provide correct and complete contact information on each application form. Your home phone number, as well as work place and cell phone numbers should be specified accurately. Clear all previous messages from your answering machine so that schools can leave a message for you when you are not at home. Create a new and separate email address exclusively for school admissions so that important emails from each school do not get mixed or lost among personal and casual mails. Enter the email address correctly in the application forms and check your email regularly. If you are on social networks, enable your privacy settings to hide your profile. You don’t want your admissions Director looking through or reviewing your profile.

7. Promptly call the day after Labor Day

Thousands of parents will be calling in on the day after Labor Day to get applications from schools. Many schools start taking in calls as early as 8 am. Phones line can become quite busy on that day. Be persistent and keep trying until you get through. You would have to repeat this process for each school and therefore be mentally prepared for this. Have a pen, notepad, a few sheets of paper and a calendar handy. Having these at your disposal can make your conversations effective, short and to the point. You can also note down all the important information during your calls.

Provide the right information to each school during your calls. To avoid confusion, write down your full name, your spouse’s full name, your complete address, your regular phone number and an alternate number. Also write down your child’s full name, your child’s gender, date of birth, and the name, address and phone number of your child’s current school. These are some of the particulars that you would have to provide during each call. Having these particulars written down will help you provide the correct information every time.

8. Use Technology to Your Advantage

Many schools are going green and offer you the option of filling your applications online. They also provide parents with inquiry forms which they can use to request information from the school. Staying in touch with the school online, well before the admission process starts can give you an advantage over other parents who rely only on traditional methods for contacting the school. Most private schools have a comprehensive website that provides detailed information about their admission processes. Go through each school’s website and gather as much information as possible.

Following these powerful steps can help you get organized and approach the admission process in a more methodical and systematic manner. This will go a long way in giving your child a head start in the admission process.

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