It’s back-to-school season! Kids and parents alike are excited to meet new teachers, master new routines, and settle in to an exciting new year of learning and growth. Even while you’re adapting to this latest school year, it’s important to have an eye on the future and begin preparing for the private school admissions process.
At Admit NY, we believe that admissions is best tackled by planning far in advance and familiarizing yourself with the process before deadlines begin to creep closer. With that in mind, review this list of private school admissions tips to get a jump-start on your preparation! These tips apply to elementary, middle, and high school private school admissions processes.
The most important step you can take to destress the admissions process is to stay organized. Checking and rechecking deadlines, rushing to visit the last available open house, and chasing down necessary documents hours before the application is due - all of those harried and annoying steps can be avoided with a good organizational system.
Check out this free resource to get started on organizing your applications - note the schools on your list, your application login info, open house dates, testing requirements, and more. Use File -> Make a Copy to duplicate and fill in your own!
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Every private school uses a different application, which is hosted on either their own website or on the application hub Ravenna. Now that applications have launched for next school year, take these first steps:
Step One: Research each of your schools of interest to find out which application system they use. This information can almost always be found by visiting the school’s website, clicking on “Admissions,” and clicking on “Apply” or “Apply Now.”
Step Two: You’ll be taken to the application portal and invited to create an account. Go ahead and create an account now to save time later - create a username and password and save that information somewhere safe so you can access it easily in the coming months.
If you’re sure that you want to apply to a school, you can get even farther ahead by submitting Part 1 of the application. Part 1 usually asks for simple background information, like educational history, family history, and contact information, which should be simple to submit. Note, however, that some Part 1 applications request parent statements, which require additional time to draft before submitting. In any case, the sooner you submit Part 1, the sooner you can gain access to an interview, so it’s advantageous to submit as soon as possible. Not every school has a Part 1, but if you school of interest does and you're positive that you want to apply, start drafting that statement!
Many schools have released fall Open House dates, which should be posted on the school’s website under “Admissions” or “Events.” Many require registration, so fill out the form linked on the school’s website. These events are not required, but we highly recommend that you attend an event if you haven’t visited a school before. These events are important in developing your understanding of the school’s philosophy and fit with your family. If you can’t make it to any admissions events, don’t worry - you’ll have an opportunity to see the school during interviews, so you’ll still be able to learn more.
Essays are a crucial component of the private school admissions process, and we’ve found that the best application essays and parent statements are the product of time. Therefore, we recommend that students and parents get started on essays far earlier than necessary to remove the pressure of drafting excellent responses within only a few days.
To get started, visit your schools’ applications, copy the parent statement and student essay prompts, and paste them into a blank document. These documents can be used to start brainstorming essay ideas, start writing anecdotes, or hopping into a full draft. It’s best to draft your essays in a separate document - typing directly into the application risks losing your work or submitting an unfinished draft.
Review the “Admissions” section of each school’s website to double-check which standardized tests they require for students of your child’s age, such as the AABL, ISEE or SSAT. Then, register your student for appropriate testing as soon as possible to get the test on the calendar. Don’t forget to check if your student is eligible for testing accommodations, and register for those if applicable.
After taking these simple first steps, you’ve put yourself in a much better position to tackle the private school admissions process. Don’t forget to reach out to us if you need any assistance - we provide customized guidance for each and every one of our families, and are prepared to partner with you to achieve your admissions goals.