Timetable and tips for private school enrollment

Planning ahead is key for admission to private schools. Experts advise families begin thinking about it a year in advance.

Enrollment Tips
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Identify a list of schools that meet your criteria and request catalogs. If you choose, hire an educational consultant.

If you are changing schools, listen to feedback about the current school experience to know what’s working and what’s not. Pay attention to what the report card says. –Theodra Washington, managing partner with Metropolitan Educational Consulting Group



Schedule visits and interviews. Register for admissions testing (SSAT, WISC, WPPSI, ISEE) and arrange for test preparation (start about four-six weeks in advance). Review individual school admissions requirements and dates.

The WISC and WPPSI test cognitive abilities. You can’t study or prepare for those.



Visit schools and do interviews (practice interview skills beforehand if necessary). Complete teacher references. Verify admissions deadlines.

Give details in interviews. If the question is “What is your favorite subject,” the answer should go beyond, “math.” Encourage your child to elaborate: “My favorite subject is math. I was in a competition last month …” –Ann Dolin, founder of Educational Connections Tutoring and Test Prep



Complete the interviews and start the financial aid process if needed.

Play up what makes your child spark. If he loves marine biology, emphasize that. “There has to be another besides ‘video games’ to the question ‘what do you like to do in your spare time?’” -Leigh Ann Cahill, director at Independent School Options



Take standardized tests. Complete applications and financial aid forms.

Start the financial aid process early. Most schools accept them later, but the sooner you start the better off you are. –Washington



Submit applications and financial aid forms.

Be ahead of the game. Beat those application deadlines by at least a week to stand out. -Dolin



Decisions sent (boarding school admissions are often a bit later than day school admissions).

Let the schools know your decision. If your child has been wait-listed, examine your options. -Dolin



Your decision has been made. Contracts due, with deposit.



First “big” payment due.