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Applying to Private School on Short Notice

Independent schools may not have been considered when this school year began, but times change- and needs change with them- so that by spring and summer you may be thinking about a move. Moving, family concerns, a need for a more personal or structured academic environment- one, all, or another can lead to considering a move into a boarding or independent day school in the spring.

If you are considering such a move, relax. The first thing to keep in mind is that you will have options. You are not alone nor the first to work through this process.

While it is true that the most selective schools are full and have only waiting lists by the spring time, many good schools will have openings and, as a result, they pursue rolling admission programs throughout the summer.

Before embarking on the late application process, families need to know one blunt fact. Financial aid is not available to late applicants at almost every school. The financial aid process concluded and aid was awarded earlier in the spring. Check with each school if you're considering applying for financial aid as part of a summer application.

How to begin my search?
How does a family arriving late to the admission process approach a late spring or summer application? Process is the key. Just as our articles have shown, the usual, systematic approach for the late applicant albeit with compressed and accelerated steps.

The questions to ask are:

"Can we, as a family work through this process successfully and comfortably on our own? Can we reasonably complete each step and will we have enough information to make good decisions? Are we comfortable?"

Families familiar with independent schools may answer, "yes." However, even for a family familiar with private schools, a compressed admission time frame presents problems. "Do we have time to learn about each school? Can we build a complete picture of child quickly? How can we focus on schools that will be good places for our student? We don't have time to waste." Begin by reading AQ's Step By Step Look at the Admission Process. These articles can provide you with a reference backbone for the application process.

Consider an IECA Educational Consultant
Families new to the independent school world, as well as those not completely comfortable with their ability to assess their child should consider working with an educational consultant. A professional consultant can help a family with all phases of student assessment and school planning. Consultant services are not inexpensive, and they can prove crucial when time is of the essence.

Whether working independently or with an educational consultant, using the AdmissionsQuest admission framework can help you confirm that you address the steps in the application process.

The Compressed Application Period
The following is a compressed version of AQ's Admission Timeline:

  1. Know your child and your family. Schools may ask about your late arrival to the admission cycle. Be frank if asked.

  2. Have student information ready. Grades, test scores, and report cards.

  3. Build a profile of your student. In what type of school might your student have the greatest chance of success? What types of schools and activities interest your student?

  4. Consider an academic summer program or another type of growth program to strengthen candidacy and to demonstrate seriousness.

  5. Contact schools that look like good fits. Ask the admission officers about "school fits" and what their opinions are given your student's academic and personal profiles. If not their school, can the office make any suggestions?

  6. Focus on a maximum of three schools and request their application materials.

  7. Contact recommendation authors (teachers, school administrators, etc.). Ask each to prepare a recommendation. Prepare transcript requests.

  8. Schedule campus visits and interviews.

  9. Complete applications and essays. Submit the applications. Follow submitted applications with telephone calls to confirm that each school has all required information.


Even though a compressed time frame accelerates events and decisions, do not shortchange your analysis and information. Breathe, examine each step. Move forward with deliberation.

Through all of the steps, use admission officers, teachers, administrators, and, if using one, your educational consultant as references. These professionals can help you make good decisions as you move through the process.

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Comments

  • please help me with what kind of loan for a prep school before going to college. my son has graudated but want to go to prep school before entering college. I am have a very differcult time find found. I did not evening get finincail aid i was denied. janet greene, July 26, 2009 9:25 PM

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