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Independent School Admission Cycle

August (of the year before you’d like to enroll your child)

  • Determine what you’re looking for in a school.
  • Begin researching schools that meet your child’s needs.
  • Develop a list of schools that you’d like to learn more about.


  • Request admissions and financial aid material.
  • Note pertinent deadlines for admission and financial aid.
  • Register for any standardized tests required for admission (each school lists specific admission criteria on its application).
  • If testing is required, review the test website to learn about procedures and test dates; consider purchasing a test-preparation book.
  • Call schools to schedule individual tours, interviews, class visits, and “shadow days.”


  • Visit open houses, attend information sessions, and take tours.
  • Finalize a list of schools to which you will apply.
  • Take standardized admission tests, if applicable.


  • Watch for open houses you may want to attend.
  • Start lining up teacher recommendations from your child’s current school.
  • Start working on applications, financial aid forms, and student questionnaires.


  • Continue to watch for any open houses or school events of interest.
  • Request transcripts at the end of your child’s first semester.
  • Complete any remaining applications.


  • Pay attention to deadlines: Most schools’ applications—along with tests scores, references, transcripts, and financial aid forms—are due in January or February.


  • Don’t miss the deadlines!
  • Visit schools or have your child participate in a student shadow day if you haven’t already.


  • Watch for school decisions starting in mid‑March.
  • Watch for financial aid decisions about this same time.


  • If you’ve applied to and have been accepted by multiple schools, decide which school is the right fit for your child.
  • Sign and return enrollment contracts and deposits.


  • Attend events and activities for new parents and students during spring and summer.

© 2017, National Association of Independent Schools. Reprinted with permission.