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A Parent’s Timeline for Researching and Selecting an Independent School

Photo credit: Berwick Academy

Although not every independent private school follows the same admission schedule, this timeline provides a rough outline of what to expect.

August (*the year prior to enrollment)

  • Think about the type of school and location that are of the most interest to your family.
  • Begin researching schools. Find It and aisne.org are great resources!
  • Speak with friends, family, and neighbors about schools they know well.


  • Contact your short list of schools to request admissions and financial aid materials, and to schedule visits and tours.
  • Make note of the key application deadlines for each school.
  • Register your child for any required standardized tests.


  • Visit open houses, attend school fairs, and take tours.
  • Finalize a list of schools to which your child will apply.
  • Take standardized admission tests, if required.


  • Continue to visit open houses and speak with friends, family, and neighbors.
  • Check aisne.org for open community events at schools of interest.
  • Gather teacher recommendations from your child’s current school.
  • Start working on applications, financial aid forms, and student questionnaires.


  • Continue to check aisne.org for open houses and school events of interest.
  • Request current school first semester transcripts.
  • Complete applications.


  • Pay close attention to deadlines during this time. Applications, test scores, references, transcripts, and financial aid forms for most schools are due in January or February.


  • Participate in school visit days.


  • Expect school decisions to begin arriving in mid-March.
  • Watch for financial aid decisions during this same time.


  • Decide which school is the right fit for your child.
  • Sign and return enrollment contracts and deposits.

May through September

  • Attend new parent and student activities in preparation for beginning the school year at your child’s new school.

For more information about independent schools in New England, visit aisne.org or search our Find It database.