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Understanding the boarding school application process is important, no matter what school you decide to attend.

Understanding the boarding school application process is important, no matter what school you decide to attend.

Application Process

Each school will have a clearly published application checklist included with the school catalog and application materials. This checklist will include all deadlines. Generally, schools encourage students to complete the entire admissions process by the first of February. This is not a hard and fast date for all schools. Many schools have their own timetable. Confirm each school’s admission timeline using their published materials.

Lots of schools have rolling admission, in which the admission office will inform you of the decision shortly after you submit your complete application.

To complete the SAO Application, start here.

 To complete the Gateway to Prep Application, start here.

Early Admission

A few boarding schools now offer early admission. Applying through an early admission program often requires your completed application by about the end of November and a commitment to attend the school if accepted. Make sure that you know the terms and guidelines if you apply under early admission terms.

Ongoing Correspondence and Communication

A thank-you note after your interview is always a good idea. A couple of weeks after the application deadline, you might also call to make sure that all recommendations and transcripts arrived. Follow-up questions and inquiries are usually best directed to the admission officer with whom you interviewed. Most likely, this is the officer handling your candidacy in the office.

Most schools don’t like denying students admission. If you are really worried about getting in and you can’t wait until the notification date, some schools will tell you what they think about your chances for admission. The admission officer handling your candidacy is most likely to provide you this information.

Tips for Writing a Successful Independent School Admission Essay

Admission essays are often the most challenging part of the entire admission process. Not only do students put a lot of pressure on themselves to write the best essay of their lives, parents also stress about the tone and volume of these essays. The most important thing to consider is that they need to be written by the student and sound like the student.

Our advice is twofold:

  • Write honestly and in a conversational tone. Don’t embellish experiences, stick to the truth.
  • Students need to write their own essays. Admission officers can tell in a heartbeat if an essay has been edited by a parent. There’s nothing more frustrating for an admission officer than reading a student essay that clearly has too much parental input.

We know from years of experience working with families that parents often struggle to stay out of the applicant’s writing process. If you’re a parent, please resist the urge. If you’re a student, be confident in your writing ability and ask your parents to simply proofread your essay for clarity.

At this point, it may feel like you’re swimming in the independent school admission deep end. There’s a lot to take in, process and organize. It can be overwhelming, and we hear this frequently. Stay organized, download our calendar and checklist, and you’ll find the best school for your child before you know it!

Download Our Application Checklist

Tip for you

  • What to do if you live outside the United States

    Some schools will express-mail admissions and application materials to students who live outside the US, If you live outside of the US, inquire to see if this service is available.

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