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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

The Application Process has a lot of moving parts. There’s a lot to take in, process and organize. It can be overwhelming, and we hear this frequently. Enter your email below to download our helpful eBook, Mastering the Admissions Process. It will help you stay organized and on track through the application process.

Download it now to stay on track, meet crucial private school deadlines and anticipate next steps all in one concise document you can easily print.

Download Our Application Checklist


Each school will have their own 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, but many schools have their own timetable. Check each school’s admission timeline in their published materials.

Many schools have rolling admission, meaning that students can apply throughout the year and the admission office will inform you of the decision shortly after you submit your complete application.

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.

To complete the Standard Application Online (SAO), start here.

To complete the Gateway to Prep Application, start here.


You may want to stay in touch with the school admission office throughout the application process. 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 your recommendations and transcripts have 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.


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 essays 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. They need to see the student, not the parent.

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.

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.