Your Private School Application Timeline (Here’s how to prepare, step-by-step)
The first step to finding the best private school match for your child is to understand the timing of the process.
Although the timeline varies a bit from school to school, the following schedule is a good overview of what to expect and when to expect it.
- Begin to compile a list of schools that meet your criteria. Request catalogs from selected schools and peruse their websites.
- Take an SSAT diagnostic test. Request a test now!
- Review diagnostic scores to determine if prep is needed and if so, when to start.
- Fill out online applications for the schools you are considering. Begin the financial aid process.
- If you haven’t already done so, attend an open house or go on a tour. (Note: Some schools require an application to be submitted prior to touring the school.)
- Schedule interviews and shadow days.
- Request letters of recommendations.
- Register for the SSAT or any other necessary testing to be completed in December. If you need accommodations, plan about a month ahead to make sure you have all the necessary documentation.
- Submit the candidate questionnaire (usually for grades 7-12).
- Complete the interviews and shadow visits. Send thank-you notes afterwards.
- Complete financial aid forms.
- Final opportunity to take the SSAT.
- Submit applications and send in all supporting documents for schools with December deadlines.
- Be sure all applications, testing, and supporting documents have been submitted. Beat deadlines by a week or more.
- Stack rank your schools.
- Wait for the admission letter, unless the school is on a rolling admission schedule.
- Watch for decision letters, which usually arrive via email early to mid-month.
- Plan revisit days to the schools to which your child was accepted.
- Make a final decision.
- Inform the schools that your child won’t be attending of your decision.
When in doubt about a particular school’s timeline, give them a call directly. Admission departments are always happy to help!
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