Your Private School Application Timeline (Here’s how to prepare, step-by-step)

By Ann Dolin | Private Schools

Jul 10

private school timeline image 1The 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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(2) comments

Freddi Brown September 14, 2017

This is great! We are currently going the the process now.

    Ann Dolin October 19, 2017

    Thank you Freddi! Feel free to reach out and let us know if you have any questions as you start the preparation process.

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