1. Research in the fall – there are so many schools to choose from, and taking time to do some online research will help narrow down the list of schools to apply to. Your new school will be your child’s new “home away from home,” so you’ll want to make sure you visit the schools you are most interested in to make sure you and your child feel comfortable in the space. Be sure to schedule time in your calendar for school tours. These are often hosted in the morning hours during weekdays, though some schools may host an Open House on the weekends.
2. Select your finalists and submit applications. For most independent schools, the application is just the first step in the admissions process. Depending on the age of your child, you may also need school records and a teacher recommendation, as well as an in-person visit with the Admissions Team.
3. Prepare your tax documentation (if you plan to apply for financial aid). These documents are usually due in January or February if you want to be considered for aid or flexible tuition in the coming school year. Schools may request tax returns from the previous year as well as recent pay stubs, a 1099 or 1040 form.
4. Start your financial planning. Independent or private schools are a financial commitment for most families, and knowing in advance how much you’ll need to prepare to pay (deposits, quarterly or monthly payments) can help as you prepare for the coming year.
5. Prepare to choose! You may end up with multiple acceptance letters by early March. Be sure you have spent time reflecting what you value most in a school and go with your gut! Sometimes it’s the people more than just the specific programs or extracurriculars. Keep in mind the people you meet along your admissions journey are the ones who will be with your children daily!