Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

January: Lets Apply!

Late to the admission process? Here are some items to consider when researching & applying to prep schools.

Remember that this is something of an ideal admission calendar. Some families, for many reasons, will arrive at the admission process later. Don’t worry. Ignore the dates, refer to our earlier articles and reference pieces at, work with the admission professionals at your chosen schools (they will be the best guides for later applications), and most importantly, remember and follow the process. You may have to complete some steps quickly, but don’t rush.

The Application Foundation You should have a picture and an understanding of yourself (student) and of your child (parents’ perspective). We called this “knowing who you are” in our last installment. The data from previous years, such as student achievement, last fall’s semester grades and comments, athletic aspirations, extracurricular interests, social strengths, and the type of school and where you want to attend, should have shaped a short list of schools to which you want to apply. Repeating part of a paragraph from our last installment; There is a private school for everyone. The trick is finding the match—the right balance of academic, social, athletic, and extracurricular challenges for each student. Do your homework. Read your admission materials. Research your possible choices. Ask questions and listen to admission officers and students when you visit schools.

If you’ve had trouble researching schools or difficulty finding schools that fit your student profile, we recommend seeking professional expertise from an IECA educational consultant. An IECA consultant can help you with all phases of the admission process. Visit to learn more about the value of an IECA educational consultant and to find one in your neighborhood.

By now, you should:

1. Know yourself. The kind of student you are and what kind of school fits your strengths, interests, aspirations, and goals.

2. Have contacted the admission offices of all the schools to which you wish to apply. Have a list of the contact numbers and addresses ready and have started scheduling visits and interviews.

3. Know who will write recommendations on your behalf.

4.Have admission packages from the schools to which you may apply.

5. Have taken, or are scheduled to take, the SSAT.

6. Have visited, or plan to attend, any boarding school fairs in or near your home.

7. Parents: If a financial aid application is in the offing, have financial documents organized and ready.

Build on Your Admission Foundation
It’s time to put your planning and admission foundation to work as you prepare and file applications to your chosen schools. Some of your potential schools may be members of AdmissionsQuest. You can apply to these schools on-line through Now we turn to the:

AdmissionsQuest Step-by-Step Look at the Application Process
STEP 1- Request an Admisison Packet
Whom to contact?
All correspondence should be sent to the attention of each school’s admission office.

Tip #1
Director of Admission, Dean of Admission, or Assistant Headmaster for Enrollment Management are the three most commonly used titles to identify the person in charge of the admissions office. If you don't know the name of the appropriate contact person, simply address your inquiry to the "Attention of the Admissions Office." No one will be offended if you don't know the name of the person in charge.

What to request?
Call, write, fax or email the schools in which you are interested and request that their admissions packet be sent to you. Also, look at their web site. They often provide useful information that can assist you in your search.

Tip #1
Be sure to request that the complete packet of admissions and application materials be sent to you at the same time. Many schools segment their mailings, which can delay the time it takes for the mailing to reach you.

Some schools will express mail admissions and application materials to students who live outside the US. Inquire to see if this service is available.

What will you receive?
In general, the materials that you will receive from each school will include:

School Catalog
A colorful brochure filled with lots of pictures and articles that describe the school and its programs.

International Student Handbook
Many schools will have a handbook that describes the special services available to international students.

Student Application Packet
The student application packet will often include a student application, a writing sample form, teacher recommendation forms, and an academic transcript release form.

Required Educational Tests
Most schools will require the Secondary School Aptitude Test (SSAT). Schools also require the Test of English as a Foreign Language for all students for whom English is a second language. Some schools also require international students to take the SSAT. Additionally, schools require all standardized achievement tests used by your current school.

Deadlines and Dates for Admission
Most schools will list two important dates. The first is the application deadline. This is the latest possible date that the school will accept applications from prosepective students. The second is the admissions notification date. This is the date by which all candidates for admission will be notified if they have been accepted or denied admission to the school.

STEP 2 - Scheduling an Interview
Whom to contact?
The majority of private schools and colleges require an on-campus admissions interview. An admissions interview can be arranged via the same process used to request a student application packet.

Tip #1
If you live a great distance from a school in which you are interested, many institutions will help arrange an interview with a local or regional admissions representative. In many cases, these representatives are alumni or alumna of the school.

STEP 3 The Interview
Why is an interview important?
An on-campus interview is one of the most important parts of the application process. While local and regional informational gatherings and interviews are helpful and convenient, most schools place great importance on the quality of a candidate's interview. The admission officers at each school want to meet you face-to-face.

Tip #1
Interviews work both ways. While it is important for a admissions officer to meet you, it is equally important for you to visit the school, meet with students, observe classes, and get a general feel for the school.

Tip #2
Don't schedule several interviews in a single day. Actually, we advise students to schedule only one interview a day. Take your time. Enjoy your visit. See all there is to see; it’s important.

What to wear?
Because the interview is one of the most important elements of the application process, personal impressions should be a priority. My best advice is to dress appropriately. For some candidates, that means wearing a suit or a sport coat for males or an appropriate dress or dress suit for females. Good grooming is important.

Tip #1
It is always best to be yourself. However, that doesn't mean wearing a tye-dye shirt and ripped jeans. Don't be worried about expressing your own style and personality through the way you dress. Be respectful. Remember, this might be the school you want to attend.

What to bring?
Ask each school before your interview what materials they would like to see. Most schools are only interested in meeting you during the interview; however, it is helpful if a candidate arrives prepared with a portfolio. The portfolio should represent a special interest, such as painting, writing, music.

Tip # 1
Always carry an extra copy of your transcript in case the person interviewing you doesn't have it in advance of your meeting.

STEP 4 - Financial Aid
Whom to contact?
Some private high schools, and most colleges or universities, will have a separate officer who handles financial aid applications and requests. This information, along with the necessary financial aid and student loan application materials, should be requested at the same time that you request your admission application packet. See the AQ Financial Aid section for more information.

Tip #1
Applying for financial aid can be a stressful experience. Request information early and be sure to contact each school's financial aid officer with any questions.

STEP 5 - Submit Your Completed Application
Most schools will have a clearly published application checklist included with the school catalog and application materials. This check list will include all deadlines. While many schools encourage students to complete the entire admissions process by the 1st of February, be sure to check deadlines with each school.

Tip #1
Many schools have rolling admissions, which means the admissions office will inform you of their decision as soon as you complete and submit the application materials.

Leave us a comment



URL (do not precede with 'http://')

Leave us a comment!

Enter the contents of the image shown below

Comment Rules

Connect with AdmissionsQuest on:

Twitter Twitter iTunes iTunes
Facebook Facebook Facebook YouTube
Vimeo Vimeo Flickr Flickr
Request a School Catalog
Listen to the Boarding School Podcast

Prep School Articles

Visit a photo gallery

Boarding School Visits

A tour of boarding schools visited by AdmissionsQuest.

Boarding School Visits

Cushing Academy