Did you know that January is the most important month in the private school admission calendar? Though September feels far away, now’s the time to think about what school will be the best fit for your child, whether your child is starting school for the first time in kindergarten or considering a change of schools for the next grade. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
January 15 is the deadline.
At most private schools, the deadline for admission applications and applications for financial aid is on or around January 15, so January is a key time to visit schools and complete applications. If you’re just beginning to consider a private school option, don’t panic—it’s not too late! Contact the school’s admission office
as soon as possible, and they will help you get the ball rolling. “We’re always happy to help families get up to speed,“ says Beth Whitney, Fay’s Associate Head of School and Director of Enrollment Management, “We know how to streamline the process so that it doesn’t feel overwhelming.”
Don’t let cost be a dealbreaker.
The tuition page on a school’s web page might seem intimidating, but remember that most schools offer financial aid. And if you’re wondering whether you might be eligible for aid, then you probably are!
Schools like Fay are eager to enroll students from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds, and even families who may consider themselves “comfortable” are often eligible for some aid—especially if there are two or more children attending independent school. Financial aid grants can range anywhere from 5% - 95% of tuition. As you begin the process, don’t be afraid to contact the school’s financial aid director directly with your own questions—these experts understand that every family’s situation is unique.
Ask: What’s included?
Speaking of tuition, take a close look at that number and ask: what’s included? If you’re looking at two schools, remember that you might not be comparing apples to apples. Some schools add fees on top of tuition to cover additional parts of the program. Other schools, like Fay, have a “no fees” approach and offer a comprehensive tuition that includes everything, such as meals, athletic gear, school trips, and even morning and afternoon care
See for yourself.
Private school admission offices are in high gear during the month of January, and they are eager to have you learn more about their school. Take advantage of any opportunity to spend time at a school that you are considering. Like Fay, many schools host frequent admission events and offer personal tours, and these opportunities can help students imagine what it would feel like to be a student at a given school.
Use your own parent network.
See if you can find a few parents in your local network who send their child to the school that you’re considering. Ask for their honest input and for the reasons why they chose private school for their child. Conversations with other parents can be a great way to assess whether the school community will be a good fit for your whole family—plus, you may even be able to line up some new friends to carpool with in the fall! If you don't know anyone currently sending their child to the school you are considering, ask the admission office to put you in touch with a current parent. At Fay, we recognize how difficult the admission process is on families, and to help them get a real feel for our school many of our current parents have offered to answer questions and share their Fay experience with prospective families.