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Private School Application Processes

Updated: Jun 5, 2019



So, your child is ready to start school- elementary, middle or high school.

Of course, you are already anxious about the number of steps involved-

open houses, school tours, interviews, testing and more. Application

processes at most private schools are a mystery to most parents

starting to navigate the school system. We all assume testing is a huge part

of that monstrous, scary process. There are, however many things you can

do make the process as smooth as possible for everyone involved.


Ms. Elena Castellanos, Director of Enrollment and Admissions at Gulliver

Schools, explained to us at the annual Miami Schools Conference, “Most private schools in Miami share a holistic approach to accepting your child – that is testing is just a little piece

of it – we know it is a snapshot of one day- there are many things that are

very important to us when making a decision”


Here are a few things Admission Directors consider as well:


1. Academic performance

Your student’s academic performance is a key component in the

admissions decision. The grades communicate your student’s commitment

to study, take part in class, and pursue excellence in academics. The

admissions committee is looking for evidence that applicants are interested

in learning and other intellectual pursuits.


2. Interview

The interview is also a valuable tool to help the admissions committee

make their decision. The questions are most usually about the students’

personal interests outside the school and answers are not as important as

the genuine interest your student shows in learning, both inside and out of

the classroom.


3. Extracurricular activities

Students who are applying to private schools are expected to show interest

in an activity outside of the classroom. These might be sports, music, art, drama, community service or any other activity that interests them. Private

schools expect their students to get involved in an activity outside of the

classroom.


4. Character

Private schools are searching for students who will contribute and be

positive members of the school. They look for students who are curious,

open-minded and care about others. Most Miami schools are interested in

having a supportive and inclusive environment for students. The

admissions committee will also evaluate student’s ability to work well with

other students and teachers based on current teacher comments and

recommendations.


5. Supportive parents

Yes, parents have an impact on the student’s application and acceptance

at private schools. Many schools interview the parents, as well as the

student. They will question your ability to be involved in your child’s

education and partner with the school. In the interview, they will ask

questions about your family dynamic and your willingness to support the

school’s expectations.


6. Standardized tests

Like we mentioned earlier, most private schools require standardized

testing. The two most used independent school tests are the

SSAT or Secondary School Admission Test and the ISEE or Independent

School Entrance Examination. These tests help schools assess language

and mathematic skills which include reading comprehension, vocabulary,

reasoning, mathematical concepts and problems.


7. Applications

Application components include teacher recommendations, the student's

own essay and standardized tests. These components help the admissions

committee determine a student’s academic strengths, and whether a

student needs extra assistance. Some schools might require that your child

take summer or extra work to be admitted to their program later in the

school year.


Parents and students should prepare before applying. If you are informed, then you will do your best and your child will probably be accepted to the school that is right for him or her. The Miami Schools Fair & Conference is here to help you navigate that process. Register in advance and attend our morning long gathering on Saturday, October 5, 2019. You will be able to get an overview of different schools and application processes (private as well as public options), meet with school directors/representatives, get information about the magnet application processes, dual language immersion programs, testing etc.

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