You've narrowed down your top choices. Next up? Complete the necessary applications for each school.
Though the boarding school admissions process is pretty straightforward, it can become overwhelming very quickly. Juggling applications for multiple schools, figuring out who to contact for financial aid and not knowing who you can turn to for advice can be stressful. That’s why we have it all broken down. From the Admission Process to the Application Process, the Testing Process and Admissions Interview, we’ve got you covered.
Find the Right School For You
Data from previous years, such as student achievement, grades and comments, athletic aspirations, extracurricular interests, social strengths, and the type of school that will be best for you or your child, will shape a short list of schools to which you want to apply. Take all of the information you have and create a list of strengths, weaknesses, likes/dislikes and the kinds of environments in which you or your student will succeed.
Which boarding school is the best? Just like each student, each boarding school is different. There’s no single best boarding school. But there are schools that are best for YOU, the student, based on particular interests, skills and needs. Use the Find a School tool and read the schools’ profiles, go to their websites and use your instinct – your gut feeling – about where you’d like to be. Most of all, be honest with yourself about what really appeals to you. When you find schools that feel best to you, you’re likely to find people like you – other students, friends, who share similar interests, ambitions and inspirations. Your new community awaits you!
A ranking doesn’t matter at the end of the day. The most important thing is digging deeply to determine as best you can if a school fits where your student’s development stands and provides the setting and programs necessary for a successful school experience.
Attend an Information Session Near You
Fairs are helpful for families who are new to boarding schools and perhaps don’t have a full understanding of everything that is expected, provided and learned at boarding school. You’ll see schools from urban, rural and suburban areas and hear about their arts and athletics programs. Parents and students can ask questions about what makes each school unique and what kinds of kids do well there. While interviews with admission officers aren’t part of a fair, you can always follow up and schedule time with them.
Admission fairs don’t replace campus visits, where you can take in the feel, the sights and the atmosphere of each school, but they are a great way to begin your journey!
To see a full list of events, check out our list of Admission Fairs & Events.
Once you have your shortlist of schools that you’re interested in, it’s time to start the application process. That will consist of campus visits, interviews, entrance exams and applications. There’s a lot to do, and we’ll help you stay on track every step of the way.
If financial aid is part of your boarding school admission process, you will be completing a separate financial aid application alongside your admission application. Your financial aid application will require its own work and documentation that can be equal to, or greater than, the admission application. Many schools use the School and Student Services for Financial Aid (SSS) to collect basic information on income, assets, family size and the number of siblings in private schools charging tuition. SSS prepares a Report of Family Contribution – the amount of annual tuition SSS calculates a family can afford to pay. Member schools award their need-based financial aid using the Report of Family Contribution.
The financial aid process begins with the family completion of the Personal Financial Statement (PFS). Create your School and Student Services (SSS) online account through http://sss.nais.org. The online form and tools will tell you what information is required.
SSS offers a list of frequently asked questions about the PFS on their website. To preemptively minimize problems and delays, we recommend reading FAQs before beginning your PFS.
SSS directly transmits data to your selected schools.
Whom to Contact?
Some schools will have a separate officer who handles financial aid applications and requests. If the school doesn’t have a dedicated financial aid officer, someone in the admission office will supervise the financial aid process. Request the necessary financial aid and student application materials at the same time you request your admission application packet.
Visiting Campus - Touring and Interviewing
The majority of boarding schools require an on-campus admission interview. An admission interview can be arranged via the same process used to request a student application packet.
An on-campus interview is one of the most important parts of the application process. While local and/or regional informational gatherings and interviews are helpful and convenient, most schools place a great deal of importance on the quality of a candidate’s interview. The admission officers at each school want to meet you face to face. For more on admission interviews, check out the Application Process page.
Most likely during your school visit you will be taken on a campus tour led by a student tour guide. Usually, the tour is conducted on a one tour guide to one family ratio. Sometimes, one tour guide might lead two families at once. This is your chance to ask questions about student life, relationships, perspectives and activities. How do students feel and think about their school? What’s living in a dorm like? How are the academics, extracurriculars and athletics? How are classes? What’s a regular day like? What do students love about their school? What would they like to see improved? How’s the food? What happens during the weekend? Student tour guides can be great references. Tour guides are students who know and love their schools. That’s why they’re working with prospective families. Ask your questions.
For more admissions information be sure to download the eBook, Mastering the Admissions Process.