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The application process

Every private and independent school in Canada has its own application and admissions process so it is best to consult individual schools for detailed information. However, most schools will require at the very least:

  1. A school visit and personal tour
  2. Interview and possible entrance exam
  3. Completed application package with supporting documentation

What you may be asked to submit:

  • Completed application forms (many are now available online)
  • Non-refundable application fee
  • Confidential school report from child’s current school
  • Previous report cards (up to two or three years back))
  • Test scores (depending on your child’s age and the school, it may be necessary for your child to write the SSAT or some other entrance exam)

Many schools have lengthy waiting lists and accept applications more than a year in advance. Some schools may also have application deadlines, so be sure to start your research early. Use our application calendar as a guide.

Many schools also set entrance years such as Kindergarten, Grade 7 or Grade 9 (in other grades, openings only come available if a student leaves), or entrance ages, such as Montessori, which may not accept children after the age of 3, in preschool and elementary school.

You may think the application process is lengthy, but schools want to get a full sense of who your child is before granting admission. They want to ensure that they will be a good fit for your child and your family. When applying to schools, put your child’s best face forward, but don’t try to repackage your child to fit an image you presume will appeal to a private school. The outcome will be that your child is accepted into a school that cannot best accommodate his or her needs.

The Application Decision by the Private School

Schools may have more than just a "yes" or "no" decision. If your child meets the school's requirements but no space is currently available, he or she may be put on a waiting list. If there is insufficient information to make a decision, your application may be deferred and you may be asked to submit additional documentation.

If your child is denied acceptance, it is likely because the school does not feel it is the best fit. It’s recommended you consult the admissions office to understand the reasons. You may be able to strengthen their application for the following year.

Acceptance granted. Now what?

As with other schools, private schools have orientation or welcome sessions for new students and their parents. These will allow you to meet your new "family" and get to know the school better. Some schools match up students and parents with mentors who are long-time members of the school community to help show them the ropes. You and your child are now part of a distinct school environment — participate and experience private school life fully.

—Maureen Murray
Private School Expos
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