Applying to schools: expert advice

Insight experts on applying to schools

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At first, applying to private school can seem overwhelming. But by being prepared and knowing the items below that are expected, it will be an enriching experience that helps you learn more about your child and family.


Submit applications early:

Once you’ve made your school choices, don’t put off applying.

Be open to options:

Don’t pin all your or your child’s hopes on one particular school. Your child would likely prosper at more than one school and several schools might be an appropriate fit for your family.

Look beyond the bells and whistles:

Consider whether they are important to you. Riding stables or a skating rink may be impressive, but are these your child’s interests?

Be realistic about your child's academic abilities:

Don’t push them into a school where they will feel overwhelmed.

Be honest and upfront:

Don’t withhold pertinent information about your child. The goal is to ensure his or her needs can be met at the school.

Don't stress out your child about the entrance exam:

Be prepared to deal with less than stellar results and remember most schools will consider more than just test scores.

Be clear about what you want:

If you are not prepared for your child to be assigned two hours of homework a night, don’t sign up for a school where this would be expected.

Ask about extracurricular activities:

These are an important component of many private and independent schools. Find out the level of participation expected and consider how this suits your child.

Find out what's expected of parents:

Expectations vary and you want to be comfortable with the level of involvement and type of contribution.

Ask lots of questions:

Admissions officers expect and welcome them, so go in with a written checklist.

Inquire about financial assistance if this is a concern:

Bursaries or other financial support might be available.

—Maureen Murray
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