Private School Vacancies and How to Apply Late

Tips to help you apply for the last few spots available

private school vacancies - openings at private school
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It's summer time, which means it's time to start thinking about back to school, and for some families, that means deciding if it's finally time for a change of schools. But are there any private school vacancies for last minute applicants? The answer is yes, but you're going to need to do some research and work fast. Here's what you need to know.

Get ready to hear "no"

Some schools are closed for applications by now, it happens.

So, you may hear a "no" when you ask about the potential for private school vacancies. Don't let that stop you completely, though. Remember, that a "no" that comes before you have even applied, doesn't necessarily mean you're not qualified to attend the school; it simply means there are no openings at this time. If you ask about openings by grade level, you might find that one particular grade is full, but another is not. While most private schools frown upon students skipping a grade, some schools will consider reclassifying a student to a lower grade if it makes sense for the student's situation. For example, poor academic performance in previous years or a student who is simply young for their grade might warrant a reclassification, which could help you take advantage of openings at private school.

On the other hand, if a particular private school is the school of your dreams and it isn't accepting applications, then you need to consider if it might be best to simply wait a year to apply - just be sure to start the application process a lot earlier to increase your chances of acceptance!

 If you're applying to schools in the summer any way, it's not a crazy idea. You are basically starting the admission process early now if you want to consider enrollment for the following school year. Talk to the admission office about what might be the best plan for you. If you're willing to switch up your dream school options, you can surely find other openings at private schools.

 

Call and speak to an admission officer

Getting the details on if there are openings and what you might need to do if there are, is usually a task done best over the phone. But, first do some homework. Certain schools will post right on their website that applications are no longer being accepted. Unless this is truly the school of your dreams and no other school will do, move on to another school that still has an open application. Once you've found an open application, then you can call and see what availability may be there. You can easily find the number for the admission office on a school's website, so give a call. If you can, try to speak to the director, who usually knows the situation for enrollment the best. If they say no, there are no spaces, be sure to ask about waitlists and mid-year enrollment opportunities, to see what your options are when it comes to applying. If there are spaces available, make sure you ask about deadlines and requirements. 

Don't expect financial aid or merit scholarships

Financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first served basis usually, which means applying after the initial deadline drastically reduces your chances of receiving a financial aid package or merit scholarship.

Schools that offer full scholarships or even free tuition to families who qualify for need typically fill those spaces within the first round of applications, and if not, they are usually snatched up by waitlist applicants. If you need financial support, you should probably wait to apply for private school in the fall for the following school year. However, if you can afford the private school tuition without financial assistance, you're more likely to make a late enrollment happen, if you qualify for admission and there are spaces available. 

Be ready to talk about why you're looking late

Schools want to know why you're making the change, and if they happen to uncover a reason that you're not sharing, that can hurt your admission chances. Whatever your reason may be looking for private school vacancies now, the most important thing is that you own it and be honest.

If you simply didn't think of it until now, that's fine. Say so. Perhaps the thought of returning to a school where you've been bullied in the past is starting to get to you, and you need a change. Say so, many private schools pride themselves on providing safe learning and living environments for students.

Maybe you're realizing that you need more academic support than you had at your previous school. Say so, and talk to the admission office about how that school might be able to help you improve your grades. If you're in high school and your grades are low and you're not sure you're going to get into a competitive college, you might even consider reclassifying at a private school, which will give you a chance to master your academic studies in a supportive environment. Private schools are open to hearing your experiences, and they want to help you to the best of their abilities.

Sign up for the required testing now

Most private schools require the SSAT as part of the application process, and getting those scores in pronto will be a crucial part of the application. Look at if there are any testing dates and locations near you and sign up, even before you confirm an application. It takes time to process results, and not having a required part of the application process could affect your eligibility for admission. If you've taken the PSAT, SAT, or ACT before, grab a copy of those scores and see if the admission office might accept those in place of the SSAT. 

Get in touch with teachers for recommendations

Another part of the application process is teacher recommendations, which can be a challenge to get over the summer. Start reaching out to your math and English teachers in particular - those tend to be the two required teacher recommendations - and see if they are willing to write a recommendation for you on a quick turnaround. As soon as you have the forms from the schools you're applying to, or a common application form, get them to your teachers right away. Be sure to check with them regularly to see if they have any questions.

 

Apply ASAP

Some schools require an application to be completed before inviting students to interview, so be sure to fill out your application as soon as you know you want to apply. Just because you apply, doesn't mean you have to accept an offer, so don't feel like an application locks you in. You still have time to decide if the school is right for you. On the flip side though, don't rush the application. I just mean, don't wait to complete it. The longer you wait to apply, the lower your chances of getting accepted. Take your time and answer the questions to the best of your ability. Be open and honest about your situation (good, bad, ugly, and great) because it tells the story of who you are and why you and your family would be an ideal match for that private school (yes, families matter, too).

Schedule a visit to campus

This is often a requirement with the admission process, especially if the applicant is in elementary school. These observation sessions are crucial in determining how your child might fit in at the school, so take it seriously. Even if it's not required to have an in-person observation session or interview, visiting campus is a great way to experience what life at the school might be like, and get in front of the admission officers to make a great impression.

If you're a middle school or high school applicant, showing who you are as a person is a great way to connect, and might increase your chances of getting accepted. Before you arrive, be sure to ask if you can can some of the facilities that most interest you. If you're an athlete, you might want to see the gym, a particular field, or even meet a coach. If you're an artist, you might want to check out the studio spaces and what equipment is available for use, or meet an art teacher. Asking in advance of your actual visit is crucial, as some schools don't put all of these stops on a typical tour. When a campus spans 100-acres or more, the chances of seeing the entire school in one visit are pretty much zero. Planning in advance helps the admission team to determine if they can accommodate your requests, and prepare for them. Sometimes, additional modes of transportation, like a golf cart or an actual car, need to be acquired to make a visit to a back field, equestrian facility, or off campus hockey rink possible.