Yay! Today is the deadline for all the high schools Dai Bee is applying to. Sometimes this process is more demanding than applying for college. Anyhow, glad it’s over and now we’ll just sit back, relax and wait. It’s out of our control at this point. We should know by mid March.

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Here are a few tips I can share:

  1. Start early – last year when Dai Bee was 7th, I’ve researched about schools through talking to parents, and/or read reviews online. By end of 7th, I have a short list 8-10 of schools I wanted to see. Because as soon as 8th grade starts, schools are ready to offer dates for tours, test dates, student interviews, parent meetings, etc. I need to jump on it right away.
  2. After touring the schools on my list with Dai Bee, we (he and I) discussed about each and every one and narrow down to 4-5. TIP: When I tour the schools, I took notes (recorded on my phone) for every school to remember what I liked/disliked about the school. This is helpful especially when I (parent) fill out one of the most common questions on the application – “why do you think our school is a good fit for your child?” 
  3. The application process, as you can see, entails more than just filling out an application. It requires parent and student applications, testing, collecting documents from school, etc. Luckily now, many independent private schools share the same hub, so the child doesn’t have to fill out the general questions however many times.
  4. Some of the applications have pages and pages. It can be an overload for the child, especially some require extensive writing. So we would take 30 mins every weekend to work on it, bits and pieces. That way,  it doesn’t seem too overwhelming to do everything at once. Again, start early, because he/she may need time to edit as he/she go.
  5. Schools won’t allow to set up student interviews if the parent application is not submitted/paid. So again, start early in order to save a seat for the interview (which in some schools is mandatory).
  6. Once he knows for sure the schools he wants to apply, I suggest send transcript request forms from your child’s schools and math/english teacher recommendation request forms. This gives the teachers and counselors ample time to complete. At Dai Bee’s school, it’s hard to get a recommendation letter from his school counselor since they don’t interact much. Hence, his school counselor gave him a questionnaire to tell her more about him. This may take time going back and forth. Again, start early.
  7. In parochial schools, the child takes the HSPT and for independent schools, he/she takes the SSAT. Dai Bee didn’t study for SSAT. I signed up a time slot and he just took the test (cold turkey). The child can take the SSAT as many times as the child wishes, just pay $127 each time. He/she might want to take it early fall, so he/she can retake if scores are not as satisfactory. However, it’s 4-hour test, so a bit draining if he/she has to take it too many times.
  8. The final step is the student interview (which should have set up by now). Basically the school wants to know the kid a bit more. It’s very casual meeting one on one with questions like how do you like the middle school, his/her interests, etc. The tip I got from the admissions director is have the child be him/herself.
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