School Search Timeline

While each school follows its own schedule, here is a typical admissions timeline.  View or download the checklist as a printable PDF.

August (of the year before you want your child to attend)

  • Define your ideal school
  • Find schools that match your child’s needs
  • Research and ask questions of schools on your preliminary list

September

  • Attend local school fairs to gather material and impressions from multiple schools
  • Browse schools’ websites to learn more about their programs and philosophies
  • Request admissions and financial aid material by phone or online
  • Review admissions materials to determine which schools to visit
  • Create a calendar of pertinent admission and financial aid deadlines for the schools to which you are considering applying
  • Ask elementary schools about their test schedules and make appointments
  • Register for any standardized tests required for admission
  • Review the test websites to learn about procedures and test dates, see sample questions, and purchase test-preparation books
  • Call schools to schedule individual tours, class visits, interviews, and “shadow days”

October

  • Continue scheduling tours, interviews, class visits, and standardized or school-based tests
  • Visit schools during open houses, attend information sessions, and take tours
  • Finalize the list of schools to which you will apply
  • Take required standardized admission tests

November

  • Continue scheduling tours, interviews, class visits, and standardized or school-based tests
  • Continue to watch for open houses you may want to attend
  • Request teacher recommendations from your child's current school
  • Start working on applications, financial aid forms, student questionnaires, and essays

December

  • Continue to watch for any open houses or school events of interest
  • Request transcripts at the end of your child’s first semester
  • Complete applications, questionnaires, and essays

January

  • Pay attention to deadlines: Most applications are due in January or February, along with test scores, references, transcripts, and financial aid forms

February

  • Don’t miss deadlines: Most schools’ applications are due in February at the latest
  • Visit schools and/or have your child participate in a student shadow day

March

  • Watch for school decisions starting in mid-March
  • Watch for financial aid decisions
  • If your student is accepted by multiple schools, decide which school your child will attend

April

  • Sign and return enrollment contracts and send deposits

May to September

  • Attend events and activities for new parents and students