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Timeline for the School Application Process

Our school search process timeline shown below is meant to help you organize the school selection process. You should also note that ideally you begin the application process as early in the year as possible. And remember to be sure to keep on top of all the deadlines!

*Note: January & February can be both the beginning of the process or the end, depending on when you’ve gotten started.

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School Application Timeline

January & February (Beginning the Process)

  • If you are just starting to think about choosing a school, now is a great time to plan the project.
  • At this point, will allow nearly a full year to consider school options, and further develop the student’s skills and abilities to present on school applications/interviews later.


  • Start preparing for standardized tests such as SSAT, ISEE or others; it’s never too early to prepare. SSAT tests are offered several months throughout the year. Try to get the first, second, even third exam completed as early as possible so as not to have to worry about it later! TOEFL exams are offered all throughout the year.
  • Consider options for a school’s summer program.


  • Continue test preparation and any guided courses to better improve a student’s ability and skills.
  • Consider options for a school’s summer program.


  • Register for standardized tests such as SSAT; prepare for and take TOEFL test during summer to help relieve workload when September begins!
  • Identify an education consultant who can guide you through the application process.
  • Work together to compile list of schools which meet your needs.


  • Visit school websites; take the online tours; look at the photo galleries.
  • Meet with your consultant to discuss options and evaluate student.
  • Attend school’s summer program (if applicable).


  • Schedule visits and interviews with schools to prepare ahead of time for September.


  • Confirm school visits.
  • Make travel arrangements; can your consultant assist with travel services?
  • School visits often require a long drive or even plane flights to get there. Coordinating all these visits requires some serious organization.


  • Register for SSAT or other testing; if haven’t already, arrange for test preparation.
  • Complete school visits and interviews (if applicable).
  • Review the application materials and begin completing these important documents. Make a list of any other items which you must include with the completed application.
  • Distribute teacher references and transcript request forms to your current school.


  • Take SSAT and/or TOEFL tests; TOEFL can be completed earlier in the year.
  • Visit schools and do interviews.
  • Review admissions requirements (Deadlines, additional materials, etc.).


  • Take SSAT and/or TOEFL tests.
  • Complete interviews.
  • Review admissions deadlines.
  • Check on teacher references and transcript request forms; ask if they can send no later than December.


  • Take SSAT and/or TOEFL tests.
  • Complete applications.
  • Review admissions deadlines.

*Don’t worry if you do some of these tasks out of the order suggested above. The main thing is not to leave things until very late in the process!

January (End of the Process)

  • Submit applications.
  • Complete financial aid forms.
  • Watch your deadlines. Beat them by a week or more if possible!

February (End of the Process)

  • If the schools you applied to had January deadlines, then relax and wait for the admissions letter.
  • If you are applying to a school with rolling admissions, you need to complete your application so the admissions staff can make a decision.


  • The decision letters for schools with January and February deadlines arrive mid-month.
  • Depending on what’s in those letters, take appropriate action promptly.


  • If you were accepted, then let schools know your decision.
  • Look at your options if the schools which wait-listed your child didn’t have a place.