5 Tips to Help Navigate Mid-Year Admissions

Posted by Lauren Van Tol on 12/17/20 12:34 PM

If you find yourself looking for schools and you’ve missed the standard admissions deadline, you’re not alone! Mid-year or late admissions are not only a viable option but a situation that many families (even the most well-prepared) find themselves facing. In fact, many schools have rolling admissions throughout the year for just this reason. Even though you’re applying mid-year, it’s still important to take your time and do your research while deciding on a school. Make sure you get to know the community and the campus and take time to build your child's confidence throughout the process to ensure a good fit.

Whether it be a family move or discovering your child’s current school isn’t meeting their needs somehow, there are many reasons you may be considering a mid-year switch. Whatever the reason, finding a school in a hurry can be extremely stressful for both you and your child. Let's look at some tips on navigating the mid-year admissions process to keep stress at a minimum, and maybe have some fun getting to know some fantastic schools along the way!

5 Tips for Mid-year Admissions

  1. Have an Idea of What You’re Looking for No one knows your child like you do: their personality, strengths, weaknesses, and everything that makes them unique. You know what makes them tick and gets them excited, as well as the values that are most important to your family. Keep all these things in mind while you’re looking at schools. What are your must-haves? What are you looking for in a school community? Do your research and come up with questions to ask to help you get to know the schools and if they’re the right place for your child (and family). Is diversity important to you? Perhaps extracurricular offerings or student-teacher ratio? Maybe time spent outdoors or homework policy. It’s important to ask about the school’s educational philosophy to make sure it aligns with your family’s wants and needs.
  2. Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out. The admissions office is there to be your partner and help you navigate the application process. They will be able to share invaluable information about the school and community to help you determine if it will be a good fit for your child. Informal calls are also a great way to find out about availability and the school-specific process for mid-year admissions. Admissions offices are used to talking with parents about all sorts of unique situations, including switching schools mid-year, so don’t hesitate to pick up the phone.
  3. Be Upfront. If there’s a reason that you’re unhappy with your current school, or it’s no longer a good fit for your child, keep that in mind when looking for a new school. Think about what your child needs. Do they need extra support in writing? More outdoor time? Smaller class sizes? Do they have a diagnosis that you’re looking for the school to partner with you in addressing? After nailing that down, think about what the schools you're looking at do well and what support they can offer to ensure your child’s success. And be sure to share these insights with the Admissions Office--the more they can get to know your child, the more they can help determine the right fit and ensure that the school will set your child up for success.
  4. Consider Your Timeline. Once you’ve decided on the schools you plan to apply to, make sure to work backward from the date you need to make the switch if you’re under a time crunch. Many application steps must be completed before you can make that move. Generally, these may include the following:
    • School Tours: Tours are a great way to get to know a school and get a feel for the community.
    • Testing: This may be required and should be one of the first things on your ‘To Do’ list once you begin to consider a mid-year school switch. Check the schools’ websites to get an idea of what test is required for the grade level in which you’re interested. Generally, those could be the WISC-V, WPPSI-IV, or the SSAT. Although there are many testing sites in the area, it may take several weeks to schedule an appointment and another few weeks for the report to reach the school, so try to schedule your appointment first thing when time is of the essence!
    • Parent Interview: The parent interview is an opportunity for you to ask more detailed questions about schools, to share information about your child, and for schools to get to know your family.
    • Student Visit: Getting to know your child during the student visit is an important part of the application process and a way for them to get to know the schools.
    • Supplemental Materials: Be sure to leave enough time to request recommendations and prior school records. Teachers and school offices are busy, so it’s always good to give them plenty of notice when requesting student records and recommendations.
  5. Think about Applying for Financial Aid Although many independent schools may have rolling admissions and welcome mid-year applications, financial aid usually has a separate and more strict deadline, which may limit your options. Why is that? Schools usually make financial aid awards in order of application. This means that those who applied before the financial assistance deadline will be considered first or earlier in the year. However, there's no harm in checking with the admissions team.

Even though mid-year admissions can be stressful, following these tips can help make the process as painless as possible for your child and your family.

Photo by Maxime Perron Caissy from FreeImages

Looking for a school for your child?

Lowell School is an independent school in the Colonial Village neighborhood of Washington, DC, that offers Pre-Primary, Primary, and Middle School programs. It offers a rigorous and hands-on curriculum that nurtures each child’s natural curiosity and desire to learn, and supports the development of individual voice and self-reliance. For more information, please call 202-577-2000, email admissions@lowellschool.org, or follow Lowell on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Topics: Private School Admissions

Lauren Van Tol

Written by Lauren Van Tol

Lauren has a BA in Afro American Studies and Human Development from Howard University and is currently pursuing an MA in Contemporary Communication from Notre Dame of Maryland University. Before coming to Lowell Lauren spent many years working in administration and outreach at DC-based nonprofits and schools. She holds a Certification in Admission & Enrollment Management from the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals.