Mrs. Mariotti's tips for applying to private school

Ask An Admissions Director: 4 Tips on Applying to Private School

It’s that time of year again! Private day and boarding schools have opened their online applications and admissions offices across the country are eagerly awaiting their new batch of applicants for the 2017-18 school year. No doubt, it is an exciting time for students who are beginning this journey, but it also can be a little scary. There are so many forms to fill out, events to attend, tests to take, that it can feel like a never ending process, but Mrs. Mariotti, the director of admissions and enrollment management at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy has some surefire tips to make applying for high school a little more manageable, and perhaps even a little bit fun!


1. Make a List of Private Schools.

You may have one “dream” school in mind, but remember that the admissions process at private schools is highly competitive. Even if you are an awesome student, a great athlete, a talented artist, and a leader, you may not be accepted to your first choice school. There are many factors that go into admissions decisions that are beyond your control, and it is always a good idea to have some “back-up” schools in mind. Determine what is most important to you and narrow down a good list of three to five schools that match up with your passions and interests.

2. Visit!

If it is possible before you submit your application, visit the schools in which you are interested. This shows the school that you are serious about them and it also allows you to make sure you really feel like the school is a good fit for you. Most private schools have events on campus which allow prospective students to get a glimpse of their unique offerings and programs. You will likely have a tour with current students, peek into some classes, and sometimes even get to have breakfast or lunch in the dining hall. Whether it is an open house, a visiting day designed for eighth graders, or an invitation to a performance, be sure to seek out opportunities to really get to know your list of private schools and ask lots of questions! Here are some upcoming events at FSHA.

Have you scheduled a visit to campus? Most private schools have events on campus which allow prospective students to get a glimpse of their unique offerings and programs.

3. Submit an Excellent Application.

Once you have visited your schools and have determined the ones to which you will apply, it is time to prepare your application. This process can take a long time, but it is often the first impression a private school will have of you so be sure to make it shine!

  •  Make sure to fill out the application carefully and completely. Check for spelling and grammar errors. If your application is a handwritten one be sure to write clearly and neatly.
  • Be thoughtful and creative with your essays. Be sure to let the reader know who you are and why you’ll stand out at the school if offered admission.
  • Be proud of your accomplishments. Don’t be shy on your application, this is the time to brag a little bit about how terrific you are!
  • Collect your supplemental materials. Most schools will require additional items for your application to be complete. These will likely include teacher recommendations, transcripts, standardized test scores, etc. If you have additional items such as an online art portfolio, a personal recommendation from a camp counselor, copies of athletic awards, or significant community service hours, you may also want to include these with your supplemental packet.

4. Ace Your Interview.

Just about every private school requires an interview. Some may happen before the application is complete, some are scheduled once the application is submitted, and for some students from far away interviews may be conducted by Skype or other online platforms. Whenever it happens, however it happens, this article gives some great tips on how to shine when it is your time to interview!

Apply Now to Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy!

Wishing you all the best in your application process this year!

Stay tuned for Installment #2: What to Expect on a Campus Visit

6 thoughts on “Ask An Admissions Director: 4 Tips on Applying to Private School

    • Hello, Maria! Thank you for your question. Our admission committee doesn’t prefer one exam over the other. We accept scores from both tests because we know that there are some schools that may accept ONLY one or the other. By accepting results from either the HSPT or the ISEE, we try to make it as easy as possible for families to plan for the test-taking process.

  1. You made a good point to visit the private school which you are applying for. This is one good way to familiarize yourself with the locations and other facilities inside the campus. There are also some schools that provide some type of orientation or extracurricular activities which you may want to participate in. If I were to enroll my daughter in a Catholic school. I would strongly recommend that she participate actively in the activities the school has to offer. Thanks.

  2. That’s cool that lots of private schools will let prospective students come and see what they have to offer through events. My son is getting bored in the school he’s at now because he can grasp the concepts a lot faster than the other students, and I would like to give him more of a challenge. I should find a private school near us to check out.

  3. My husband and I are wanting to put our oldest daughter in a private school. We realize that the admissions process at private schools is highly competitive and so we are a little nervous to try. I will remind him that if she is not accepted to the first one there is always other options. Thanks for that reminder. We are excited to look around and hopefully find a good one for her.

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