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Navigating the Admission Process in Pre-School or College

As my husband and I navigated our youngest daughter through the college admission process, it dawned on me how much the experience resembled the guidance I have provided to numerous families during the admission process at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. It’s hard to believe, but there are striking similarities between Early Childhood admissions and College admissions in today’s world.

As our mailbox at home was bombarded with open house postcards, letters, and reminders of application deadlines, all I really wanted was to help my daughter find the college that was best for my daughter and why. That’s exactly what happens to parents as they look for the perfect early childhood program for their child. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for Pre-School, Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, Grades 1-8, High School or College, because it’s a very important decision at every level, and as parents, we all want what is best for our children.

During our journey, I made a conscious effort to encourage both my daughter and myself to remain focused, conduct thorough research, visit prospective colleges, and adhere to all application deadlines. My ultimate goal was to assist my daughter in finding the ideal college that aligns with her aspirations and goals. Interestingly, this is precisely what prospective parents seek when they reach out to me to learn more about our Cottage, Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, or Grades 1-8. They are seeking answers to the same questions that are at the forefront of my mind. Questions such as…

Tell me about your school.
Do you have strong leadership?
How long has your school been in existence?
What is your average class size?
What is your student: teacher ratio?
What percent of your faculty hold advanced degrees?
What makes your school so special or unique?
Tell me about your academic program. Is it rigorous? Will my child be challenged?
What type of enrichment classes does your school offer?
What is the religious life like?
How much homework do students have?
What type of extracurricular activities or programs does your school have?

As someone who holds the position of Director of Enrollment Management and Financial Aid at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School and who is also a mother and grandmother, I would like to share some valuable advice for those who are going through the admission process for Pre-School through 8th Grade.

Tips in navigating through an admission process:
Start Early –
Creating a list of potential schools early on is the best way to tackle the overwhelming and confusing process of choosing the right school for your child. Take your time exploring different schools to prevent the process from becoming too overwhelming.
Do Your Research – Research potential schools by visiting their websites and talking to family members, friends, and colleagues. First-hand experiences and word of mouth can be the best advice you receive as you research.
Get Organized – Once you have a list of schools, create a checklist that includes application and financial aid deadlines. Put together a to-do list and keep it in a prominent place to help you stay on track.
Attend Open Houses, Individual Tours, and School Events – Tour as many schools as you can by attending open houses, individual tours and school events. An individual tour will give you a great feel for the student body and allow you to see teachers and students in action. An open house tour is a great way to enjoy a planned presentation and tour of a school. A school event will allow you and your child to interact administrators, faculty, students, and parents. Get to know the school community and don’t be afraid to ask specific questions.
Gather Financial Information – Find out about tuition and fees for the next school year to determine which schools are within your price range. If finances are an issue, inquire about the financial aid process and deadlines. If you will be applying for financial aid, gather your necessary tax documents to make sure you can meet the deadlines. Many schools offer financial aid, so don’t let finances be the reason you don’t apply to a specific school.
Complete Application Processes and Make Decisions – Once you’ve chosen the schools you want to apply to, complete the applications and follow your checklist to ensure you meet all the necessary requirements by the required deadlines. Once acceptance offers have been made, make the decision that is in the best interest of your child and family.
Most Importantly, Enjoy the Process – Take your time getting to know all the schools you are considering. Get to know the admission director of each school and ask to talk to a current parent to gain their perspective. Remember that you’re looking at the school as much as the school is looking at your child and your family. The process can be overwhelming, but you only do this a few times throughout your child’s life, so enjoy it!

Lisa Witter

As an educator and an administrator at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Lisa Witter has been with St. Andrew’s Episcopal School since 2008. She currently serves as Director of Enrollment Management and Financial Aid and is loving her role. Education from early childhood through High School is Lisa’s passion and expertise. Being the mother of two children has allowed Lisa some in depth, hands-on experience and she loves her work at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School.

Are you interested in learning more about St. Andrew’s Episcopal School and the admission process? Please join us for an Open House event called St. Andrew’s Episcopal School Day at the Pumpkin Patch. This special event will be held on October 19 from 3:30 – 5:00 pm. Come explore and see if St. Andrew’s is the “right” school for your child and family.

At St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, our children love learning and thrive in a small, family-oriented environment. We offer a challenging curriculum that sequentially builds skills in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and Spanish at every level. Our program enhanced by state-of-the-art technology, includes music, art, chapel, physical education, and library skills instruction.

If you are looking for a school that will nurture your child’s love of learning while helping to build their self-esteem, leadership skills, and social skills, St. Andrew’s just may be the place for your child. See the school in action by scheduling a personal tour today and join us on October 19 for fall fun and festivities.

Visit our website to lean more about SAES Day at the Pumpkin Patch and Schedule a Tour