Private School Admission: Preparation is Key

If you have decided on private school for your child, you’ve probably already set aside thousands for tuition, researched your options (do you want a co-ed school? boarding school? specific extracurricular offerings?) and attended open houses on your short list of prospective institutions. If you’re ready to apply – often a year in advance of your desired start date – you may already be realizing that the private school application process can be a stressful one, even with all the prep work you’ve already done. You may need to collect supplementary data from your child’s current school and reference letters from his or her teachers. And then, it’s time for the testing.

Kids may dread them and experts may pooh-pooh their efficacy, but standardized tests are one of the key metrics that schools use to get a sense of the students applying and find out where they stand academically compared to their peers. How much weight each school puts on the testing varies, but it is definitely an important part of the application process for most schools.

If your child is academically functioning above his or her grade level, you may be breathing a sigh of relief, but that could be premature. Some schools do rely on past report cards, but a standardized test will still be necessary, and it is essentially a one shot deal. If your child performs poorly on the test, their strengths in other areas may be insufficient to persuade the school's Board to admit her. On the other hand, your son may test very well on paper, but may falter when it comes time for his formal face-to-face interviews.

The question then becomes not whether preparation for private school admittance is a good idea, but what kind. Fortunately, there is a proudly Canadian company dedicated to helping every student reach their fullest potential: PREPSKILLS®, a leader in the provision of admission preparation services for students in Grades K to 12 seeking entrance to private and independent schools. Under the PREPSKILLS® umbrella, certified teachers and qualified instructors offer a wide range of teaching modules to help students make the critical connection between understanding content, and understanding the use of that content in a test-taking environment.

In terms of reaching their academic potential, PREPSKILLS® can assist your children with:

  • SSAT (Secondary School Admissions Test) preparation: The SSAT is a commonly used standardized test for children in grades 5 through 11. PREPSKILLS® can help you guide your child through the SSAT process with private in-home prep, e-learning or group classes, as well as offering practice tests.
  • ISEE (Independent School Entrance Examination) preparation: The ISEE is similar to the SSAT but with a different scoring mechanism. Used for grades 4 through 11, it focuses on verbal, math and reading skills. PREPSKILLS® provides private preparation in the comfort of your home to help your child succeed on the ISEE.
  • CAT (Canadian Achievement Test): A standardized test for children up to Grade 5. Private one-on-one tutoring in the privacy of your home will help prepare your child to successfully pass the test.
  • UTS (University of Toronto Schools): PREPSKILLS® understands the unique – and very rigorous – application process for children Grade 7 and up, and provides assistance with both the interview and testing portions of the test. PREPSKILLS® students have had great success in admittance to prestigious UTS!
  • Emotional Intelligence: PREPSKILLS® is unique in offering consulting services and workshops to help your child excel not only from a test results standpoint, but also in terms of increasing confidence and discovering her unique characteristics – essential skills for the interviews that are part of the private school application process. And well beyond the interviews, knowing one's strengths and weaknesses, learning how to communicate effectively with adults and get along with peers, and developing emotional intelligence are incredibly valuable skills -- skills that are challenging even to many adults. The PrepEssentials program offers this essential life learning and more, to kids from Grades 4 to 8.

No matter what your private school admission goals, PREPSKILLS® has an effective, results-oriented program to help you achieve them.