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What to Expect When Applying to Private Schools

November 08, 2023
Guest Contributor

For parents and students considering a private school education, it’s important to be aware of what to expect in the application process. While specific requirements and procedures may vary from one school to another, there are some commonalities that you can anticipate in order to submit a successful application.

Below, you’ll find a breakdown of what to expect when you apply to private schools.

Application Forms

Most schools, public and private, require students to fill out an application form. These forms can usually be found on the school’s website or requested directly from the admissions office.

At St. Michael’s College School (SMCS), our application form is available online, making it more convenient for parents and students to complete. The application form is a critical document, as it provides the school with essential information about the applicant, such as personal details, academic history, extracurricular activities, student references, and other relevant information.

Transcripts and Academic Reports

Private schools will often request academic transcripts, report cards, and standardized test scores in order to gather as much information about the applicant’s academic history as possible. These documents provide a comprehensive overview of an applicant’s academic performance, including areas of strength and areas of improvement. By reviewing academic records, administrators can properly assess an applicant’s commitment to learning, their work ethic, and their overall preparedness for the school’s curriculum.

To complete your application to SMCS, make sure to have official copies of the following documents readily available:

  • Provide 2022 Final Report Card
  • Provide 2023 Final Report Card
  • Provide Fall 2023 Progress Report
  • Completion of Student Reference (Grade 7, 8 & 9 ONLY)
  • Semester 1 Final Report Card (Grade 10, 11 & 12 ONLY)
  • Credit Counselling Summary and Transcript (Grade 10, 11 & 12 ONLY)
SMCS Entrance Test


Private schools usually require applicants to submit letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors or peers. These references go beyond an applicant’s academic history to offer greater insight into their character and personality.

To ensure an application is completed on time, it’s important that the applicant plans ahead and requests these references from their teachers or peers well in advance of the deadline. Be sure to include any forms or guidelines that may need to be followed in order for your teachers or peers to properly complete their reference letters.


In an effort to get better acquainted with the applicant, some private schools may request an interview as part of their application process. This provides a great opportunity for applicants to express their interest in the school, as well as their academic and extracurricular interests.

These interviews provide applicants and administrators with an opportunity to get to know each other outside of a classroom setting, and to see how the applicant’s personality and values align with the school.

In order to better prepare for the interview, applicants are encouraged to do some research on the school, its history, mission and values, and the different program offerings that speak to the applicant’s individual interests.

At SMCS, applicants can also schedule a tour at the school to get a better sense of the curriculum and explore the facilities prior to their interview.


Deadlines and Waitlist

Missing a deadline for an application is unfortunate – and can also impact your chance of admission. That’s why it’s crucial to stay on top of the different deadlines for forms, references and transcripts to submit all required materials on time, or ideally in advance.

Once the school receives your application, there are three possible outcomes: you will be accepted, waitlisted or denied. Waitlisted applicants will be notified of acceptance if another applicant has declined their offer of admission.

Applying to a private school involves following a series of important steps to submit a complete application on time, including an online application form, academic records, test scores, reference letters and scheduling an interview.

While the application process is competitive, it is also an opportunity for the applicant to showcase their interests, dedication, and goals for pursuing their academic careers. Staying organized and being proactive will reduce the stress associated with applying to a new school, and help you put your best foot forward on your educational path.