Most private schools in Marion County have application deadlines in February or early spring. This general rule applies to all elementary, middle and high schools, as well as most VPKs and pre-schools.
In light of these deadlines, all components of your application, including any financial aid forms and application fees, need to be completed and handed in on time for your child to be considered. Applicants who make the deadline can expect to receive their admission decisions before the end of the current school year.
Prior to the application process, however, there are a few major components to take into consideration when choosing a school best suited to your child’s learning experience.
Tours: Virtually or physically, tours give you an idea of the school’s teaching philosophy, campus and extracurricular activities. These tours are the perfect opportunity to speak to other parents or teachers about any questions or concerns you may have regarding the school.
Faculty: Certification of private school teachers and administrators is not required in Florida; therefore, parents are encouraged to ask questions. Do all the teachers in this school hold four-year college or university degrees? How long has the principal been at this school?
Academics: The academic programs offered in private schools are not part of the state system of K-20 education defined in educational statutes. Parents should ask: What is the school’s authorization to issue report cards, diplomas and transcripts; what testing programs are used here; what accreditations does the school hold?
Options: Whether it be fate or space, your child may not be accepted into the first school you apply to. Always have a backup plan and apply to more than one school if possible.
Financial aid: Financial aid is typically available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Applicants in the first round of admission decisions are more likely to receive funding than those families who wait to apply. Even if you don’t think you will qualify for financial aid, you can still complete the application.
Editor’s note: Dates may vary. Be sure to check with your chosen school to determine specific deadlines.