Each ISSFBA school has their own application requirements, deadlines and procedures, but there are some elements that most schools have in common.
This webinar series recently came out which is a helpful resource for applying to independent schools.
Application and Fee
Each ISSFBA school has their own application which can be obtained from the school. Most schools have application deadlines in January of the year of enrollment. It is important to read a school’s particular policy in order to meet these deadlines.
Most schools ask for an application processing fee; this fee may be reduced or waived for applicants requesting financial assistance. Depending on the grade level, some schools may accept applications beyond the due date. Please contact specific schools regarding their individual policies.
Student Evaluation Form
Application to an ISSFBA school typically requires a Confidential Student Evaluation Form to be filled out by your child’s current school. ISSFBA schools share this common form which enables teachers at sending schools to complete one form and email and/or mail it to multiple schools. Please be sure to let teachers know where to send the forms. This form is available from individual schools or you may download it here (Adobe Reader required):
- Confidential Recommendation Form Prek-K form
- Write-able PDF Recommendation form Prek-K
- Confidential Recommendation Form Grades 1-8 form
- Write-able PDF Recommendation form Grades 1-8
An official transcript (or its equivalent) is usually part of the application. Please consult individual schools for their requirements.
ISSFBA schools do not encourage formal expressions of first choice or letters of recommendation.
Parent Interviews and Student Visits
Most schools will meet with both parents and children at some point during the admission process. Parent interviews provide an opportunity to have a conversation with a member of the admission team to mutually discover if the school might be a good fit for your child and your family.
For preschool and kindergarten applicants, student visits usually take place with a small group of applicants and offer the opportunity for your child to interact in a classroom setting with other children. Some schools require children to separate from their parents while others (including many preschool/early childhood programs) do not. Admission staff will be sensitive to your child’s transition during the visit.
Students applying to older grades and middle school are often asked to visit with the current class during the school day.
Many ISSFBA schools will also conduct a developmental and/or an academic assessment as part of the admission process. Some schools may assess your child as part of the visit day while some may schedule a separate screening appointment, and others may schedule the assessment off-site.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, procedures may have changed. Please contact schools directly to learn about their admission processes.
Shared Kindergarten Assessment
In response to the continued impact of COVID-19, a number of Bay Area independent schools are changing our approach to Kindergarten Screening this year. In the past, families were required to visit each school in person in order to complete their required kindergarten assessment. For the 2021-22 admissions season, many Bay Area schools will accept one set of Shared Kindergarten Videos in lieu of the previously required kindergarten visit. Videos can be filmed on a cell phone in the comfort of your home or any other setting. No special preparation, materials, or equipment will be required. Detailed instructions on how to complete this requirement will be communicated directly by individual schools.
As of October 25, 2021, the following schools will accept the shared kindergarten videos:
Almaden Country Day School
Alta Vista School
Black Pine Circle
Brandeis San Francisco
The Carey School
Cathedral School for Boys
Children’s Day School
Chinese American International School
Episcopal Day School of St. Matthew
Escuela Bilingüe Internacional
French American International School
The Hamlin School
Katherine Delmar Burke School
La Scuola International School
Live Oak School
Marin Country Day School
Marin Montessori School
Marin Primary and Middle School
Mills College Children’s School
Mount Tamalpais School
Park Day School
Phillips Brooks School
The Presentation School
Presidio Hill School
Presidio Knolls School
Prospect Sierra School
Redwood Day School
The Saklan School
Sacred Heart Schools (Atherton)
San Domenico School
San Francisco Day School
San Francisco Friends School
San Francisco Schoolhouse
San Francisco School
Seven Hills School
St. Paul’s Episcopal School
Silicon Valley International School
Town School for Boys