Updated: Oct 28, 2022
Application season is September - December.
We've been doing this for more than 10 years and, during that time, almost all schools have moved from paper forms to online systems. Each school uses a different system and some are better than others, but we have learned what works and what doesn't and we're sharing that with you here.
It can go very wrong. One parent contacted us only after receiving a rejection from her school of choice. Upon investigation, we identified that the school had assessed the child for the wrong grade and no-one had noticed. We were , thankfully, able to reverse that decision.
So, here are :
Top Schools' Top Tips for Online Application Forms
Draft the application offline - especially the essay questions. Then cut and paste the text in the relevant application forms. Easy to edit, easy to share for comments, creates a back-up and you won't get timed out of the system!
Recycle essay answers, but always tweak them to fit the school.
Make sure that all supporting documents are in the correct format. Send everything that they ask for but nothing more*.
Ensure that the photograph is a good clear head and shoulders shot with a plain background. No need for a professional studio shot. We usually recommend a fun activity ie watersports, beach, hiking, etc
Some school systems prefer certain browsers. Understand these before beginning.
It doesn't matter when you submit the application within the admissions window, as long as you don't submit it late.
Disclosure is better than discovery. If your child has any learning needs, disclose.
Do not put English down as your/your child's first language, unless it really is. In HK, this is not always clear but if one or both parents are native in English and their first words to your child were in English and they will (later) discuss intimate matters of the heart/deep philosophical issues with your teen/adult child in English, you can safely put English as their first language.
Take screenshots of each page (in case the worst happens and you lose everything!) It happens more often than you might think.
Oftentimes, parents do not check that the application is received. Because we understand each school's process, we know all the steps and are able to move things along if they get stuck.
Many times, an application sits in a 'pending' pool as the school is waiting for documents or some clarification and the parents miss this.
We follow our clients' applications closely. If you feel you might benefit from expert support, please get in touch earlier rather than later (before you submit any applications):
* We do sometimes recommend a cover letter of sorts, but DO NOT send in a portfolio or certificates of your child's achievements which is what parents have traditionally submitted for local schools.