Is It Too Late?
Your husband has just called to say that he got the promotion. The increase in responsibilities and the money make the move exciting. But it's July. And you will be relocating across the country. What are you going to do about the children's schooling? They have just finished 8th and 10th grade in the local public schools which happen to be in a really fine disctrict. It's too late to apply to a private school, isn't it?
This scenario gets played out in thousands of households all over the globe. If your spouse works for a multi-national firm, chances are that he will have to spend some time abroad. It's also pretty certain that your children will have to move in the middle of an academic year. Business never seems to pay heed to school calendars. Business is business and has a mind of its own.
So, is it too late to get your children into a private school? Absolutely not. And, frankly, if you have any idea that future moves may be in the offing, you need to consider seriously settling your children into boarding school. The stability of boarding school will help insulate your children from the stress and strain of moving.
Admissions After the Deadlines
Truthfully you will probably not be able to get your children into one of the very selective, highly competitive boarding schools UNLESS you or your spouse went to one of those schools. It would certainly be a long shot, and all the planets would have to be in alignment, but it is worth a call to the admissions office. Legacies are usually treated as a special case.
If your children are not legacies, then review the list of schools which are still accepting applications. The SSAT organization maintains such a list of schools. And it lists schools offering entry at different points in the school year.
Forget that nagging feeling that you might be sending your children off to a 2nd class school. Those top New England boarding schools are wonderful, without a doubt. But there are hundreds of lesser known gems in the boarding school world where your children will be happy and receive a solid education. A warming caring school environment matters a great deal during a move. Children can feel quite fragile and clinging - even big children - during a move. Being in a situation where there is minimal stress and upheaval is a good thing.
Perhaps you are wondering why any self-respecting boarding school would have places late in the year. The honest truth is that parents withdraw their children for the same kind of reasons you need to get your children in. They are transferred or perhaps family circumstances such as a divorce or death necessitate a move. Boarding schools plan their budgets around a certain number of students. So if they can get that open place filled even the day before school opens, they will make it happen.
If the move is overseas, your spouse's human resources department should be able to offer help and advice with respect to finding good schools in your new locale. If your children are in primary or middle school, then it will make sense to bring them along and put them in a local international school. They will be able to study an American style curriculum which has the advantage of making their transition to schools back home fairly smooth.
Boarding school for your teens is a really good option. Most teens find it difficult adjusting to new surroundings and friends. So if you get that over with by sending them off to boarding school, you could move again during their high school years and it would not be a major upset to them.
In conclusion it is never too late to apply to private school. Assume nothing.