Applying for private elementary school after the application deadline?


We are a bit late in the school enrollment game. Our local OUSD public school is not working out for our kid who keeps saying school is boring and often simply refuses to go. The cost of private school is so huge that we were trying to make the public school option work. But... after 2 years at OUSD, we feel that our child's love for learning and free spirited intellectual curiosity are being suffed out by "busy work". It's sad. The older child doesn't complain about our local public school but the younger one who is in Kindergarten pitches a fight nearly every morning. 

Are there any schools that we might be able to get into now (2 months after application deadline)? St. Paul and Park Day are very appealing to us due to proximity and what little we know about both schools, but we recognize that those are popular schools and trying to get into them for 1st grade is probably impossible...

Does anyone have direct experience with Grand Lake Montessori's elementary school program? We know that its preschool program is well liked but we don't know what the elementary school is like.

Many well-intentioned people comment that we should try for private school and don't assume that we won't get financial aid. Our combined household pre-tax income is $280,000, which to me sounds like it won't qualify us for any financial aid. (I know... it sounds like a lot of money but we live almost paycheck to paycheck because our monthly fixed expenses including student loan, mortage, property tax, insurance, food, gas, transportation, after school and school break childcare, utilities, etc. is over $10k a month and after we pay tax, there's very little money left for us to afford luxury like private school. So, we're really struggling with our child's seeming need for a different educational environment and how we are going to pay for it...

Thank you. 

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Absolutely do apply. I know for sure that both Park Day and St. Paul's have accepted students after the application deadline in the last couple of years. It's also worth applying for aid to see what happens, though I agree that it is probably a long shot. GLM's elementary program is very new and quite small, but also considerably less expensive than the other two schools. No idea what it's like programmatically as it was just getting started when we were looking for schools for our child. Good luck with the search!

Many schools in the East Bay have rolling admissions, even after the deadline has passed. If the websites aren't clear about it, the various admissions directors would probably be happy to have a conversation with you. They also would be the ones who could most likely talk through your personal financial situation (or direct you to someone who can) so you can gage whether it is worth applying for aid. It is expensive to live in the Bay Area, and I'm sure you're not the first family with a pre-tax income in the mid/upper 200s who has had these questions-- especially with two kids to consider. Good luck finding a school that works better for your children and family!

Hello, Escuela Bilingue Internacional has been a great school for our family. I highly recommend, and they are still taking applications.

Best of luck to you and your family :)

Hi!  Are the El Cerrito/Richmond hills too far for you?  My oldest child (and soon my middle child) attend Crestmont School and we absolutely love it.  Crestmont has some current spots open and will still accept applications for next school year.  It's a K-8 co-operative school with small classes (about 15), age mixing, and very project-based learning that fosters kids' natural curiosity.  I could go on and on....We are pretty huge fans.  :)  

I definitely recommend still applying for financial aid at private schools you're interested in because they do take into account those fixed costs.  Schools really vary and even vary year by year with how much aid they give.  So, if you can devote the time to it, it's certainly worth a try to apply.  Also, check out charter schools!  Some people find great fits and there are a lot of innovative charter schools in and around Oakland. 

Best wishes!  Hope you find a great fit!

I got an email from EBI a couple of weeks ago indicating that they are still accepting applications for kindergarten (after the deadline). I don't know about first grade, but you could certainly inquire. Since all of the east bay private schools (that we encountered anyway) use the SSS for financial aid decisions, I would go ahead and create an SSS account and have your information shared with the schools to which you think you might apply. The SSS is far more time consuming than the actual applications, and that way if you reach out to ask the schools about eligibility for financial aid with a late application, they'd have your data and be able to let you know if this is a realistic expectation or not. Good luck!

I can't comment on the timing of your application to private schools, but we applied to a private school in Oakland with a similar financial profile as yours.  At the time we probably grossed about $10,000 less than you but had similar fixed expenses  (mortgage, student loans, before/after childcare expenses, etc) and we were offered a generous financial aid package.  It's DEFINITELY worth going through the process to find out what it would actually cost you!  Good luck finding a better fit for your kiddo!

I don’t know if a very long commute is a possibility for you, but my kids went to GATE Academy in San Rafael, and it’s a great place for kids who want to be challenged and study really interesting topics. The curriculum is self-paced, meaning that everyone can go as deeply into the material as he or she is able. The school is year-round, so they admit kids throughout the year if they have space. They don’t have financial aid, but the tuition is a lot lower than at some other K-8 schools (and it includes the summer, so you don’t end up paying for camps). Good luck with your search!

FWIW, I absolutely think that $280 K is within the range for applying for financial aid.  Do it!

Hi, I work in a private school and know that many schools, including mine, do have rolling admissions past the official deadlines. My oldest child was admitted to a (different) private school many years ago in early September! As someone said below, you can definitely call admissions directors and find out if they are still accepting applications for the grade you are interested in. As for financial aid, I do think most, if not all, aid is given out at the deadline to returning and new families so getting aid as a late admit is more unlikely. As a caveat, I don't work in admissions, this info is kept quite confidential, and all schools do things a little differently. I do know that with my son I was told "we have no financial aid left" and then we did get aid the following years when we met the deadlines. Good luck finding the right place for your family! There are a lot of factors to consider and it isn't easy!

Here’s the deal, and I worked in private school admissions for years (multiple schools).  If they have the space for your child (grade/gender) they will try to accommodate you.  If they are full, they won’t.  In terms of financial aid, your family may qualify for aid but only a tiny amount.  Most schools use a system that generates a tuition number that your family can pay.  Family circumstance is taken into account but to be honest, it’s usually for situations WAY worse than yours (let’s just say NOT white privilege, an assumption, I know). You should apply, you may get in and you may get about $5,000 in aid.  It’s worth it if there is an opening. 

Yes, if there is space available, private schools will accept students after the application deadline. We moved to the area two years ago and missed the application deadline and were able to get both our kids in private schools. I would recommend calling around and see which schools have space for your child. Also, it does seem like a long shot to get financial aid, but I have found that once you are in the school and apply for financial aid (at least at the larger private schools) they will provide something. I would recommend talking to the schools. Also catholic schools are usually a lot less expensive than other schools.

So sorry to hear that your children are bored at school! Regarding your question: you'll be surprised to know that many independent schools in the East Bay have Rolling Admissions that are way past their regular admissions timeline. It is absolutely worth a call to both the schools you are interested in and talk to the Admissions Department regarding this. I am sure they will both be very willing to talk to you, and if not accepting applications, should be able to guide you to schools that are. 

And it is also worth applying for financial aid. At the most, you will not qualify and then you can decide what you'd want to do. But it is worth a try! All the best to you! 

We were wait-listed at a private school.  The person flatly told us that all their aid for the coming year was taken already, and if we wanted to stay on the wait list then we could plan to pay full freight.  It was good to know, we just dropped off the wait list.  On the other hand, I know of the opposite happening with one friend.  So I agree, just call and ask.