Enrolling your child in a private school may be more complicated than you think. Not only do you have to choose which kind of school you want to send your son or daughter to — a Catholic school in the Diocese of Covington or Archdiocese of Cincinnati, an independent Catholic school, a non-Catholic religious school, or a private nonsectarian school — you also have to navigate through the admissions process. Between school visits and interviews, open houses, entrance and placement tests, and application and registration deadlines, the timeline can be intimidating, not to mention stressful.

Through this process, it’s important to keep in mind that each school has its own admissions schedule. Although you might think the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, which oversees 121 schools, and the Diocese of Covington, which oversees 36, have a streamlined process for all their schools, that’s simply not the case.

“All the schools are independent agents, so they all have different dates and deadlines,” says Brother Joseph Kamis, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

That’s not to say there aren’t some general rules parents can follow when choosing a private school.

“My biggest piece of advice would be to begin the process early,” says Aaron Kellenberger, director of admission for Cincinnati Country Day School. “Many schools have admission deadlines in December and January, and the applications for admission require recommendations from current teachers and principals, as well as a student essay.”

Roderick Hinton, director of admission at St. Xavier High School, encourages students to reflect on what characteristics they’re looking for in a school. “It will help narrow your choices to schools that are compatible to your learning style and comfort level — schools that are ‘best fits.’”

To help make the process a little easier, most schools offer school visits, open houses and shadow days for prospective students.

Here is a general idea of the admissions timeline for Tristate private schools. Remember, you should call the school to find out its specific schedule.
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Interviews / Visits / Shadowing
YEAR-ROUND, although mostly in the fall.
Open Houses
FALL, although some take place in the winter and spring, as well.
High School Entrance / Placement Tests
NOVEMBER and DECEMBER
Application / Entrance Deadlines
DECEMBER and JANUARY
Registration Deadlines
JANUARY through MARCH