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Find a Member School > Independent School FAQs

Why should I consider an independent school? 
Independent schools offer a strong curriculum, small classes, individual attention for each student, dedicated teachers and advisors, the opportunity for appropriate parental involvement, a sense of community, and a wide range of extracurricular activities. The careful, personal guidance students and their families receive on secondary school and college placement is an added benefit. Families that value education should seriously consider independent schools.

How do I choose the right school for my child? 
Finding a "good match" between student and school is an important goal for everyone. Each school is a unique community, and each student has different strengths, weaknesses, interests, and expectations. Your research should take into consideration such factors as the school's mission, size, curriculum, student-teacher ratio, leadership, and extracurricular opportunities. Families are encouraged to visit several schools and to talk to the staff in each admissions office.  

Do independent schools provide a diverse community? 
Independent schools seek a diverse population to provide the richness that a variety of backgrounds adds to the learning experience. Parents are often surprised by the racial, ethnic, socio-economic, religious, and geographic diversity found at independent schools.

How much do independent schools cost? 
There are many different types of independent schools - cooperative, day, boarding, parochial, and special needs. Tuition costs vary.  Parents of independent school children regard the cost of an independent education as an investment in their child's future.  They know that whatever the investment in dollars may be, it is worth every sacrifice when compared to a lifetime of dividends for the child.

Is financial aid available?
Parents are encouraged to explore options for tuition assistance. Need-based financial aid is available at most NJAIS schools. Some NJAIS schools offer merit scholarships.  Low-interest loan programs and convenient payment plans are often offered to help families finance tuition fees. Be sure to ask the admissions staff about financial aid.

Is transportation available? 
In most cases, yes. Some schools own their own buses; others hire an off-site bus company. Many towns either provide a partial transportation rebate to families who send their children to an independent school or offer free busing to certain schools.

Can parents get involved in an independent school? 
Absolutely. Parents are encouraged to participate in a wide array of activities designed to foster the sense of school community. Parents are also kept closely apprised of their child's progress and enlisted as important members of the educational "team."

How do independent schools accommodate working parents? 
Most schools offer a variety of conference and meeting times to accommodate parents' full and varied schedules. Some schools also offer extended-day and after-school programs to give flexibility to working parents. Most schools have an active parent association that welcomes parental involvement.

How do independent schools provide a well-rounded education? 
Along with an excellent academic curriculum, independent schools provide opportunities in many areas outside the classroom. Activities such as athletics, visual arts, music, drama, community service, student government, and clubs are considered a vital part of their program. 

How and when do I apply?
Undertake your search in the spring or in September of the year prior to the date of your child’s enrollment. All NJAIS schools now have websites that can be accessed from this website. After reviewing the information on NJAIS schools, call or e-mail schools for their literature. When you have determined which schools seem most appropriate for your child, contact the admissions office to arrange a tour of the campus or to attend an open house. Most schools begin accepting applications in the fall preceding the September of the student’s admission and continue to do so well into the school year. Consult the specific schools for their admissions deadlines.

Admission processes vary, but usually include:

  • Application and fee submission
  • A classroom visit and/or interview for your child
  • Parent interview
  • Standardized testing
  • Receipt of transcripts
  • Recommendations

Though NJ schools do not currently have a common notification or reply deadline, all admissions officers  subscribe to the NJ Principles of Good Practices for Admissions.  If you have heard from one school and not another, you should speak to the Director of Admissions at each school to see about negotiating for an extension to make a decision, or allowing your deposit to be refundable.  

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