How to Apply to Private Schools
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- View our complete School Registration Toolkit for Families.
What are Private Schools?
Private schools are schools that are financially supported by individuals or private organizations, rather than the state. Within Boston, there are two different types of private schools:
Private Religious-Affiliated Schools
These private are connected to a specific religion. Private religious-affiliated schools may also offer religious education classes as part of their curriculum, in addition to general education. However, students and families do not necessarily need to practice that religion in order to attend these schools; religious requirements vary by school.
- Click here to view our School Profiles for private religious-affiliated schools with our School Finder Tool.
- Students interested in attending a Catholic high school affiliated with the Archdiocese of Boston will need to take the Catholic High School Placement Test - register your student online here. (Please note: the Catholic High School Placement Test costs $40)
- Read our 2021 interview with three Catholic school leaders to learn more about your Catholic school options.
Private Independent Schools
These private schools do not have any religious affiliation or connection to a specific religion.
- Click here to view our School Profiles for private independent schools with our School Finder Tool.
Frequently Asked Questions about Private Schools
Do private schools cost money to attend?
While most private schools charge tuition, many private schools — both religious-affiliated and independent — offer financial aid and/or scholarships to students. Some private schools are tuition-free or offer subsidized, income-dependent tuition. To find out about how to apply for financial aid or scholarships, please contact the private school directly.
Should I apply to private schools? How do I apply?
Boston School Finder recommends that all families who are willing and have the time and resources to complete a more involved admissions process should consider private schools. While the application process can be rigorous, private schools may be a great-fit option for many families.
The private school application process can include any or all of the following elements:
- A school visit
- An entrance exam (specific exam varies by school)
- An application that may require essays and/or recommendation letter(s)
- An application fee (application fee waivers vary by school)
- An in-person interview for the student and/or their parents
- A financial aid application, typically completed for each year the child attend that school
Admission is not guaranteed at any private school to which you apply. For this reason, Boston School Finder recommends that families should register or apply for additional school options, including Boston Public Schools (BPS district schools), Commonwealth charters, and the METCO program.
When should I apply to private schools?
Each private school has its own application process and deadlines. There is no single application for any of Boston's private schools. You should review the admissions section of every private school in which you are interested and reach out to the school directly to find out more information.
Where can I get help applying to private schools?
We recommend reaching out to your current school to ask about private school application support options, either offered at your school or through partner organizations. There are several organizations in Boston that support families by helping them apply to private schools. Two of these organizations include:
The Steppingstone Foundation is a nonprofit organization that offers The Steppingstone Academy, a rigorous program that prepares motivated students from historically marginalized communities for acceptance to and success at top independent, Catholic, and public exam schools in the greater Boston area. To learn more about the programs they offer, please visit The Steppingstone Foundation website.
826 Boston is a nonprofit writing, tutoring, and publishing organization where students in grades K-12 and beyond can share their stories, amplify their voices, and develop as leaders in school and in life. They offer essay writing programs and workshops. To learn more about their offerings, please visit the 826 Boston website.
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