We feel you - among the many other administrative tasks that await when you are moving your entirely family across cities, countries and continents, the search and application for an international school for your child can be a pretty tiresome one.
Find out ahead what the typical admissions process for international schools in Singapore is like and you will be able to pace out the tasks and handle them with ease!
Know the Entry Criteria
First things first, early on in the school search process, familiarise yourself with a school's admission requirements so that you don't invest time looking at options that are not the right fit for your child. For example, if the school you are interested in has a strict language requirement component and your child has had absolutely no exposure to that language before, then that might act as an automatic filter for your options.
Prepare the Necessary Documents
Most applications will require that you submit supporting documents that show proof of nationality, parents' right to live and work in a country, students' academic history and so on.
Here is an example of the kind of documents that various schools might require you to submit:
- Copies of parents' and child's passport
- Copies of passes (e.g. Dependent Pass, Student Pass etc.)
- Recent school reports and transcripts
- Learning support or special education evaluation reports
- Teacher reference letters
- Passport-sized photograph
- Child's medical report
- Employment Letter of Guarantee
- Vaccination records
This list is neither exhaustive nor applicable to all schools but provides a quick impression of what could be essential to the application process.
Depending on which grade and curriculum you are looking to enrol in, your child might be required to sit for a placement test. Such a test is often used to gauge a child's language proficiency and in some cases their competencies in mathematics and science. The test results together with the existing school reports are often evaluated by the academic team to determine a child's readiness to enrol in a certain curriculum or grade level. Suggestions might even be offered for a child to enrol in a different grade.
Especially when transitioning between schools that follow a different academic calendar (e.g. Southern Hemisphere schools often follow the calendar year and start in January while Northern Hemisphere schools often start in August), it can be hard to decide which grade a child should enroll in. Be sure to find out ahead of time which grade your child can be expected to attend based on their date of birth. Also be aware of the differences in how grades might be labelled in different schools depending on how long their pre-school program lasts.
Some schools might only be able to accept new students at certain points in a year while other schools accept applications on an ongoing basis. Be sure to check out how it works in the schools of your choice ahead of time so that you do not miss critical entry times!
There are international schools in Singapore that accept applications, that fulfill all other criteria, on a first come, first served basis. These often tend to be academically non-selective schools that do not use academic achievements as a filter in selecting students.
On the other hand, there are schools which can be academically selective and use past academic performances as a determining factor.
There are also schools that give admissions priority to affiliated nationalities.
It could be helpful to take note of this well in advance so as to get a sense of how likely your child will be to get into the schools of your choice.
Can Singaporeans attend international schools?
If your child is a Singaporean dual-nationality passport holder or has one parent who is a Singaporean, and applying for Grade 1 and above, you have to seek approval from the Singaporean Ministry of Education. In these cases, an international school might require that you submit proof of approval.
Attend an upcoming Open House to get free guidance on the admissions process directly from our Admissions officers!