School Daze

New Year, New School?

January 10, 2011. The first day back from winter vacation. I take in the crisp air, the sunshine and I mentally prepare myself for what is going to happen after I walk through the office doors. As I walk in, both my colleagues are on the phone talking to prospective parents, the fax machine is filling up quickly with school records, the days mail is piled on the corner of my desk, and my inbox is flooded with new messages. Here we go—it’s time for 2011 Fall enrollment!


This is the time of year when I don’t know when Monday starts and Friday ends.


January begins the season for admission and enrollment at many of the international schools in Shanghai. Typically, schools admit and enroll one semester in advance and keep a rolling admission practice for any vacancy during the school year.


If you are thinking of changing schools within Shanghai, or if you are considering relocating to Shanghai, this is the time of year to start your research. Visit the school websites, talk to an admission officer, make an appointment to see the school, ask opinions of friends or neighbors (or Shanghaimamas members) to determine if the school will be a good fit for your child.


Next, be informed of the admission process! I would say almost half of the inquiries I receive include the phrase, “I’ve heard that…” or “My friends say that…” And guess what? Most of the time what you heard and what your friends say about the admission process is not true or exaggerated. The best way to be most informed is to read the website information thoroughly, call, or meet with the admission staff in person to understand what is needed to gain admission to your school of choice.


This year (my 6th year in admission) is particularly special for me because I am also looking into preschools for my eldest son. Not only do I help facilitate the process in my daily job, but this year, I actually get to be a part of it as a parent. It will be very interesting to see things from the other side!