Demystifying the Independent School Admission Process

This is a sponsored post brought to you by Albuquerque Academy. We at ABQ Mom strive to work with businesses we feel would benefit our readers.

This post is the second of a four-part series for ABQ Mom. In our previous post, we shed light on what defines an independent school and how to choose the best fit for your child. In our upcoming posts, parents with experience in independent schools will cover topics such as tuition assistance and admission testing. We hope this blog series will answer questions about independent schools and help families navigate the educational process in Albuquerque. 

What Can I Expect in an Independent School Admission Process?

Independent School Admission Process ABQ Mom, Albuquerque Academy

Having an understanding of what is involved in the admission process can guide your work toward gaining admission to an independent school for your child. The application process should not be daunting, but it does take some time and organization. Considering the overall timeline is a good way to organize your calendar and keep the process moving in a positive direction. The application process may take anywhere from one to six months, depending on when you first apply.

At most independent schools, including Albuquerque Academy, applications open (become available to the public) in the fall for the following school year. To apply for entry in the fall of 2022, you would begin the application process now (in the fall of 2021). There is typically a set application deadline by which all applications and supporting materials are due. (This year, Albuquerque Academy’s deadline is January 7, 2022.)

It is also important to be aware of the application checklist– items that must be provided in order for your child to be considered by the admission committee for an admission decision.

At Albuquerque Academy, this includes recommendation forms from current math and English teachers, standardized test scores (if available), and report cards for the current and prior two school years, as well as a student interview. These additional items help the admission committee see the entire student’s body of work over a span of time, rather than a current snapshot of the student. This helps them conduct a holistic assessment of the student and their fit for the school’s program. Additionally, and equally as important, the admission committee will ensure that the school is a strong fit for the student.

Certainly not to be overlooked are the really fun, optional activities that round out the admission process.

Schools like Albuquerque Academy host an open house and campus tours, invite applicants to hands-on, faculty-led workshops, and welcome you at art shows, performances, and athletic events. As a mother of two students who have been through the admission process and attended an independent school, I would say that these campus activities are the best way for your child to get a feel for the culture of a school. Some of our best moments as a family were when my children stepped foot on what would one day become their own campus and when they had that opportunity to see what it would feel like to be a student there. The sparkle in their eyes and the smiles on their faces told me that they had found their educational home.

If you have questions about Albuquerque Academy or the independent school experience, please contact us at [email protected] or (505) 828-3208.

About the Author

Melissa Seligman, a native New Mexican, matriculated to Baylor University where she earned a bachelor of arts. She subsequently returned to New Mexico, and with the help of an Exxon Foundation grant, attended UNM’s Career Development Program where she earned her K-8 elementary teaching license. Thriving on change and challenge, Melissa has worked in a variety of public and private sector sales and marketing positions throughout her career, including for Fortune 500 companies, privately held firms, and not-for-profits, settling at Albuquerque Academy as the associate director of admission and enrollment management. Melissa’s best job, though, has been as a mother to two children, Noah ’21 and Hallie ’23 who are Academy Chargers through and through.


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