Getting into the Right School – A Step by Step Guide

Congratulations! You’ve found a school that is perfect for your family’s needs. But now you may be wondering how to proceed from here.

Schools all operate slightly differently but the process entails some basic steps everywhere.

1. Apply – Application forms are available on most school websites or contact the school. Be prepared for a non-refundable application fee to cover the administration costs of processing your application.

2. Wait – The process can take several months and if a place is not immediately available at the school of your choice, you may be offered a spot on the school’s waiting list. To optimise your chances of enrolling, maintain contact with the school to let them know that you remain interested. And don’t despair. Parents often put their names down at several schools, waiting lists can shrink quickly when it comes time to make a final decision.

3. Impress – You’re at the top of the waiting list, now comes the interview with the principal. This can be stressful, particularly for young students. St Andrew’s Cathedral School registrar Bruce Perry has these tips for a smooth interview.


  • Arrive on time. If you’re running late, call ahead to let the school know.
  • Don’t answer questions directed at your child. Remember that the purpose of the interview is to get to know the student.
  • Ensure that your child is dressed to impress. Either in a neat and clean uniform or in good casual clothes that conform to the school’s dress code.
  • Be honest. Non-disclosure could jeopardise your child’s enrolment prospects.


  • Get a good night’s sleep before the interview.
  • Answer questions calmly and directly. Be polite. Don’t fidget, don’t slouch, don’t chew gum. Offer a firm handshake and maintain eye contact.
  • Do your research. Prepare a few in-depth questions that show you’re truly interested in attending the school.
  • Always try to answer in full sentences, not just Yes or No.
  • NEVER check your phone during an interview.

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