A hand drawn graphic of a leaf and a caterpillar.

Private School Life: Getting Ready to Join a New School

Emily Cretella
May 26, 2023
3 minute read

You’ve done it: you’ve found your best-fit school, navigated the admissions process, and enrolled as a new student. So what comes next? How do you begin planning your new life at your dream school? 

Just like the beginning of any journey, this process requires some preparation. The more you plan ahead, the easier the path forward! And while there’s nothing that can fully prepare you for the thrill and excitement of that very first day you step onto campus, there are still simple things you can do in advance to ease into student life at your new school.

Here are our top tips for preparing as a new student at a new private school:


<span class="text-color-orange" role="decoration">Immerse yourself in your new school’s culture.</span> 

There are many ways to get a real sense of your school’s personality and culture before you officially become a student. (Hopefully, you got a flavor of this during the admissions process, which is why you picked the school in the first place!) However, now that you’re going to be a new student, it’s time to really dig deep. 

Most of this can be done simply by browsing your school’s website or social accounts, reviewing past magazines, viewbooks, and school videos. Familiarize yourself with the details of the school’s history, mission, vision, and philosophies. Make a list of any questions you may have about traditions, events, rules, or guidelines. If you’re interested in specific programs or offerings, check out past student work in these areas. This research will help you understand the feeling of the school before you get to feel it for yourself.


<span class="text-color-lightblue" role="decoration">Meet the students and faculty.</span> 

If your school doesn’t have opportunities for you to connect with current students or faculty before day one, not to worry! The online world now makes this easier than ever. 

Explore your school’s social accounts to get a glimpse into student life and learn about student leadership and achievement opportunities. Read student-written blogs and watch student-created videos, which you can find on your school’s social pages and by exploring any hashtags associated with your school. This insight will often give you an authentic behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be a student at your school. 

The same exploration can be done with faculty and staff. Visit your school’s website to read biographies of your new teachers and discover all their achievements. Check out any books or papers faculty may have authored. Eager to meet them one-on-one? Consider sending them an email before the first day to introduce yourself and ask any questions about the curriculum.  


<span class="text-color-green" role="decoration">Take part in any community building (and campus exploring!) activities.</span>  

Your school may offer online and in-person ways to connect as a community before the start of school. These opportunities may range from picnics and orientations to information sessions, athletic events, and being paired up using a buddy system with an older student or even a family. 

Take advantage of these opportunities! These interactions are a fantastic way to build connections before you set foot on campus. 

In addition to joining community events, familiarize yourself with campus before school starts. Explore online campus maps or virtual tours to find your main classrooms and learning areas—or better yet, walk the campus in person (if it’s open and accessible to visitors) to plot out your daily path. 


<span class="text-color-orange" role="decoration">Grab some swag!</span>  

You’re now officially a member of the student body, so show your school spirit. 

Check to see if your new school has an online store where you can purchase some school gear—spirit wear, wall flags, and stickers are popular ways to show your school pride. Slap that magnet on your family’s car bumper, and let the world know that you’re excited about your new beginning as a private school student!

A hand drawn cloud graphic.
Save 14 hours or more applying with the Standard Application Online.
Get Started!

Let’s get going!

A hand drawn graphic of two rabbits running.

Save time applying to private schools with the Standard Application Online. Apply to any of over 400 participating schools with one set of documentation and a single student essay.

The Official SSAT Practice

The path to bright SSAT results starts with studying. Only EMA's official Online Practice and Guide Books feature four full-length tests with 600 questions created by the same people who develop the SSAT. Compared to the competition, it's no competition—you get more and pay less with our official study guides!

Get started today with the free online Mini-Practice Test to identify focus areas.

A hand drawn graphic of a plant.

Find a school that’s unbe-leaf-able!

Whatever type of private school you're looking for, we've got it. Day schools. Boarding schools. Schools that dance. Schools that play. Schools that pray. Use our Private School Search to discover the schools that will help your child hone their strengths and discover hidden talents. Where will they blossom?

Admission Concierge at Your Service

Grow your understanding of the private school application process with Admission Concierge, a free newsletter delivering timely reminders and advice throughout the application process. It's everything you need to know—precisely when you need to know it.

Stand Out With the Snapshot

The Character Skills Snapshot is an innovative measure of student preferences, attitudes, and beliefs, helping schools get to know who an applicant is rather than just what they know from grades and standardized tests—letting their uniqueness shine. Add the Snapshot to your student's application today to help them stand out.