Apply To Private Schools With
the Standard Application Online

The Standard Application Online (SAO) is the most efficient way of applying to private schools. Why spend hours pouring over multiple application forms and essays when our premier common application is accepted at over 400 top private schools in North America? Save yourself the time and frustration of individual applications by starting your SAO today!

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How does the SAO work?

The SAO is your best option for submitting private school applications for students entering prekindergarten through grade 12. It works by standardizing all necessary forms and documentation from teacher recommendations to student essays into one simple online application.

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Account Creation

Get started today by creating an account in our family portal. You can also use your account to access Admission Academy, the SSAT, and the Character Skills Snapshot.

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Family Profile

The SAO easily handles multi-household families, letting schools know whom to contact and where to send their materials.

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Interests and Achievements

Help schools get to know your child by submitting interests and academic or personal achievements. Even upload multimedia links such as YouTube channels or blog pages to highlight athletic, art, or writing abilities.

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Required Documentation

Add parent statements, student essays, recommendations, and transcripts once and seamlessly submit them to all schools to which you apply. School-specific instructions and supplemental forms are clearly indicated.

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Recommendation & Transcript Requests

Make recommendation requests and track submissions through the SAO. Likewise, request transcripts from school administrators by officially signing release forms through the system.

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Standardized Test Results

Track individual school requirements for the SSAT and the Character Skills Snapshot, and individually release scores and results to each school.

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Financial Aid

Financial aid applications are managed separately through each school; however, you indicate whether your family intends to apply for tuition assistance on the SAO.

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All-in-One Dashboard

Track individual school deadlines and the completion of all SAO applications through one convenient dashboard!

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Family Support

Have a question or hit a snag? No problem! Quickly access FAQ answers in our Help Center, or contact our friendly Support team for more detailed questions.

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School Participation

Participating schools give SAO submissions equal consideration as those submitted through the school’s website. In many cases, schools have integrated the SAO with their native admission application.

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Application Fees

All school application fees are charged through the SAO, and the convenience cost of using the SAO is only $6 per application. Families that receive an application fee waiver from the school won’t incur either charge.

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Want the inside scoop on using the Standard Application Online? Listen to Jeanne Crowell, associate director of admissions, Pre-K–12, at Princeton Day School, and Sunaina Khanna, associate director of product management at The Enrollment Management Association, discuss the time-saving benefits of applying to private schools with the SAO.

conversation with Kristen Carey
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What Our Schools Are Saying

Quentin McDowell

Acting Head of School

Mercersburg Academy (PA)

"At a time when we are trying to reduce barriers, create access, and alleviate unnecessary stress on families, the value of the SAO has never been more evident."

What Our Schools Are Saying

Doug Price

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid

Middlesex (MA)

"We know that many families find the school application process complex and daunting...The SAO is a rich application platform that is both family friendly and provides admission officers with ample information on each applicant.

Advice Articles

Apply Smarter (Not Harder) With the SAO

Watch this recorded presentation to learn how to save time by submitting a single admission application to over 400 private schools.

How to Write an Awesome Private School Admission Essay

Private school admission officers read hundreds of application essays. Here's how your child's essay can stand out from the crowd.

Recommendation Letters: Who Should You Ask — And How?

Having trouble determining who to ask for private school admission recommendation letters — and how to go about asking them? We've got you covered!

Let’s get going!

One application, over 400 participating schools! Start saving time today with the SAO.

Start Your Application