|  
Application Guidelines
1: Waiting Lists And The 8 Step Application Process
International schools in Hong Kong have very long waiting lists and receive hundreds of applications every year.

For example, as of February 2014, Discovery College had a waiting list of 90 applicants for Year 1 and Year 2; 120 applicants on the waiting list for Y5 and 140 for Y6. English Schools Foundation (ESF) received 1,980 applications for Y1 across all their primary schools, but are only able to offer 1020 places. Hong Kong International School received 350 Reception 1 applications for 135 places.

Applications at some schools for academic year 2014/2015

School, Year level(s) # Applications Received # Spaces offered
ESF English Schools Foundation (all), Year 1 1980 1020
HKIS Hong Kong International School, Reception 1 350 135
GSIS (Engl) German Swiss International School, Year 1 300+ 12

There are many factors that can affect a child’s priority position on a waiting list, including debenture holders, siblings, and children of school staff. As a result, waiting lists continuously change and applicants may find themselves moving up or down the waitlist even if an application is filed from birth or before others who have gained a place.

It is imperative that you begin your school search as soon possible. Understand that your first-choice school may not have a vacancy for your child, and your child may not pass the assessment.

What you need to know before you begin:

  • British or American Passport holders do NOT receive priority at any international schools
  • The English Schools Foundation (ESF) is one of the most popular school systems in Hong Kong, Applications are accepted (chronologically by date) starting in Sept. Application deadline is in October. (Late applications are accepted, but are put at the bottom of the chronological pile.)
  • Some schools will not accept an application once a deadline has passed and others will put your name on a ‘late submission list’ (Canadian Int’l School, ESF, Chinese International School, Independent Schools Foundation Academy, Singaporean Int’l School)
  • British curriculum schools will only accept Y11 (and up) students if they come from the British curriculum, as they have already prepared for the GCSE.

What you need to know when you begin: 8 step process

1. Search
Familiarize yourself with the schools by searching the free interactive search database on schoolfinder.hk

2. Seek Advice
School placement consultants, realtors, and relocation agents can offer advice.

3. Apply Early
Apply early even if the move to Hong Kong might not happen for 2 years, submit applications anyway. The applications submissions period is usually from Sept. to Nov.

4. Submit Multiple Applications
Submit multiple applications to several schools since your first choice may not be available. Ensure all documentation and records are complete.

5. Visit
Visit schools as early as possible. Meet with the teachers and observe the classes. Always make an effort to meet with a Principal or admissions manager.

6. Follow-Up
Follow-up with schools at least one week after you submit the application.

7. Reach Out
Reach out to admissions managers and directors frequently, and send updated reports and other new information on your child’s achievements.

8. Prepare for Test
Prepare your child for the interview and testing; make sure they are relaxed on the day.
2: Application Timing
Every school has different application due dates, but here are some guidelines to keep in mind.

MONTH Arrange Notes
Sept. – Nov. Applications accepted and due
Dec. – Feb. Interviews and testing (in person)
Mar. – Apr. Results announced,downpayments due (within 2 weeks),no deferments
3: Admission Requirements
Interviews and assessments

Almost all schools have interview and assessment requirements for entry at all year levels, including kindergarten. The content and structure of the interview and assessments differ according to school and year level. However, there are some core traits that are similar across most schools:

TYPICAL INTERVIEW AND TESTING FORMATS

YEAR LEVEL GROUP FORMAT INTERVIEW ONE-ON-ONE INTERVIEW TESTING
Kindy/Pre-school(up to 4-5yrs.) Usually unaccompanied,observation of motor skills and socializiation skills Sometimes unaccompanied
Reception/Lowerprimary(5-8yrs.) Unaccompanied observation of group-interactions, group work Unaccompanied, questions include maths and English/communication skills Maths, English
Upper primary (8-11yrs.) Unaccompanied, observation of group-interactions, group work Unaccompanied, questions include maths (applied) and English/communication skills Maths, English
Secondary (11yrs. and up) - - Maths, English, Problem Solving/Reasoning, Mandarin (or other second language)
4: English Requirements
English fluency expected

Most schools, with the notable exception of Delia School of Canada (Taikoo Shing) require fluency in English. Some schools are stricter than others, but most expect English fluency for entry in to all grades (ages 4 and up) if the primary language of instruction at that school is English.
5: Tuition Fees, and Debentures
Tuition Fees: HKD70,000/USD9,000 and up

All international and ESF school fees are high. In general, they range from a minimum of HKD70,000 to a mximum of around HKD200,000.

Tuition Costs (lowest possible, full day, 5 day rates in HKD)

GRADE LEVEL LOWEST HIGHEST
Primary LIS: 58,400 (Lantau Int’l School) HKIS: 155,700 (Hong Kong Int’l School)
Secondary KCCIS: 88,000 (Kiangsu Chekiang College, Int’l Section) CIS: 179,800 (Chinese Int’l School)
Most schools, with the notable exception of Delia School of Canada (Taikoo Shing) require fluency in English. Some schools are stricter than others, but most expect English fluency for entry in to all grades (ages 4 and up) if the primary language of instruction at that school is English.