Education Cheat Sheet: Navigating Private School Admission During a Pandemic

If you’re looking at private schools for the first time, here are a few resources to get you started.


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Recently I was asked what has changed at Hawai’i private schools because of the COVID-19. I responded “everything.” While that is not entirely true, especially since schools continue to uphold their missions of providing excellent learning experiences for their students, it also isn’t an exaggeration. The pandemic has forced teachers and administrators to move swiftly to not just survive, but to thrive in entirely new ways.


Private schools have had to think creatively about everything from admissions to daily instruction. Still, by the 2020 fall semester, nearly all private school students in Hawaii were able to return to in-person learning, in some capacity; many even before then. The ability of autonomous private schools to act nimbly has served them well over the last 10 months, allowing campuses to quickly establish safety protocols and alter classrooms for students. This flexibility is an attribute that has served independent schools well over the course of the last 10 months, allowing them to establish safety protocols and alter learning environments so that they could welcome students back to campus quickly and safely.


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Recognizing that the disruption of the pandemic means that many families are still considering school options for their children, many schools have extended their admissions deadlines or even switched to a rolling admissions process to accept students until all seats are filled. But for first-time applicants, finding all the information you need can be daunting. So HAIS created an entire resource section on its website devoted to helping families. There, you can find recorded webinars that cover topics such as financial aid and starting the school search process. The Find a School search allows you to filter school options based on a variety of preferences including grade levels, religious affiliation and boarding capabilities.


Resources on


Find a School Search

Did you know there are 112 private K-12 schools in Hawaiʻi? Use the HAIS search to find the right fit for your child.


Standard Application Online (SAO)

Use one application to apply to several schools at the same time with this K12 version of the higher education Common Application.


Explore Financial Aid Resources

Find commonly asked questions and a webinar with experts.


SEE ALSO: Learn How Private Schools Innovated During the Pandemic


Learning About Education

Read the Education Cheat Sheet Blog to learn about trends and demystify buzz words from local educators.


Find an Open House

Schools are offering everything from virtual to drive-through options.


Explore the 2021 Private School Guide and be on the lookout for the 2022 Guide this July. There you will find a complete listing of all private schools in Hawai’i.


Deanna D’Olier is the associate director of the Hawai‘i Association of Independent Schools (HAIS). She is a former teacher and holds a master’s degree in education, with 20 years of experience in the field. She is also a wife and mother of two daughters, ages 10 and 13.