Competition for places at your Private school of choice is intense. It is common amongst aspirational parents to be considering the choice of secondary school for your child from a very early age. Which private school conversations are hot topics at BBQs with family and friends of Primary School age children.

Each school will have their own criteria to apply to the waiting list. There are some schools where the waiting list criteria are primarily based on the age of the child at application, therefore there is an urgency in making the application as soon as possible after birth.

There are many private schools where the selection criteria are not based on how quickly you put an application for your child in after birth. With these schools, you will have time to align your family to provide the best opportunity to meet the enrolment criteria. The enrolment criteria may include:

  1. Interview with the school
  2. Review of school reports and NAPLAN
  3. Feeder schools, particularly in the case of the Catholic Education System;
  4. Involvement with your Church or community;
  5. Family ties to the school and references;
  6. Education qualification standard;

You should check with the school of your choice for the criteria for entry.

Many private schools across Australia are charging between $70 and $500 in non-refundable application fees and as much as $7200 in enrolment fees that are required to accept a place at the school. Application fees cover the cost of schools managing the application and communicating with families and can be paid anytime from birth to the time of commencing school. Enrolment fees are paid to confirm acceptance of a place for your child and will normally be paid 1-2 years prior to commencing school. The costs can add up for parents. A recent survey of more than 2000 parents conducted by found that 6 per cent said they had paid application fees for multiple private schools.

However, waiting lists can be inflated as many families will have their child on a waiting list for more than one school. If you are concerned that you are a long way down a waiting list there may be some alternatives for you to consider.

  1. Accepting a place during Primary school will ensure your child has a place for Secondary school.
  2. If you have missed out on your private school of choice in Year 7, places may open up in later years as families move and students change schools.

However, all private schools will have more applications than places. What is your plan B? As a result you will most likely need to make initial applications to a number of schools.

In our next article we will address the option of grandparents assisting with payment of school fees.

– Written by Andrew Livermore, WealthPartners Specialist Adviser
This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider you financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information.


Andrew Livermore is a Financial Adviser with WealthPartners who specialises with professionals and their families.  He is known for his method and strategies to help families pay for their children’s private school education in Sydney.

Over the coming weeks Andrew will continue address a range of topics related to deciding and paying for private education.