When applying for an international school in Singapore, planning ahead is crucial as it makes the process of applying and transferring to a new school seamless. At One World International School, the academic year runs from August to July. At most grade levels, we accept new students throughout the year. Our secondary curricula (IGCSE for Grades 9-10 and IB DP for Grades 11-12) each last for two years, so it’s difficult to admit students in the middle of the programmes. If you’d like to join our school community, here’s what you need to know about the best time to apply for a place at OWIS.
School start dates
School registration and school joining dates frequently depends on when students arrive in Singapore and the academic schedule at their previous school. Those coming from the Northern Hemisphere (the United States, Canada, Mexico and many European countries for example) tend to follow an academic calendar similar to ours and we have many new students joining us from these places at the beginning of our academic year.
On the other hand, students from the Southern Hemisphere (Australia, New Zealand and countries in South America) are usually accustomed to a January-December school year. These families are especially likely to pursue OWIS admissions at the beginning of the calendar year. In some Asian countries, such as Japan, India and South Korea, the school year begins in March-April and ends in February-March. Students from these countries tend to enrol at OWIS half way through our academic year.
Allowing enough time for transitions from other schools
At OWIS, we also have a number of students who come to us from other schools in Singapore. As these schools do not necessarily follow the same schedule as ours, students who want to transfer to OWIS may register with us at any time during the school year.
Another consideration for international school admissions is allowing enough time to navigate the withdrawal and application process. Be sure to register your child at OWIS before withdrawing from his or her current school as some schools in Singapore require at least six months’ notice of a student’s planned withdrawal due to tuition payment cycles. You would also need to factor in some time to obtain your child’s previous school reports before admission.
Applying for OWIS Admissions
We recommend applying to OWIS early — up to a year before your anticipated enrolment date, if possible — for several reasons.
- OWIS admissions are on a first-come, first-served basis — subject to certain entry requirements. We may also conduct assessments to ensure our school is a good fit for your child.
- Certain grade levels are likely to reach full capacity at the beginning of the school year. If a child seeks admission later in the year, we may not have space available in some grade levels. Early school registration places students in a better position to be guaranteed a seat at OWIS.
- To optimise diversity, we ensure that the number of students of a particular nationality doesn’t exceed 30%. Once we reach the nationality cap, subsequent applicants of that nationality are placed on a waitlist for admission.
- Parents prefer to plan ahead for admission to OWIS. Before they can give notice that they’re planning to withdraw their child from his or her current school, they must ensure that they have a place secured at OWIS. Initiating the international school admissions process well ahead of time allows parents to manage this transition as seamlessly as possible.
- Likewise, expat families relocating to OWIS need plenty of time to plan the move and find school placements — especially if they have multiple school-age children or children in higher grade levels. Parents often want to have a guaranteed place at school for their children even before they start planning the move to ensure that relocating doesn’t interrupt their education.
At the same time, we want to emphasise that early registration is not mandatory and we have welcomed families who have arrived in Singapore on the weekend, and have been supported by our admissions team to join us within the week.
Applying to an international school is an important decision, one that certainly should not be made in haste. We encourage parents to talk to our admissions team to learn more about applying to OWIS. Contact us to book a virtual tour. We look forward to meeting you!
This blog was originally written in collaboration with Jasween Gill, former Admissions and Communications Director, OWIS Nanyang and Suntec.