FAQ

Admissions

What athletic teams does University Prep have?

Fall

Middle and Upper School Boys and Girls Cross Country, Middle and Upper School Girls Volleyball, Middle School Boys and Girls and Upper School Girls Soccer, Upper School Boys Tennis, and Upper School Boys Ultimate

Winter

Middle and Upper School Boys and Girls Basketball

Spring

Upper School Girls Tennis, Middle and Upper School Boys and Girls Track and Field, Middle School Boys and Girls Ultimate, Upper School Girls Ultimate, Middle and Upper School Girls Softball, Middle and Upper School Boys Baseball, and Upper School Boys Soccer

What qualities make a student a good candidate for University Prep?

When considering applicants, our admission teams look for a variety of personal qualities. We pay particular attention to students who show potential for academic success in our college preparatory program, manifest a commitment to learning, will assume personal responsibility for making a positive contribution to the school community, and will respect the dignity of others and their surroundings. Success at UPrep typically comes to college-bound students who can profit from a school that offers small classes and close working relationships between students and teachers.

What is the admission process?

The application season runs from September 2016 through Thursday, January 12, 2017. During this time, candidates should complete the Preliminary Application form and return it with the required application fee no later than Thursday, December 8, 2016. Applying online allows you secure access to check the status of the application throughout the admission process, including online access to your child’s Upper School admission decision on February 24, 2017 or your child’s Middle School admission decision on March 17, 2017. The Parent Statement and Student Essays should be completed as soon as possible. Applicants are required to visit the school. During the visit, applicants observe classes, meet teachers and current students, and get an overall sense of the school. Parents/guardians are also strongly encouraged to tour the school during their child’s visit day. The ISEE or SSAT, two teacher evaluations (one from a current English teacher and one from a current mathematics teacher), and an interview with the applicant are required to complete the process. Upper School admission decision letters will be mailed on Thursday, February 23, 2017 and Middle School admission decision letters will be mailed on Thursday, March 17, 2017. Upper School applicants have until Tuesday, March 7, 2017 to make a decision regarding enrollment and Middle School applicants have until Tuesday, March 28, 2017 to make a decision regarding enrollment.

Do you have a college counseling program?

Yes. University Prep’s college counseling program begins in the junior year. Juniors and seniors participate in individualized conferences with the college counselors. Throughout the school year, college representatives visit campus and talk with interested students.

Are parents able to visit the school?

Yes. The best time for families to visit is during our evening Open Houses, held October 27 and November 17, 2016 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. This gives prospective parents and students an opportunity to tour the campus and talk with students, faculty, administration, and current parents. Also, parents/guardians are strongly encouraged to tour during their child’s school visit.

How do students commute to school?

Our students come from all over the greater Seattle/Eastside area and they choose a variety of ways to travel to and from school. Walking, riding bicycles, carpooling, and Metro custom bus routes servicing specific neighborhoods are popular methods of transportation. We also publish a zip code directory, which assists with carpooling.

Which admission test is administered, and what information does it provide?

The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) and the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) are administered for admission purposes. Students are only required to take one test, not both. They both provide a baseline for all who apply because it is the only common piece of information we have for all applicants. The tests are also useful in placing students in classes. Test registration materials can be obtained online at www.iseetest.org and www.ssat.org.

How is University Prep accredited?

UPrep is accredited by the Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS). The association accredits independent elementary and secondary schools in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Accreditation of an institution by NWAIS indicates that it meets or exceeds the association’s criteria for the assessment of institutional quality periodically. An accredited school is one which has the necessary resources to achieve its stated mission through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation. The NWAIS accreditation program has been awarded national recognition by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

Does the school accept students with learning disabilities?

University Prep considers applications from students with special needs and/or disabilities. Please include in the Parent Statement any information about special needs or disabilities, private test results, or psychological or educational assessments. Please contact Dr. Jane Cutter, our Learning Resource Coordinator, at 206.525.2714 ext. 205 or jcutter@universityprep.org, with any questions you may have. If you do not wish to submit such information, please understand that your application will be considered without regard to any special needs the student may have. We offer an Orton-Gillingham Language Training Program for students with language disabilities. Typically, students meet with language training teachers five hours per week. The program is limited in the number of students it can serve, and has an additional cost of $11,200 for 2016-2017.

What opportunities are there for parents to participate in the life of the school?

There are many opportunities for parents and guardians to become actively involved at University Prep. Each spring the Parent Council actively solicits parents to volunteer for the school’s many committees, including the annual Raise-the-Paddle Committee. The beginning of the school year is also a busy time for matching parent interests and talents with volunteer opportunities. Parents are encouraged to either contact their Parent Council class representatives or to directly contact the school to indicate their areas of interest. All UPrep parents are automatically considered members of the Parent Council.

Parents may participate in field trips and other class activities, act as guest speakers in the classrooms, or assist with on-campus events such as Founders Day, Grandparents Day, and Admission tours. In addition, some parents may be invited to join the Board of Trustees, which is responsible for the governance of the school.

How does the school make admission decisions?

The admission teams, consisting of faculty and administrators, read applicants’ folders and evaluate candidates in light of all information collected. The final admission decision is based on the candidate’s potential for academic excellence, commitment to learning, respect for others, and willingness to make a positive contribution to the school community. We strive to ensure that each student has the greatest chance for success in our program, asking whether University Prep is the best match for each candidate’s needs. Financial aid allocations are made by a separate committee. Upper School admission decision letters will be mailed on Thursday, February 23, 2017 and Middle School admission decision letters will be mailed Thursday, March 16, 2017.

What about fundraising at University Prep?

UPrep conducts fundraising activities to ensure that we maintain the margin of excellence in our programs. In recent years the Annual Fund has contributed over $500,000 annually to the operating budget. U Prep actively seeks and receives generous participation from current families, as well as board members, alumni and alumni parents, grandparents, faculty, staff, and friends of the school. Full community support makes it possible for the Annual Fund to offer such things as: an enriched Fine Arts program; technology upgrades providing critical tools for students and teachers in the 21st century; opportunities for faculty professional development; additional resources for the library; and better support for PE and sports teams, particularly the JV sports program.

In addition to the Annual Fund, U Prep conducts multi-year campaigns as needed to fund important organizational priorities, such as facilities improvement or endowment, as determined by the Board of Trustees. In the past year, the 40th Anniversary Faculty Fund for Innovation and the 40th Anniversary Endowed Financial Aid Fund raised over $550,000, which promote teacher excellence and support the school's commitment to diversity and equity.

In addition, the annual Raise-the-Paddle event is a community celebration that funds special projects and programs that provide faculty support and enhance student life both in and out of the classroom.

Are siblings automatically accepted to University Prep?

No. In addition to the qualities listed above, the admission teams consider a variety of factors, including gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, and sibling status when making decisions. Because the teams seek to balance each class, we are unable to accept all siblings. However, we offer an early admission process to sibling applicants whereby they receive their admission decisions in mid-December.

What is the student incidental fee?

The fee covers special trips, theater tickets, accident insurance, laboratory fees, technology fees, art fees, student publication fees, etc. This annual fee is not used for textbooks, which cost extra.

Does University Prep accept international students?

We consider international students for long-term only placement at UPrep. We do not offer boarding or English Language Learning services. Therefore, we require international students to live with a family member while enrolled in our program and English proficiency is a consideration in the admission process. Limited financial assistance is available. International students should submit an application following the same deadlines as local students. The Admission Office manages F-1 Visas.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. University Prep is committed to an economically diverse student body. Therefore, we provide financial aid to families on the basis of need. Need is determined by a process designed by Financial Aid for School Tuition (FAST) and our own Financial Aid Committee. Approximately 18% of our student body receives aid. Applications for financial aid may be obtained from the Admission Office and must be submitted to FAST by Thursday, February 9, 2017. In addition, a copy of your complete 2016 tax returns and W-2’s need to be received by University Prep by Thursday, February 9, 2017. Families who fail to submit their application by February 9 might not be considered for aid. Admission decisions and financial aid awards are made independently. Contact the Associate Director of Financial Aid at financialaid@universityprep.org if you have questions.

What does it mean to be placed in the wait pool?

Students who are placed in our wait pool are qualified alternates, but have not been accepted because of limited space. Should a vacancy occur, the team will look at all alternate candidates and select a member from the group to fill the space.

If you do not accept my child, will I be told why?

No. We are unable to share the specific reasons that lead us to make admission decisions. Because many candidates are qualified for our program, decisions are often difficult to make. Those accepted are simply slightly better matched for our program. Furthermore, applicants’ folders contain confidential information that may not be disclosed.

How long is the school day?

School hours are 8 a.m. to 2:50 p.m., after which athletics and other after-school activities begin. Middle School students may access our after school check-in program from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. daily at no additional cost. Office hours during the school year are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

What is the size of the school? How large are classes?

Enrollment is approximately 550 students in grades 6 through 12. Core class size ranges from 16 to 18 students. Electives vary and may be smaller.

What is the profile of the faculty at University Prep?

The majority of our teachers hold advanced degrees and are involved in continuing education. Our accomplished faculty have rich backgrounds in their respective fields and manifest genuine interest in their students. Faculty also spend a great deal of time with students in co-curricular activities.

How are students assessed?

Upper School: Students receive traditional letter grades (A-E) four times a year which include an interim quarter grade in the middle of each semester and the final semester grade which is reflected on the transcript. Teachers make use of a variety of assessment techniques, both formative and summative, throughout the year including, but not limited to, tests, quizzes, projects, papers, and surveys.

Middle School: Students are assessed each quarter. All four quarter report cards constitute the transcript in Middle School and each report reflects progress made during the marking period. The report card has a course-specific checklist for each subject. Each criterion on the checklist is graded using the E, M, W, N system outlined below. At the first and third quarters, teachers write a narrative report in addition to the checklist. During the second and fourth quarters, advisors prepare students to lead parent conferences and attend them as well.

E = Exceeds expectations in this area. Student is able to go above and beyond what was taught explaining patterns and ideas that are explicit and inferred.

M = Meets expectations in this area. Student is able to handle more complex ideas, concepts and skills.

W = Working to meet expectations. Student is working at grade level with help, the student understands some or most of the concepts, skills and processes of the course.

N = Does not meet expectations. Even with help, this student shows no or only partial understanding of the simpler concepts and skills.

How does the school respond to the needs of individual students?

In addition to enjoying small classes and close working relationships with teachers, students excel in a warm, caring atmosphere that allows for individualized attention. At the beginning of each school year, we assign to each student a personal advisor from among the faculty and staff. Advisors meet with students regularly and follow their progress. When necessary, advisors confer with students, teachers, and parents. Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s advisor whenever they have concerns.

What activities are offered?

Last year, activities included Student Government, National Honor Society, Mock Trial, Math Team, Students of Service, Opera Club, Philosophy Club, Projectile Club, Women in Science Club, Language Honor Societies, Multicultural Student Alliance, Gay/Straight Student Alliance, Creative Arts Society, Tailgate Club, Random Acts of Kindness Club, Politics Club, Anime Club, Magic Club, Book Club, Debate Club, and English Honor Society. In addition, we also offer a Friday Night Ski Program in the winter. These programs provide each student with the opportunity to participate in activities throughout the year.