School is one of the most integral parts of a child's life.
From exposing children to new circumstances, experiences and people, schools help with the overall development of an individual.
Schools teach and provide children with the tools through practical as well as theoretical knowledge, and help them to acquire the necessary skills required, to be better prepared for the hurdles of life.
The right school can help nurture a child's development and help them grow in their potential, from decision-making to dealing with various situations.
For parents that are sending their child to school for the first time, or looking to change their child's school, or are moving to the UAE, the entire process from selecting which school through to securing their child's place, can be challenging to manage without any assistance.
To help make the process easier, here are some tips for registering your child into the school of your choice with as little hassle as possible.
Finding the right school
The first step is finding the right school that caters to your child.
With over 400 private schools in the UAE as well as a wide range of curriculums, from British, American, Indian, International Baccalaureate (IB) and more available, each school has their own benefits and strengths and should be looked into and considered while making a decision.
As most schools have an online presence to assist parents in their research, brochures can be found online, highlighting the services offered in the school, from academics to extracurricular activities.
Some schools also offer virtual tours, which help to get a look at the school and its facilities, assisting in further narrowing the school list down.
Travel can be an issue, and finding a school nearby helps reduce long hours spent on public transport, as well as saving more time during the day for the student.
Getting the right documents
Once a few schools have been shortlisted, the next step is to make sure all the documents are in line.
Each school has a particular set of requirements for documents, however the most important ones are, passport copies of the student, passport copies of the parents, Emirates ID, transfer certificate, vaccination cards and academic reports.
If unsure about what documents are required, the best option would be to call up the shortlisted schools, and enquire about the registration process, to ensure all the proper documentation is available and in hand.
As the registration process cannot be completed without the correct documents, find out about the school's protocol, and if the school is more flexible about providing the documents at a later stage.
Parents should, however, obtain the documents as soon as possible to add them to the system and ensure an issue does not arise with the process.
To register at the school, most application fees start at Dhs 500, and are usually a one-off payment that cannot be refunded.
Based on the number of schools applied to, the application fees may be required to be paid for each application.
Schools usually respond back within a week regarding the admission process.
Some schools may require additional assessments, which students will have to undergo to complete the registration process.
The tests taken vary, as each school does it in different ways, and can range from written tests, group assessments or one-on-one interviews.
The assessments are also determined based on the age of the student and the knowledge requirement for certain age groups.
However, students in lower grades may, in some schools, not be required to sit through assessments.
Some schools also charge a non-refundable fee for the child to sit through the assessment.
Acceptance and fees
Once the assessment is completed, students that are accepted into the school will receive an acceptance letter.
After parents have accepted and confirmed their child's spot in the school, fees need to be paid to secure the student's place.
The fees usually have to be paid within 7 to 10 days and, if not paid on time, can lose the child's place in the school.
Once paid, the child will be enroled in the school, and can begin their educational journey when the new academic year starts.
In some circumstances, when there are many applicants for a school and not enough places available, the child might be placed on the waiting list, and may or may not be given a place for the academic year.
Parents that are unsure about the school after going through with the whole registration process, need to inform the school at the earliest possible opportunity.
Based on the circumstance, parents that are eligible for a refund can obtain it, according to the set guidelines.
Parents that would like to enrol their child after the new academic year begins, should reach out to the admissions staff as they can assist ensure that the enrolment of the child is completed at the earliest date.
Enroling is a complex process to go through for parents and children, especially for families that are moving to the UAE for the first time.
The best way to make the process easier is by visiting the schools and reaching out to the admissions team, as they are responsible for the enrolment process at the school.
The school admissions team is ever ready at schools to further assist parents and children with the whole registration process, and help in answering all the queries and doubts faced.
By being sure of the decisions made, especially in choosing the school catering to your child, will help alleviate the stress and make the process a seamless one.