Admissions Process

Thank you for your interest in Carolina Day School! We are looking forward to working with you and getting to know your family during the admission process.

Create your My CDS account to apply and begin your next steps. Once you have applied, a detailed checklist with action items will be provided.  From there, your My CDS account helps you stay informed during the admission process.

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How does the admissions process work?

To see an overview of the admissions process, please select the entry point that applies to your child—Lower School (Pre/K–5), Middle/Upper School (Grades 6–8), or Key School (Grades 2–8). 

Lower School

Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Applicants

Applicants to the Pre-Kindergarten program must by 3 years old, and applicants to Kindergarten must be 5 years old by September 1 of the year they matriculate.

  • Application

  • Parent Perspectives Form

  • Early Educator Questionnaire

  • Play Visit


Grades 1–5

  • Application

  • Parent Perspectives Form

  • Teacher Questionnaire

  • Transcripts

  • Applicant Visit

  • Admission Testing - You may schedule your child’s admission testing in My CDS after you submit your application.  We use the KBIT-2, a measure of aptitude, and the KTEA-3 brief, a measure of achievement for admission testing.

Middle/Upper School

Middle/Upper School

  • Application

  • Parent Perspectives Form

  • English & Math Teacher Recommendations

  • Optional Recommendation

  • Transcripts

  • Applicant Visit

  • Admission Testing

    • Middle School Applicants: You may schedule your child’s admission testing in My CDS after you submit your application.  We use the KBIT-2, a measure of aptitude, and the KTEA-3 brief, a measure of achievement for admission testing.

    • Upper School Applicants: Applicants must take the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT).  Please register online directly at www.ssat.org. To avoid delays, indicate that test scores should be sent to Carolina Day School, code 2100, during registration. If your child has previously taken nationally standardized tests (such as PSAT, SAT, or ACT), please contact our Admission Team before registering for the SSAT.

Key School

Key School

Key School accepts students in Grades 2-8  with a primary diagnosis of a language-based learning difference such as dyslexia. An applicant’s cognitive ability (Full Scale Intelligence Quotient determined by a psychologist) must fall in the average to superior range. Our program requires that students have the intellectual ability to acquire information and move forward in our curriculum.

  • Application

  • Psychological Educational Evaluation - A comprehensive psychological educational evaluation completed by a licensed psychologist within the past two years is required to determine whether our program is suited to your child’s needs. Please call for information about testing requirements or if you need a referral for an evaluation.

  • Teacher Recommendations

  • Professional Recommendation

  • Transcripts

  • Informal Student Assessment - Applicants meet one-on-one with a member of the Key School team for an informal assessment of reading, spelling, written expression, and math skills.

  • Applicant Visit - If placement seems appropriate, the applicant is invited for a student visit,  during which Key School teachers assist in evaluating educational needs as well as other factors affecting a possible placement.

Application Fees

  • Apply by October 31: No application fee

  • Apply after October 31: $50 application fee per applicant*

  • International applicants: $50

*There is no application fee for families relocating from within the United States.

Application Dates

We suggest that families apply as soon as possible since the availability of enrollment spaces, tuition assistance funding, and scholarships awards (for Upper School students) may be limited.  

Winter Decision for Admission Applications completed by November 15, 2019 

For applicants to Lower, Middle and Upper School
Key School applicants, please refer to dates below

Families applying for Tuition Assistance must submit a completed Tuition Assistance Application and all supporting documents by November 15 to be considered for a Winter Decision. As part of the Upper School admission process, all applicants are considered for Merit Scholarships. Merit scholarship funds are distributed to as many qualifying applicants as possible.

Winter Decisions are communicated to applicants in Early January 2019.

Spring Decision for Admission Applications completed by February 1, 2020

For applicants to Lower, Middle and Upper School
Key School applicants, please refer to dates below

Families applying for Tuition Assistance must submit a completed Tuition Assistance Application and all supporting documents by February 1 to be considered for a Spring Decision. As part of the Upper School admission process, all applicants are considered for Merit Scholarships. Merit scholarship funds are distributed to as many qualifying applicants as possible.

Spring Decisions are communicated to applicants in Early March.

Key School Applicants

Applicants to Key School who have completed the application process by February 1 may expect to receive decisions in early March in grades where space is available.

Rolling Decision for Admission Applications completed after February 1, 2020

For applicants to Lower, Middle and Upper School

Applicants who complete the admission process after February 1 will have their completed applications reviewed on a rolling basis in grades where space is available.

It is unlikely that any Merit Scholarship will be available for students applying to Upper School; however, if any remains, it will be distributed to qualifying applicants.   

Tuition Assistance is sometimes still available. Students whose families are requesting Tuition Assistance should apply as soon as possible since enrollment decisions and Tuition Assistance decisions are communicated at the same time.