Admissions FAQs

List of 16 frequently asked questions.

  • When is the application deadline?

    All application materials must be submitted by 4 p.m. on January 14, 2021. Once this deadline has passed, applications are considered on a rolling basis in the spring and summer for any grades that have openings.
  • When should I start the application process?

    The application process begins in the fall prior to the year your student would enter Bush (e.g., begin applying in the fall of 2020 for entry in the 2021–22 school year). While our application deadline is January 14, 2021, applicants are encouraged to begin the process as soon as possible.
  • Does Bush accept international applicants?

    The Bush School has a robust community of scholars hailing from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, including a very small number of international students (defined as those who do not hold U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status). Please note, The Bush School does not currently support the I-20 student visa for international students, and does not offer boarding or English Language Learning services. For these reasons, international applicants must live with a family member while enrolled at The Bush School. English proficiency is also a requirement of our academic program.
  • What are Bush’s major entry points? How many openings does Bush have each year?

    Kindergarten, Sixth Grade, and Ninth Grade are the main entry points at The Bush School. Each year, Bush typically welcomes 34 new Kindergarteners, 25-30 new Sixth Grade students, and 25–30 new Ninth Grade students. Openings in other grades vary each year, and depend on the number of returning students, space availability, and the current gender balance of the class.
  • What is the size of the school? What is an average class size?

    Enrollment at The Bush School is approximately 694 students Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade. Core class sizes are an average of sixteen students, while elective courses in Middle and Upper School may be smaller.
  • Is there an age requirement for Kindergarten applicants?

    The Bush School requires that all Kindergarten students be five years of age by September 1 of their enrollment year.
  • What is your sibling policy?

    The Bush School offers sibling applicants and children of faculty and staff an early admissions process, which allows families to apply early to Bush and receive notification of admission in mid-December. While The Bush School’s program is a good match for the majority of siblings and children of faculty and staff applicants, acceptance is not guaranteed as the admissions process takes into account a complex set of criteria.
  • Does Bush have a wait list?

    A student who has completed the application process by the deadline and has been deemed admissible by the Admissions Committee may be placed in the alternate pool if spaces are available in the grade to which the student has applied. Students in the alternate pool are not ranked. Should space become available, the school will offer admission based on the current composition of that grade (including gender balance, interests, diversity, and financial aid, among others). Applicants will remain in the alternate pool until the start of the school year. There is no multi-year waiting list.
  • Where do Bush students live and how do they commute to school?

    Bush students live across the greater Seattle area. While most students live in the Seattle city limits, Mercer Island, or the inner Eastside, students travel to Bush from fifty-nine different zip codes each year. While we do not offer bus transportation through the school, we do publish a zip code directory each summer to assist with carpooling arrangements.
  • How do parents get involved at The Bush School?

    The Bush School Families Association (FA) is an organization made up of all parents and guardians of Bush students. The FA acts as the main communication link between the parent body and the school; they provide wonderful opportunities for parents/guardians to get involved in the community, whether they are able to make a long-term commitment or only have a few hours to spare. Volunteering is an integral part of the Bush experience, whether parents and guardians help in the classroom, organize parent education sessions, serve on various committees, help plan events, or choose from many other volunteering opportunities on campus.
  • Is The Bush School accredited?

    The Bush School is accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) and the State of Washington. Bush is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and the Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS).
  • What kinds of learning support services are available to students?

    The Bush School is committed to helping each student become an independent, successful learner. Support at The Bush School starts with the prioritization of individual attention. Bush's learning environment emphasizes kindness and understanding within the community, so students are free to focus on their learning. Bush faculty members are dedicated to helping all students in all matters.

    When a teacher determines that a student may need assistance beyond the individual help that the teacher can provide, the issue is raised with the appropriate adults in the community, including parents/guardians, advisors, support personnel, and administration. Communication among all parties is timely, frequent, and detailed.

    Specialized support personnel in each division fortify student efforts academically, developmentally, emotionally, and physically. A variety of personnel and programs contribute to the cognitive, social, psychological, and emotional development of the whole child through prevention, intervention, and support.
  • What is the Middle School E-lective program?

    E-lectives are an experiential program where Middle School students discover new interests, develop interpersonal, collaborative, and leadership skills, and take on real or perceived risks in a safe and nurturing environment.

    Students experience a range of different activities: some familiar, and some that present new and exciting challenges. The E-lective program runs throughout the school year on Tuesdays from 1:30 to 3:25 p.m. and on Fridays from 1:45 to 3:25 p.m., and provides every student with the opportunity to explore and develop lifelong skills and interests.

    E-lectives focus on five essential elements: critical thinking, creativity, community, collaboration, and challenge. As the core experiential program in the Middle School, E-lectives build on skills learned in the classroom and enhance the learning process outside the classroom, necessary elements in educating the whole child.

    Over the course of a three-year period, students can take up to eighteen E-lective courses. During those three years, students are required to take a variety of E-lectives from the seven categories:

    Categories of E-lectives:
    1. Athletics/Team
    2. Arts
    3. Service Learning/Community Engagement
    4. Global Issues/Sustainability
    5. STEM
    6. Wilderness/Wilderness Skills
    7. Physical Fitness/Mindfulness
  • What is the Cascades Immersion Program?

    The Cascades Immersion Program is an essential part of the Upper School experience. The Bush School divides the Upper School program into two semesters in the fall and spring, and two three-week Cascades terms in the winter and spring.  During each Cascade, students take a single interdisciplinary course of study, led by interdepartmental teaching teams. These thematic immersive experiences are comprised of students across all Upper School grade levels.
    Cascades are academically engaging, challenging, and require students to solve complex problems and face real-life challenges both on- and off-campus. Examples of Cascades include: Social Justice Filmmaking; Music and Radio Production; Death Valley, Desert Ecology, and Climate Change; Morocco Cultural Immersion.
  • Is after school care available?

    After school care is available to Lower and Middle School students through our Extended Day program. The Bush School's Extended Day Program is a child-centered environment focused on the development of social skills, intellectual curiosity, self-esteem, and a sense of responsibility for one’s own actions. Extended Day runs from dismissal to 6 p.m. Special schedules are communicated ahead of time.

    Extended Day meets the needs of students through a variety of activities and programs, ranging from free play to guided experiences in art, science, music, and physical education. Students can use the resources of the library as well as a large assortment of materials in the Extended Day main room. After-school clubs consist of enrichment courses inspired by Bush's progressive, hands-on approach and are taught by quality contractors. Offerings include robotics, LEGO engineering, Mandarin, sewing, chess club, smart art, and more.
  • What sports are offered for Bush students?

    70% of Bush students participate in the athletic program, which provides opportunities for continued physical, social, and personal development in a competitive, challenging, and supportive environment. Bush follows a no-cut philosophy, which allows any student who demonstrates interest and commitment to participate.

    Visit the Athletics section of our website to view our Team List.

Financial Aid FAQs

List of 15 frequently asked questions.

  • What is need-based financial aid? How is a financial aid award determined?

    The Bush School offers need-based financial aid. This means that financial aid awards are based solely on need or the family’s ability to pay for tuition. The Bush School does not provide academic or merit-based scholarships. In order to determine need, parents submit the School and Student Services by NAIS (SSS by NAIS) financial aid application including the Parent Financial Statement (PFS) and supporting tax documents. The application process typically takes approximately forty-five minutes to complete.

    SSS by NAIS uses a specific methodology to assess the financial resources a family has available to contribute towards the educational expenses of their children. Some factors that SSS by NAIS takes into account are: income (both taxable and nontaxable), assets (home equity, savings, bonds, etc.), expenses, indebtedness, family size, age of parents/guardians (to allow for retirement savings), and the number of students attending tuition-charging schools. The result of this evaluation is included in a Report of Family Contribution (RFC). The Financial Aid Committee uses the RFC as a starting point from which to determine a financial aid award.

    In the financial aid process, The Bush School does not discriminate against any applicant on the basis of gender, religion, creed, national origin, race, color, ethnicity, cultural background, family structure or sexual orientation.
  • Is a financial aid award a loan or grant? Does the award have to be repaid?

    The Bush School financial aid awards are grants that do not need to be repaid. The Bush School financial aid program does not issue loans or money that needs to be repaid. This financial aid model is common in colleges and universities. Instead, financial aid awards at Bush are grants or an actual reduction of the cost of tuition that does not have to be repaid.
  • Who is eligible to apply for financial aid? What is the income range of current families receiving financial aid at Bush?

    All admissions applicants and current Bush students are eligible to apply for financial aid. We recognize the increasing burden tuition places on middle-income families, and the financial aid committee works to ensure that The Bush School fits within your family’s budget. The annual income range for financial aid families at Bush is $20,000 to $275,000. The average annual income of financial aid families is $135,000. Financial aid awards range from $6,000 to $36,885. We believe that forty-five minutes of financial aid paperwork is worth the time to explore this possibility. We hope you will take the next step and complete the application at SSS by NAIS.
  • Does applying for financial aid hurt my child’s chances of being admitted to The Bush School?

    Financial aid decisions are made independently of admissions decisions. The admissions committee and the financial aid committee manage two separate but parallel processes during the application period. A student’s eligibility for admission is determined first. Following the admissions decision, the financial aid committee allocate financial aid awards to admitted students.
  • When will I receive a decision regarding financial aid?

    For new students, financial aid decisions are mailed along with admission decisions (Upper School on Friday, February 21, 2020; Lower and Middle School on Friday, March 20, 2020). Returning students will receive financial aid awards during the re-enrollment period in late January with the enrollment agreement for the following school year.
  • Do I have to reapply for financial aid each year?

    Financial aid is a financial partnership between a family and the school. As part of this important partnership and in following best practice, The Bush School requires all financial aid recipients complete a financial aid application each year. The SSS by NAIS financial aid application updates the new year.

    If there have not been any major increases or decreases in a family's total income and assets, the percentage of the financial aid award applied toward tuition will remain consistent from year to year. Returning families must also be current in the payment of the current year’s account in order to be eligible for financial aid award for the coming year.
  • Is the information including in the financial aid application kept confidential?

    Financial aid applications are only reviewed by the Financial Aid Committee. The information included in financial aid applications as well as decisions is safeguarded and confidential.
  • Does financial aid cover cost of attendance including non-tuition school fees and other expenses?

    Financial aid at Bush covers some, but not all, of the non-tuition cost of attendance items. Additional expenses include: books, lunch account, school trips, and the school yearbook, Tykoe. These range up to $150 in the Lower School, $500 in the Middle School, and $700 in the Upper School. Specific items are covered at the same percentage as the financial aid award for tuition like textbooks, retreats, field trips, and after school care.
  • Can I apply for financial aid after my child is enrolled at The Bush School?

    The Bush School encourages all applicants who are interested in financial aid to apply during the initial admission process. Returning students are eligible to complete a financial aid application; however, awards cannot be guaranteed in subsequent years for current students who are new to financial aid.
  • Is there an appeals process if the financial aid award?

    The Financial Aid Committee works carefully to review financial aid applications and allocate financial aid awards that make the tuition at Bush affordable and accessible to a wide range of families within the resources of the financial aid budget; however, there are instances in which the allocated award does not meet the families expectations. In this case, please send a written appeal to the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid and provide any additional background information and documentation.
  • Are there opportunities for academic or merit-based scholarships?

    No, all financial aid at The Bush School is need-based.
  • Is there a minimum GPA in the Upper School required to maintain a student’s financial aid eligibility?

    No. The Bush School maintains the same standards of academic performance and behavior for recipients of financial aid as it does for non-recipients.
  • If parents are divorced or separated, who fills out the financial aid application?

    The Bush School believes that primary responsibility for paying for a student’s education rests with both parents. Financial aid is awarded based on ability to pay, not the willingness to pay. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all parents to complete all steps in the application process.
  • What if a non-custodial parent is not willing to complete the financial aid application?

    The Bush School requires the non-custodial parent to complete the financial aid application if he or she has contact with their child. Financial aid is determined by the parents’ ability to pay rather than their willingness. In the case when a non-custodial parent does not have contact with their child over an extended period of time, and does not provide financial support, this requirement can be waived.
  • Who should I call if I have questions about the SSS financial aid application?

    Contact SSS Customer Service at 1-800-844-8328 or sss@nais.org. Assistance is available in both English and Spanish.