University School welcomes applicants for current year transfers and for 2016-2017 (grades 3-12). The application and admission processes are explained below. Furthermore, we invite you to learn more about USL, to visit our campus, to see our classes in action, to have your child spend a school day with us, and to speak with our students, parents, and faculty. If you are applying for financial aid for 2016-2017 (and 20-25% of USL students receive financial aid each year - up to 90%), you can begin the process by following the link below.
University School is for students who strive to be high-achieving, and we value most the student who is kind, hardworking, empathetic and intellectually curious. The student body ranges from students with grit and determination who are working hard to reach their full potential academically to well-rounded students who are dynamic leaders and mentors to academic prodigies who refine their gifts while advancing their social and emotional skills. The result is a unique and varied collection of students who benefit from an array of learning experiences, on and off campus, that open their hearts and minds. The result is an individual who can thrive in a wide array of settings and can excel in working with all types of people.
Each potential student is evaluated on the above criteria through a comprehensive admissions process, and this information allows us to get a full view of your child.
The application and recommendation forms are available for download. Just click on the form you need. If you have difficulty with this, please contact us. We will email or mail the forms to you.
If you wish to apply for enrollment for your child in University School of the Lowcountry, please follow this guideline:
1. Shadow Day
If after learning more about University School through the website, an on-campus tour, attendance at an Open House, etc., and you feel USL may be a good fit for your child, please schedule a day for him/her to shadow at the school. Students can shadow more than one time, but the first visit must be on a non-LOTC (field learning day, typically Wednesday) day. Please arrive between 7:30 and 7:40 on the agreed upon date. Your child will need a lunch, snack, writing utensil and a notebook. Because we have PE every day, they should wear shoes for running and dress to approximate our dress code (khaki/navy bottoms and a collared shirt). They should stay the entire day until dismissal at 2:55 (Intermediate School, grades 3-5) or 3:10 (Middle & Upper Schools, grades 6-8 / grades 9-12). Parents are welcome to join in the morning for the tour and for Morning Meeting and the first class of the day. Determining from the child, the parents, and USL how the shadow day went (does it appear to be a good fit) then determines whether a family should begin the application process for their child.
2. Application & Fee
The feedback your child provides about his/her shadow day and the feedback from USL will help you decide whether to apply to University School. If so, please submit a completed Application for Admission along with a non-refundable $75 Application Fee. The priority deadline for admission for 2017-2018 is January 31, 2017. After the priority deadline, applicants are considered on a rolling admission and space-available basis:
Application for Admission (includes student essay) (PDF)
3. Receipt of Records
Please complete and send the Parent Authorization for the Release of School Records form to your child’s school. This will give permission to your child's school to send us your child's transcript.
4. Receipt of Recommendations
Please ensure the completion and return of the three recommendations:
- Math teacher
- English teacher
* Students in elementary school may have only one teacher for Math and English. In this case, he/she should fill out both. However, we are interested in gaining three distinct perspectives on your child, so please have another teacher (ex. the prior year's teacher) also complete the teacher/coach/mentor recommendation.
5. Admissions Test
Please schedule an appointment for your child to take University School’s admissions test. Testing can be scheduled in conjunction with the Interview (step 6).
Your child will likely be interviewed during his/her shadow day at University School. If not, the interview will be conducted in conjunction with the administration of the Admissions Test (step 5).
7. Admission Decision
Once this process has been completed and a decision about the applicant’s admission made, the parents/guardians will be notified. Students who apply by the January 31, 2017, deadline will be notified by March 1, 2017. After January 31, 2017, applications and acceptance decisions will be considered on a rolling admissions basis.
8. Agreement to Enroll
If your child should be invited to join University School, your prompt acceptance will be important. Upon agreeing to enroll your child, pertinent forms will be sent to you. Please complete and return these forms with a $750 deposit (which is applied to the student's tuition for the year).
In conclusion, your child will benefit from University School. We pledge to help your child be:
- Actively engaged and motivated to learn
- Challenged by creative school curriculum and guided by superior teachers
- Independent and self-directed to confidently pursue his or her interests
- Well-prepared for the demands of secondary and higher education
- A responsible young citizen with an awareness of and involvement in the greater community and world
- A respectful, responsible young adult
University School admits students of any race, color, religion, sex, and national or ethnic origin who demonstrate sufficient promise of academic success and parent-student agreement with and subscription to the school's philosophy and regulations.
Intermediate School (grades 3-5) Tuition (2017-2018) .......11,250
Middle School (grades 6-8) Tuition (2017-2018)................11,850
Upper School (grades 9-12) Tuition (2017-2018)...............12,500
Textbooks / Class materials Fee.....................................400
* Please note - The costs of Learning Outside the Classroom experiences (both weekly field trips and weeklong out-of-state excursions for the Middle and Upper Schools) are included in tuition, and the below table includes our historical data for tuition and fees.
** Our financial model is prudent and represents an incredible value in comparison to our peer, national caliber, independent schools. The average tuition increase is less than $200 per year in the past ten years. Here are the summary results of our 2015-2016 school year audit from the accounting firm of Glaser and Co. USL has its business-side in good order and carries no debt. Although financial measurements will never be a true indicator of the School’s success, some are very important for the long-term health and viability of the school. One of these is how much of every dollar the School spends that goes to supporting its mission. In the case of University School for 2015-2016, $0.90 of every dollar spent went back to supporting the mission of the School. For our peer schools, the average is $0.68-0.85.
*** Tuition schedules reflect a pre-payment discount for families choosing to pre-pay the entire year's tuition and fees or to pay in two installments. For full-year prepayment, the book fee ($400) will be waived. For two-installments' plans, $200 of the $400 book fee will be waived.
Sample Tuition & Fees Schedule (2017-2018) Intermediate School (grades 3-5)
* the following reflect payments after the $750 deposit
Single Payment (due 7/15/17).....10500
Two Payments (due 7/15/17 & 12/15/17).....5350
Nine Payments (due monthly 7/15/17 through 3/15/18).....1211.11
A University School of the Lowcountry education is an investment in your child’s future. It is also a significant financial investment. Our financial aid program provides need-based tuition assistance to families who would otherwise not be able to attend USL.
No student who meets the admissions criteria should be deterred by financial reasons from applying to University School. Parents who require aid are encouraged to apply for an award. Grants of financial aid are not intended to cover 100% of the cost of attendance at USL: the current policy for maximum award is 90%. All families are expected to contribute to the cost of their student’s education.
Families are asked to submit financial aid applications online, and financial aid decisions are made independently of admissions decisions. Applications are processed by FAST Financial Aid for School Tuition, and the results are returned to University School. There is a $38 application processing fee that must be paid via credit card at the time the on-line application is submitted.The financial aid program is managed in accordance with USL's Non-Discrimination Policy. * When submitting tax forms to FAST, please write "University School of the Lowcountry" under your return address on the envelope to speed the processing of your application.
Should I apply for aid?
Few families find it “easy” to pay tuition at independent schools. Most adjust their spending priorities, maximize their earnings, and carefully manage assets to do so. We would like to provide guidelines to help you decide whether to apply for aid, but each family’s combination of circumstances is unique. The most helpful guideline comes from your own knowledge of your family’s finances. Think of your monthly budget and then calculate the annual amount which you feel you can pay. If this amount is less than the amount of the annual tuition, you may be a candidate for financial aid.
Click here to fill out your FAST application online.
University School of the Lowcountry is committed to its growth as an institution that welcomes and values a diversified school community. The school does not discriminate on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, religion, economic background, or any other classification protected by law in the administration of its educational policies, financial assistance policies, or any other school policy or program.