Once you have made your decision to move to Hong Kong, make sure to contact the school of your choice as early as possible. This means that you should get in touch with the schools’ administrations even before your departure to Hong Kong. Upon your arrival, you should schedule some appointments for you and your child to visit the schools of your choice and meet their staff as well as other students. This will give you a better impression of their programs and facilities.
Each school has its own admission policy and requirements. Every applicant has to take an entrance exam, testing their knowledge of the English language and often math skills as well. Moreover, there will probably be a selection interview with both you and your child. You need to hand in your kid’s report cards from former schools as well as their medical histories and vaccination records for some schools. After all, the flu in Hong Kong is an imminent threat. There might also be additional application fees that cannot be refunded. The schools’ admission policies sometimes give priorities to certain groups of prospective students, such as nationals of a certain country or siblings of children already attending the school.
Many international schools raise funds for long-term capital projects such as school buildings by issuing non-interest paying debentures. These are a way of gaining a spot in one of the popular international schools, or at least a higher position on the long waiting list. For every child attending the school, you need to purchase a debenture (or a corporate nomination right, as some schools call it), unless the company you work for holds debentures of the school and nominates your child for one of them. As these can cost you up to HK$ 250,000, you should contact your bank in Hong Kong and inquire about how to finance this.
Also inquire with your employer beforehand if the company is affiliated with any international school in Hong Kong in that way. Otherwise ask if they can purchase one for your child. If possible, try to include this in your work contract before leaving for Hong Kong. Not only will a company debenture make school fees a lot cheaper for you, it may also be easier to get a place at a particular school in the first place.
If you would like to avoid this, you should be prepared to pay a refundable fee and to end up on a long waiting list. In any case, it is important that you do not underestimate the time and effort it takes to get your child into a decent international school in Hong Kong.
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