Applications and Testing

Applications to Punahou School for the 2018 – 2019 school year are now being accepted. New for this year, all applications and supporting documents will be submitted online through Ravenna, a leading website for independent school admissions.

The standard points of entry are at Kindergarten and grades 4, 6, 7 and 9, although new students enter Punahou at all grade levels. In grades 1 – 3, 5, 8 and 10 – 12, the number of openings is contingent upon withdrawals. Competition at each grade can be keen, and there are usually more qualified applicants than spaces. Schoolwide, there are typically 1,800 applications for approximately 500 spaces.

How to Apply

STEP 1

Create a Ravenna Account

Visit www.ravenna-hub.com and create an account. This account will be used to apply to Punahou as well as other independent schools in Honolulu. All application forms and documents will be submitted through the Ravenna website.

Families without reliable access to the internet should contact the Admission Office for assistance.

STEP 2

Apply to Punahou in Ravenna

After creating your Ravenna account you will be able to start the application process.

Use the online form in Ravenna to complete and submit an application electronically. It allows you to edit, review and save an application form until complete. The application fee is $125, payable by credit card in Ravenna. Late applicants will be charged a late application fee of $175.

Requirements and Testing

Kindergarten

The deadline to apply for Kindergarten for the 2018 – 2019 school year is October 15, 2017.

There are 150 openings for the incoming Kindergarten class, which will fill 6 classrooms of 25 students each (some variations occur). Applicants for 2018 – 2019 must have been born within the following dates:

  • Boys: June 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013
  • Girls: September 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013

Begin by submitting your application online through Ravenna. After your application is processed, your child will be scheduled for two test sessions (administered at Punahou), required of all candidates.

An individual test session with an assessment specialist is scheduled for each child during the school week, between October and March. This session includes an individual cognitive test to help determine academic potential.

Each child is also required to attend a Saturday morning classroom session with other applicants, from which faculty members will submit a group observation report.

In addition to the testing sessions, a teacher reference report must be submitted by your child’s current teacher. Applicants will also be asked to submit a report card or progress report from the previous school year and the first semester of the current school year must. If your child’s school does not have any written reports, you may select “No report card” next to the name of the school on the application form.

Grade 4

The deadline to apply for grade 4 for the 2018 – 2019 school year is October 31, 2017.

There are 50 openings to join the fourth grade class, which is comprised of roughly 200 students, filling 8 classrooms of 25 students each (some variations occur).

Begin by submitting your application online. After your application is processed, your child must register for and take the Third Grade Elementary Level SSAT (EL SSAT). The results must be sent to Punahou by SSAT. Register online for the EL SSAT and download or order the Official Guide to the EL SSAT at SSAT.org. If requesting a waiver for the EL SSAT fee, contact the Financial Aid Office for assistance before registering for the test.

Score range averages of successful applicants are:

Reading Verbal Quantitative
515 – 535 515 – 535 515 – 535

These are not cut-off points, but guidelines for decisions. While the majority of those accepted to Punahou score within or above the ranges listed, some applicants with lower scores may be admitted.

Each child is also required to attend a classroom group session with other applicants, from which faculty members will submit a group observation report to accompany the test results.

In addition to testing, a teacher reference report must be submitted by your child’s current teacher. Applicants will also be asked to submit the previous school year’s complete report card, including teacher comments for all reporting periods, and the first semester report card, including comments for the current school year.

Grades 6 & 7

The deadline to apply for grade 6 or 7 for the 2018 – 2019 school year is November 15, 2017.

The are 88 openings to join the sixth grade class, which is comprised of roughly 288 students, filling 12 classrooms of 24 students each. The are 80 openings to join the sixth grade class, which is comprised of roughly 368 students, filling 16 classrooms of 23 students each. Some variations occur.

Begin by submitting your application online. After your application is processed, your child must register for and take the October, November, December or January Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT). The results must be sent to Punahou by SSAT. Register online for the SSAT and download or order the Official Guide to the SSAT at SSAT.org. If requesting a waiver for the SSAT fee, contact the Financial Aid Office for assistance before registering for the test.

Score range averages of successful applicants are:

Grade Reading Verbal Quantitative
6 630 – 650 630 – 650 635 – 655
7 635 – 655 630 – 650 635 – 655

These are not cut-off points, but guidelines for decisions. While the majority of those accepted to Punahou score within or above the ranges listed, some applicants with lower scores may be admitted.

Each child is also required to attend an individual interview, and Grade 6 applicants must register for the Character Skills Snapshot.

In addition to favorable SSAT test results, candidates need to have commendable academic records, satisfactory writing skills, and a positive recommendation from their current school.

A teacher reference report must be submitted by your child’s current English and math teachers. Applicants will also be asked to submit the previous school year’s complete report card, including teacher comments for all reporting periods, and the first semester report card, including comments for the current school year.

Two extracurricular reference report forms may be submitted by the leaders of two activities in which the applicant participates, e.g., scouts, music lessons, sports.

Grade 9

The deadline to apply for grade 9 for the 2018 – 2019 school year is November 15, 2017.

The are 72 openings to join the sixth grade class, which is comprised of roughly 440 students.

Begin by submitting your application online. After your application is processed, your child must register for and take the October, November, December or January Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT). The results must be sent to Punahou by SSAT. Register online for the SSAT and download or order the Official Guide to the SSAT at SSAT.org. If requesting a waiver for the SSAT fee, contact the Financial Aid Office for assistance before registering for the test.

Score range averages of successful applicants are:

Reading Verbal Quantitative
660 – 680 660 – 680 675 – 695

These are not cut-off points, but guidelines for decisions. While the majority of those accepted to Punahou score within or above the ranges listed, some applicants with lower scores may be admitted.

Each local applicant is also required to attend an individual interview.

In addition to favorable SSAT test results, candidates need to have commendable academic records, satisfactory writing skills, and a positive recommendation from their current school.

A teacher reference report must be submitted by your child’s current English and math teachers. Applicants will also be asked to submit the previous school year’s complete report card, including teacher comments for all reporting periods, and the first semester report card, including comments for the current school year.

Two extracurricular reference report forms may be submitted by the leaders of two activities in which the applicant participates, e.g., scouts, music lessons, sports.

All Other Grades

Openings in grades 1 – 3, 5, 8, and 10 – 12 are based on withdrawals (spaces that become available due to current students who will not return for the next school year). Applications for grades 1 – 3 and 5 are only accepted from applicants who were placed on the previous year's wait pool (those who qualified the previous year, but were not placed). Wait pool candidates must submit a new application and complete testing for the current application year.

The deadlines to apply for the 2018 – 2019 school year are as follows:

Grades 1 – 3 December 31, 2017
Grade 5 October 31, 2107
Grades 8 and 10 – 12 November 15, 2017

Begin by submitting your application online. After your application is processed, testing and documentation are required (see below).

Requirements by Grade Level

Grades 1 – 3

Begin by submitting your application online. After your application is processed, your child is required to attend a classroom testing session with other applicants, from which faculty members will submit a group observation report to accompany the test results. Applicants are tested at Punahou; out-of-state applicants for grades 2 and 3 may request mail tests.

In addition to the testing sessions, a teacher reference report must be submitted by your child’s current teacher. Applicants will also be asked to submit a report card or progress report from the previous school year and the first semester of the current school year. If your child’s school does not have any written reports, you may select “No report card” next to the name of the school on the application form.

Grade 5

Begin by submitting your application online. After your application is processed, your child must register for and take the Fourth Grade Elementary Level SSAT (EL SSAT). The results must be sent to Punahou by SSAT. Register online for the EL SSAT and download or order the Official Guide to the EL SSAT at SSAT.org. If requesting a waiver for the EL SSAT fee, contact the Financial Aid Office for assistance before registering for the test.

Each child is also required to attend a classroom group session with other applicants, from which faculty members will submit a group observation report to accompany the test results.

In addition to testing, a teacher reference report must be submitted by your child’s current teacher. Applicants will also be asked to submit the previous school year’s complete report card, including teacher comments for all reporting periods, and the first semester report card, including comments for the current school year.

Grade 8

Begin by submitting your application online. After your application is processed, your child must register for and take the October, November, December or January Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT). The results must be sent to Punahou by SSAT. Register online for the SSAT and download or order the Official Guide to the SSAT at SSAT.org. If requesting a waiver for the SSAT fee, contact the Financial Aid Office for assistance before registering for the test.

Score range averages of successful applicants are:

Reading Verbal Quantitative
655 – 675 660 – 680 675 – 695

These are not cut-off points, but guidelines for decisions. While the majority of those accepted to Punahou score within or above the ranges listed, some applicants with lower scores may be admitted.

Each local applicant is also required to attend an individual interview.

In addition to favorable SSAT test results, candidates need to have commendable academic records, satisfactory writing skills, and a positive recommendation from their current school.

A teacher reference report must be submitted by each of your child’s current English and math teachers. Applicants will also be asked to submit the previous school year’s complete report card, including teacher comments for all reporting periods, and the first semester report card, including comments for the current school year.

Two extracurricular reference report forms may be submitted by the leaders of two activities in which the applicant participates, e.g., scouts, music lessons, sports.

Grades 10 and 11

Begin by submitting your application online. After your application is processed, your child must register for and take the October, November, December or January Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT). The results must be sent to Punahou by SSAT. Register online for the SSAT and download or order the Official Guide to the SSAT at SSAT.org. If requesting a waiver for the SSAT fee, contact the Financial Aid Office for assistance before registering for the test.

Score range averages of successful applicants are:

Grade Reading Verbal Quantitative
10 685 – 705 675 – 695 700 – 720
11 680 – 700 685 – 705 705 – 725

These are not cut-off points, but guidelines for decisions. While the majority of those accepted to Punahou score within or above the ranges listed, some applicants with lower scores may be admitted.

Each local applicant is also required to attend an individual interview.

In addition to favorable SSAT test results, candidates need to have commendable academic records, satisfactory writing skills, and a positive recommendation from their current school.

A teacher reference report must be submitted by each of your child’s current English and math teachers. Applicants will also be asked to submit the previous school year’s complete report card, including teacher comments for all reporting periods, and the first semester report card, including comments for the current school year. Grading symbols other than A, B, C, etc., should be explained, as should any citizenship grading system.

In addition to official report cards, an official transcript of all high school work, including the first semester or trimester of the current school year, must be submitted. Grades of C or above are transferable for Punahou credit. Grades of C- or below are not transferable for credit.

Two extracurricular reference report forms may be submitted by the leaders of two activities in which the applicant participates, e.g., scouts, music lessons, sports.

Grade 12

Begin by submitting your application online. After your application is processed, your child must provide Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores with essay. The limited openings at this level will be filled by candidates having strong SAT scores. Scores of 617 for Critical Reading, 660 for Math and 631 for Writing are guidelines for decisions, but are not cutoff points. Applicants may register for the SAT with essay online at www.collegeboard.com and a copy of the results must be sent directly to Punahou by the applicant.

Each local applicant is also required to attend an individual interview.

In addition to favorable SAT test scores, candidates need to have commendable academic records, satisfactory writing skills, and a positive recommendation from their current school.

A teacher reference report must be submitted by each of your child’s current English and math teachers. Applicants will also be asked to submit the previous school year’s complete report card, including teacher comments for all reporting periods, and the first semester report card, including comments for the current school year. Grading symbols other than A, B, C, etc., should be explained, as should any citizenship grading system.

In addition to official report cards, an official transcript of all high school work, including the first semester or trimester of the current school year, must be submitted. Grades of C or above are transferable for Punahou credit. Grades of C- or below are not transferable for credit.

Along with strong SAT scores, above average grades and exemplary citizenship reports, applicants must have sufficient transferable credits to meet Punahou graduation requirements within one year.

Two extracurricular reference report forms may be submitted by the leaders of two activities in which the applicant participates, e.g., scouts, music lessons, sports.

Due dates for testing, teacher reference reports and other supporting documents are described in detail in Ravenna.

If the applicant has recently completed a standardized test in reading, language or math, the results, complete with the name of the test, level and date, may be submitted. This is optional; it is useful to have this additional data, but it is not a requirement as some students have not been previously tested.

Punahou reserves the right to require additional documentation for students with learning differences.

Decisions

Student selection is based on academic and non-academic considerations. Admission criteria include scholastic performance, test scores, and reports of demonstrated talents and interests. Characteristics, such as initiative, independence, responsibility, self-discipline and creativity are desirable traits. Students willing to reach and push themselves to their limits are those most likely to benefit from a Punahou education. Faculty and administration share the responsibility for student selection.

Special consideration is given to qualified candidates who are: children of alumni, faculty or staff; of Hawaiian descent; descendants of Punahou's missionary founders; or siblings of enrolled students. Special considerations are only used as tiebreakers, and do not guarantee acceptance.

Decision letters are mailed on the same day for all applicants of a particular grade level.

Decision letters for the 2018 – 2019 school year are mailed by:

  • Kindergarten – Grade 5 mailed by 4/20/18
  • Grades 6 – 12 mailed by 3/23/18

The decision dates allow for compliance with the common reply dates of the Hawai'i Association of Independent Schools. A non-refundable $500 deposit is due upon enrollment. The full amount is credited toward tuition.

Post-decision conferences may be scheduled by calling the Admission Office, according to the date suggested in the decision letter.

Wait Pool

Applicable to grades 1 – 3 and 5, the wait pool consists of those who qualified the previous year, but were not placed. For example: a child meets the criteria for admission in Kindergarten but is not able to be enrolled based on available space. That child is offered to join the wait pool for application to first grade the following school year.

It's called a wait pool because a wait list implies that they are in rank order. When there is a spot available, the entire pool of applicants who responded to the wait pool letter for that grade level is reviewed for admission.

Denials

If your child is denied acceptance, you should consider applying again at another grade level. Besides looking for the right fit, Punahou is looking at the right timing for that fit. Some applicants could be much stronger students if given a few years.

Families should call for a conference to discuss the applicant's performance and records; and how they were reflected in the admission decision. The admission directors, admission counselors, or assessment specialists with whom families confer can make recommendations and provide guidelines. They can suggest things the family might do to build confidence and self-esteem or to strengthen specific skills so that the student might be a more competitive applicant the next time.

Ready to Apply?

All applications and supporting documents must be submitted online through Ravenna.

Consider Applying for Financial Aid

Almost 700 students received more than $6 million in need-based aid last year, and a family’s financial status and application for financial aid are not part of Punahou's admission criteria.

Contact

Admission Office
Sullivan Administration Building
admission@punahou.edu
808.944.5714
808.943.3602 Fax
Hours: M – F, 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Punahou School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability in administration of its educational or admission policies, financial aid programs, athletic and other School administered programs or in its employment practices.