Applications and Testing
We are accepting applications for Kindergarten through grade 12 for the 2021 – 2022 school year beginning August 1, 2020.
All applications and supporting documents will be submitted online through Blackbaud Enrollment Management System.
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. Applications for grades 1 – 3 and 5 are only accepted from applicants who were placed in the previous year's wait pool. 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.
Requirements and Testing
Due dates for testing, teacher reference reports and other supporting documents are described in detail in the enrollment management system.
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.
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.
Preference 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 2021 – 2022 school year wil be released by:
- Kindergarten – Grade 5 - 4/16/21
- Grades 6 – 12 - 3/19/21
The decision dates allow for compliance with the common reply dates of the Hawai'i Association of Independent Schools. A non-refundable $1,000 deposit is due upon enrollment. The full amount is credited toward tuition.
Post-decision conferences may be scheduled by contacting the Admission Office, according to the date suggested in the decision letter.
The wait pool consists of applicants who meet the criteria for admission but cannot be offered enrollment due to limited space. It’s called a wait pool with no rankings 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.
Applications for grades 1 – 3 and 5, consist of those applicants who qualified for the wait pool 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 may apply for first grade the following school year.
If your child is regretted, 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 may request a conference to discuss the applicant's performance and records in the admission process. 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.