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What is Punahou looking for in students?

The answer isn’t simple because no child is simple. Punahou considers each applicant fully and looks for the kind of learner who sees school, life and the world as one big classroom, open and waiting to explore, to connect and to enjoy.

Previous school performance and test scores factor into decisions, but students’ interests, their passions, their abilities and personalities are valued. It is important to know who each child is, how children interact with others, how they observe and interpret the world.

Punahou is not looking for anything specific because it's looking at the total child. It's not all about test scores. It includes a combination: the school performance; the test scores; how that school performance correlates with the test scores. For grades 6 - 12, it's good to see that students are involved in other activities in addition to their academic responsibilities. Punahou also looks at an applicant's character, citizenship, personality, and how they get along with other kids. Punahou is looking for diversity, both economic and ethnic. The child's unique abilities, interests and learning styles are also considered and respected.

Is there a particular profile Punahou hopes to enroll?

No, and you can see that in Punahou's student population. Punahou is looking at kids who have different interests, different talents, different skills. That's what makes it a more vibrant community. Punahou admits students who might not have the highest test scores, but because of their work ethic, have been very successful and have become leaders at the school.

Are there feeder schools for Punahou?

No. Punahou admits applicants from all schools. In kindergarten, which is the largest entry point, 150 admitted students typically come from more than 50 schools.

Is there a connection between giving and admission?

None whatsoever. Admission and Advancement are two separate departments. There is no correlation between gifts to Punahou and the admission process. Admission to Punahou is based on the match between the child and the school. It is a process managed separately from a family's giving to Punahou.

Is summer school a requirement prior to being admitted to Punahou?

No. Many families use the summer school program as an introduction to Punahou, but enrollment in summer school is not a requirement for admission.

Does applying for financial aid have any bearing on the admission decision?

No. Admission decisions are completely independent of financial aid.

Apply to Punahou

The common reply dates to submit a decision regarding accepting an offer of admission to Punahou School are April 15 for Grades 6 – 12 and May 10 for Kindergarten – Grade 5. We are not currently looking at extending the reply dates, however, please contact the Admission Office if you need more time and we will work with you as best we can.

Consider Applying for Financial Aid

Over 700 students received almost $7.7 million in need-based aid last year. A family’s financial status and application for financial aid are not part of Punahou's admission criteria.


Admission Office
Sullivan Administration Building
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.