admissions guidelines

Western International School of Shanghai (WISS) is an IB World School, providing a high quality international education to students from over 50 different countries. We are thrilled that you have landed on our admissions page and are one step closer to becoming a part of our warm and diverse WISS community.

Admissions Criteria

1. Eligibility: Admission is open to all foreign passport holders with no preference given to any one nationality. Preference will be given to families with siblings already attending WISS.
2. PRC regulations: In compliance with Chinese government regulations, WISS can accept applications from foreign passport holders or residents from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Applications can also be received by any Chinese passport holder who has one or both parents holding a foreign passport, or those who qualify to apply under the regulations of Shanghai Education Committee.
3. School capacity and class size: Admissions will be granted according to enrollment limits which ensure that standards of excellence are maintained.
4. English fluency: Students applying to WISS may be evaluated for their English speaking, reading, and writing ability. As the school wishes to maintain an environment where English is the primary language of academic instruction, preference is given to those students who are most functional or have the greatest potential to be functional at their grade level in English. All students entering Secondary not having English as their native language must, as a minimum, be at a level from which they can work to complete the IB Subsidiary English B program by graduation, along with self-taught study of their mother tongue literature.
5. Special learning needs: Students admitted to WISS must be able to function within the regular classroom setting and be able to work towards the successful completion of WISS academic requirements. Enrollment decisions for students needing minimal learning support are made on an individual, case-by-case basis. Parents are welcome to discuss their child’s special needs without a fee.
WISS has elevator access, wheelchair accessibility, learning support teachers, and counselors. But we do not have the facilities or faculty required to educate children with severe learning or physical challenges such as emotional/behavioral disorders, autism, intellectual disabilities, communicative disorders/aphasia, and severe physical disability making normal class work too great a challenge. WISS has a dynamic teaching environment where all staff members are trained in our IB programmes. For this reason, we are unable to admit students who need another adult/care-provider in the room for extended periods of time.
Families whose children require additional support are asked for full disclosure and to submit all relevant educational or medical evaluations, IEPs, or other reports about learning needs. Failure to disclose full history of learning needs can result in withdrawal of an offer of enrollment or dismissal from school.
6. Age: A child must be:
  • toilet trained and 2.5 years old by February 1st of the year entering Pre-Nursery
  • toilet trained and three years old by September 1st of the year entering Nursery
  • four years old by September 1st of the year entering Pre-Kindergarten
  • five years old by September 1st of the year entering Kindergarten
  • six years old by September 1st of the year entering Grade 1
During the admissions process, WISS will always take into account the country of origin, the educational system from which the student comes, and the student’s past performance in that system.
7. Part-time students: Part-time students may be enrolled in WISS when their attendance is mutually beneficial to both parties. All conditions for entrance for full-time students apply. (Tuition will be charged on a pro-rata basis; all other fees are as for full-time students).

Application Conditions

Admissions and placement tests may be required as part of the admission process. Students who have not completed a full year in the previous grade by the fall entrance date will be required to repeat the previous year’s grade. Parents will be notified by phone or email when admission testing is required. For parents in other countries it will be their responsibility to find a secure test site, such as current school. Admission decisions are made by the WISS administration.
The WISS admission staff will not give feedback on applications until authorized to do so by the Principal or School Director. Any judgments of the applicant inadvertently or conversationally rendered by the admission staff are not binding. Any misreported or unreported information in an application may result in the student’s being rejected or, if already accepted, being asked to withdraw. Documents submitted with this application will not be returned. Photos of students may appear in school publications, newspaper and other advertisements, brochures, and on the website for the purpose of marketing only.

Step 1: Online Application and Supporting Documentation

The Western International School of Shanghai accepts applications from prospective students year-round on a rolling admissions basis. Interested parents are warmly invited to apply on-line and submit supporting documentation. If at any point in the process, you have questions you are welcomed to contact our Admissions Team who will be happy to help.
Applications are completed through Open Apply and all requested documents are uploaded to the system.
  • • Completed application
  • • Copy of student birth certificate
  • • Copy of student and parent passports
  • • Copy of student and parent Shanghai residence permit, diplomatic visa, or letter form employer affirming that a visa will be procured
  • • School reports for the current and previous academic years (Certified translations into English are required for reports in other languages.)
  • • For PK- Kindergarten: school reports from current year
  • • For Grades 1 – 8: school reports from the current and previous year
  • • For Grades 9 – 10: school reports from the current and previous 2 years
  • • For Grades 11 – 12: all school reports beginning from G9 including the current year
  • • Early Years Parent Questionnaire for Grades Pre-Nursery – Kindergarten (available on Open Apply)
  • • Confidential Principal/Teacher Recommendation Form for Grades 1 – 12 (available on Open Apply)
  • • Standardized test scores (if available)
  • • Relevant educational or medical evaluations, IEPs, or other reports about learning needs (if applicable)
  • • Completed Medical Form and immunization records
  • • Completed Transportation Request Form (if applicable)

Step 2: Application Fees

Once your application is complete, you will be requested to pay a non-refundable 2,500 RMB Application Fee in order for your application to be processed.

Step 3: Visit Days / Interviews

Visit Days: Early Years and Primary students may be asked to come for a visit day.
Interviews: Primary and Secondary students may be asked to come with their parent(s) or guardian(s) for an interview or to participate in a phone or on-line interview.

Step 4: Application Review

  • Once the online application is complete with all requested application documents and payment received, the application will be reviewed and an enrollment decision will be made based on our admissions criteria. Our Admissions Team aims to advise parents of the outcome within 5-7 working days.
  • Following granted admission, parents are expected to pay a non-refundable Enrollment Deposit to secure a place at WISS.

Step 5: Welcome to WISS

Welcome to WISS! We are confident that joining our community will help make your entire family feel at home in Shanghai. If your child is starting at the beginning of the year then your family will be invited to our Orientation Day. Coming mid-year? Don’t worry our Parents Association hosts coffee mornings each semester so our new and returning families can get to know each other.