Civitas Admissions - Frequently Asked Questions
We recognize the process of admission to a pre-school or a primary school to start your child’s educational journey is filled with anxiety and uncertainty. Options seem limited and school policies seem obscure. We can empathize with what you are going through. Many of us have been through this exact dilemma not too long ago ourselves.
The purpose of this list of FAQs and answers is to try to demystify the admissions process at Civitas and to shed some light on the thought process behind adopting our unique approach.
As educational institutions, there are three broad approaches to admission we can employ, each of which entails its own pros and cons for stakeholders such as parents and the institution.
Single Round of Admission (SRA) – where applications are not accepted after a pre- announced deadline and all decisions are made at a pre-announced date. Applications are reviewed in a single batch.
Multiple Rounds of Admission (MRA) - this is similar to approach #1 above, except there are multiple application deadlines and decision dates. Applications are reviewed in smaller batches, depending on the size of the applicant pool in each round.
Continuous or Rolling admissions (CRA) – Applications are processed on first come first served basis.
Which admissions approach does Civitas use and why?
Civitas uses the MRA method (approach #2 above). The tentative dates and APPROXIMATE seat allocation are shown in the table below:
While SRA helps the school make systematic decisions, and simplifies the process for the applicant family, it also closes options for parents who want the flexibility of hearing back from other schools before they finalize their decision. The Civitas approach of staggering our admissions across 4 rounds is to help parents not feel rushed or pressured into either making multiple non-refundable admission fee deposits or settle for a school that may not be their top choice. Furthermore, Civitas is home to many expats returning to Karachi. For such families, it is often not possible to time relocation logistics to meet the SRA deadline. While beneficial in these ways, this approach does— by design—require a greater deal of information to be shared with prospective parents to understand the nuances of our process.
The process at Civitas takes longer than parents might feel it should. This is because we assess each application with equal rigor and thought. No one is written off from the get-go. We meet ALL applicant families in interviews, assess each student, conduct numerous information sessions, and watch each video. Often, an application is read multiple times—a commitment requiring countless hours of management and faculty resources.
Now that I have submitted the online application, what should I be ready for next?
Once we receive your application, your information (contact details, admission grade, etc.) is uploaded to our confidential central database (strictly for internal use) and all future communication is done on those coordinates. You will be invited to an on-campus information session, followed by an interview with the Admissions Team. The format for assessment of the child is dependent on the grade in which you are seeking admission. Families applying for admission to Pre-Nursery, Nursery, Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten will be required to send us a short video (details will be sent to you when we receive your application). Applicants for grades 1 through 6 will take an online assessment (details of which will also be communicated to you at the time we receive your application). Once all three requirements (Info Session, Interview and Assessment) have been met, the Admission Committee will review the application and a decision is communicated by the deadline for the round in which your application was received.
Does it help to apply early?
While there are more seats allocated at Civitas for earlier rounds, the number of applications
received in earlier rounds is also higher. An early application resulting in an “Early Decision” (ED) is an approach used by many schools, colleges and universities across the world and in Pakistan, and is seen as a strong indication of commitment to the institution’s educational program, philosophy and community culture. Not surprisingly, offer rates for Early Decision applicants tends to be higher. A cautionary note is important here: We would encourage you to commit to Civitas early, only if you are convinced it is the best fit school for your child. This is precisely why Civitas leaves some seats for later rounds of admission, so that parents can undertake due diligence and make decisions without feeling pressured by admissions timelines.
What is Civitas looking for in the admissions process?
By design, we do not impose rigid parameters or a standardized rubric to score each applicant. A defined rubric would be a precursor to “preparation and coaching to ace the admissions process”. This is precisely the approach we want to discourage, not just for the admissions process but also for the entire period of education at Civitas and Nixor. The best way to understand what matters the most to the Civitas community is to attend the information session. Again, we are choosing between two methods—1. An admissions rubric, and 2. General understanding of, and natural alignment with, what the Civitas community is about. Each approach has its pros and cons. We feel that approach #2, used by Civitas, is better aligned with the school culture because it reduces the pressure of seeking coaching for content mastery for a 2 or 3-year-old. However, it does add more subjectivity and delay into the admissions process.
How will I know what to do next in the admissions process?
We will stay in touch with you throughout the admissions process by email. Offers are emailed on or before the decision date for the round in which your application is being reviewed. You can check the status of your application and whether it is complete by going to our website and entering your application code. This code will be emailed to you once you fill out our online application. This feature is currently in beta testing mode and will be live by February 28, 2021.
You can also reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you within 2 working days.
Is there preference given to siblings of Civitas students?
Any open seats are first made available to siblings of Civitas students and then to other applicants. However, the criteria for admission are not different for a sibling of a Civitas student compared to any other applicant.
How many seats are available in each grade?
Typically, Pre-Nursery, Nursery and Pre-KG are considered entry level grades at Civitas comprising the bulk of our admissions. In grades beyond Pre-KG, most of the admissions are from the previous grade of Civitas students. Seats become available when students leave prior to graduation (for example, parents relocate to a different city) or when an additional section is added, (for example, transitioning from 2 sections of 24 students each to 3 sections of 20 students each. In this hypothetical example, 12 additional seats would be added to that grade). A significant factor in seat availability is the size of the Civitas sibling applicant pool. Generally, the offer rate varies between 7% to 15% of the applicant pool.
What should I do if I have a deadline from another school?
Upon submission of the offer letter with a deadline sooner than the decision deadline communicated by Civitas, we will try to expedite the admission decision, if possible. A similar process is followed by other schools as well to facilitate parents and is worth enquiring about.
Why can’t Civitas accept more students?
Civitas is not meant to be an exclusive school. It is a community of diverse backgrounds and skills. One of the most humbling and painful undertakings for school administrators, and Civitas is no exception in this case, is whittling down the list of applicants form so many wonderful families, to match the number of seats available. Ultimately and unfortunately, it often just boils down to seat availability. The reasons why there is virtually no lawful space for schools to expand their campuses can best be explained by city planners. The rest of us—parents and schools—can only speculate.
Until this problem can be solved, not much can change in making more seats available to genuinely deserving families.
If I have an offer, can I get an extension to make the payment to confirm my seat at Civitas?
Sometimes, parents may want to wait to hear from other schools before they make a final decision and hence may request an extension in the offer confirmation date. Requests for extensions will be evaluated by the Admissions Team and a decision will be communicated within 3 working days. If an extension is approved, the application will be moved to the next round and the offer for admission to Civitas will be re-evaluated in its entirety with the pool applicants in the next round.
If an offer is extended, can I defer my admission to next year?
While this is possible, we would discourage the use of this practice to secure a seat a year or more in advance. However, we recognize that some circumstances may require a deferral. To be considered for a deferral, please email us outlining the extenuating conditions necessitating your deferral and a decision will be communicated to you within a week.
Why are some students deferred to the next round?
Civitas (with a few exceptions due to time constraints) offers a definitive decision (Yes OR No) and no longer defers students to subsequent rounds. However, an unfavorable decision may be reevaluated in the next round if requested by the parent AND if that option is made available in the decision letter. Please note that decisions that are revaluated are then made based on the strength
of the applications in the next round of decisions and an offer cannot be guaranteed. It is prudent to have a backup option or a “safety school” while you wait for a final decision. This unfortunately is also what draws out the admissions process and the agonizing wait for parents.
Can you tell me what gaps existed or what we could have done better to improve our chances at Civitas next year?
As a policy we do not disclose the reason for not extending an offer. This is not done to be dismissive or because we don’t want to take the time to be helpful. We fear that feedback will be seen as a template for the “perfect Civitas application”. While there may be families who naturally are a perfect fit with the Civitas culture and community, there isn’t just one approach. The Civitas community is as diverse as there are Civitas families and that is its true strength.