Standard Application Online

The Standard Application Online (SAO) simplifies and standardizes the process of applying to independent schools for students seeking to enter grades from pre-kindergarten to post-graduate.

17 ISSL Member Schools participate in the Standard Application Online (SAO). Applying online is the easiest and most convenient manner to apply to one or more of these participating ISSL schools. By applying online using the SAO, families can apply to multiple schools simultaneously, enter demographic information and responses to questions only once, submit application fees electronically, have a digital record of their application, and register for the SSAT Admission Test. The online application also gives parents and students the opportunity to review and make changes to the application before its submission. All information is electronically saved and delivered to schools via a secure portal.

Get Started with the Standard Application Online (SAO):

  • Access the SAO using your SSAT account login. (To create an account visit and select the “Login” option at the top right of your screen)
  • Complete and save the biographic information section to start the application process.
  • Add schools using the School Search.
  • Pay for applications using Visa, MasterCard, or Discover.
  • Recommendation Forms (School, English, Math, Transcript): Just one set is required, regardless of how many schools to which you apply. Provide SSAT with email addresses for the teachers/administrators to whom you want the recommendation link sent. Recommendations and transcripts are submitted securely online.
  • Check each school's requirements to ensure you request all necessary recommendations - some schools require more than others. If you are working with a placement director or educational consultant, check with them first to determine their preference for recommendation submission.
  • School Supplement: Some schools require that a supplement to the SAO be completed. Check each school's requirements and complete as needed.
  • If you are considering applying for Financial Aid, contact the Admissions Office at the school(s) to which you are applying to clarify the necessary steps and obtain the deadlines. Please note: Different schools may use different financial aid forms.

Applying Made Easy: A helpful tutorial on using the SAO

Begin the ISSL Secondary School Standard Application Online


Families can call or write to the Enrollment Management Association (EMA) anytime with questions about the application or testing. Please contact the school(s) to which you are applying with school-specific questions, but the EMA team stands ready to assist with any questions about completing the online forms and registering for the SSAT.

FAQ’s regarding the SAO


EMA Customer Service and Support Center
(609) 683-4440,
Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM-4:30 PM EDT