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

Competitive admissions. As admission is competitive, preference is given to the most academically capable students.
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 the Shanghai Education Committee.
3. Guardianship: Local government requirements in regard to proper guardianship of students mean that WISS may accept students who are a: a) resident with at least one parent, or b) resident with an approved guardian (with power of attorney). Students are not permitted, under local regulations, to be under the supervision of non-resident guardians. Students who are not living with at least one parent or authorized guardian cannot be enrolled at WISS.
4. School capacity and class size: Admissions will be granted according to enrolment limits which ensure that standards of excellence will be maintained.
5. English fluency: Students applying to WISS will be evaluated for 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 entering Secondary students 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 language.
6. Special learning needs: Parents of students who have special needs will need to consult with WISS to ensure the school has resources available to serve their child before applying for admission or arriving in Shanghai. 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 and wheelchair accessibility, but we are not able to accept students with very severe difficulties due to the nature of our program. We do have learning support teachers, 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, mental disorders, communicative disorders/aphasia, and severe physical disability making normal classwork 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.
If a severe learning problem is diagnosed or presents itself after enrollment, the Director will decide what is in the best interest of the child. This will usually mean supporting the child and parents until a more suitable educational environment can be found.
7. 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 to determine the grade placement. Students who have not completed a full year in the previous grade by the fall entrance date may be required to repeat the previous year’s grade.

Application Conditions

It is the responsibility of applying families to see that reference forms are returned to the school in a timely and confidential manner. The application cannot be processed until all forms and documents are submitted and application fees paid.
Admissions and placement tests and visit days may be required as part of the admission process. Parents will be notified when admissions testing is required. For parents in other countries, it will be their responsibility to find a secure test site, such as the current school.
Admission decisions are made by the WISS administration. The WISS admissions staff will not give feedback on applications until instructed to do so by the Director. Any judgments of the applicant inadvertently or conversationally rendered by the admission staff are not binding.
Any misreported or unreported information in this application may result in the student’s being rejected or, if already accepted, being asked to withdraw.

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.