A critical factor for international schools is the admissions process. Without students, you don’t have a school. Small numbers mean fewer resources, especially funding. For undecided parents, the admissions process experience can be a deal breaker. An unwelcoming or arduous process will result in the loss of potential families. Word-of-mouth will soon spread from those who experience an unhappy process. Can your school afford disenfranchised families ‘spreading the word?’

At the same time, the school’s reputation will be just as important as the locality of the school. An outstanding reputation will result in waiting lists. A poor reputation will result in empty chairs and, possibly, empty classrooms. No principal wants the fragile task of reducing staff due to diminishing numbers.

Tema International School (TIS) is a K-12 International Baccalaureate (IB) World School authorised to offer the PYP, MYP and DP in Ghana, West Africa.

Prior to March 2020, our admissions process was generally onsite, except for the application, as we use OpenApply. If the applicant was overseas, then the process was completely online. The online interview was clunky as we used Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp. Internet in Ghana is like the ocean waves: it comes in and then goes out. Often, it is out more than it is in!

TIS moved to the GL Assessment tool, CAT 4, for the ‘entrance exam’ around 2018. This test provided better information as it identified the applicant’s learning style and provided predictions of their achievements at the end of Grade 10 (MYP5) and Grade 12 (DP2). This data was helpful regarding subject selection in Grades 9 (MYP) and 11 (DP) based on their strengths. This CAT 4 test was online, but during this period, applicants completed the test at TIS on the same day as the interview and tour of the school.

Traffic in Ghana is problematic for different reasons, so it was rare for scheduled interviews to start on time. Usually, we experienced delays of up to two hours.

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