Leadership for a better world

Admissions Criteria

Harrow International School Hong Kong is a selective school, which seeks to admit those pupils with the aptitude, ability and personality who are most likely to thrive in and contribute to its diverse international community. The School’s vision statement Leadership for a better world and its boarding ethos strongly influence the key areas of emphasis in the School and, therefore, the factors that are important in its admissions procedures and decision-making about which pupils to admit. They are:

  • Academic ability.
  • Commitment to a broad range of extra-curricular activities.
  • The importance of relationships in the School community and the personal formation of character of each pupil.
  • Alignment with the School’s ethos.

Given the diversity of nationalities and first languages among its student body, English is the only inclusive language of the School and applicants need to be proficient in it in order to access the full range of the curriculum and the community. The School’s admissions procedures, therefore, evaluate the current level of proficiency in English of all applicants in an age-appropriate way in order to assess their ability to access the curriculum. 

Guiding Principles

There are a number of important guiding principles that influence the admissions procedures:
  • The Education Bureau stipulates that no more than 50% of places can be given to local pupils with Hong Kong passports only and at least 50% of all pupils in the Upper School (from Year 6 and above) must be weekly boarders. The School will, therefore, consider applications from pupils re-locating to Hong Kong from overseas after the published deadlines.
  • Applications from pupils from Mainland China, Macau and Taiwan can only be considered if their parents have Hong Kong residency and the necessary supporting documentation (such pupils are then deemed to be local Hong Kong pupils) or if the pupil holds an additional overseas passport eligible for entry to Hong Kong.
  • English is the only inclusive language of the School and applicants must be proficient in it in order to access the full range of the curriculum, and to be able to contribute positively to the School community.
  • The House structure in the Upper School means there must be a balance between boarders and day pupils, as well as boys and girls in each year group: this has consequences on admissions in the Lower School and the availability of places at any one time in a particular year group.
  • Apart from in exceptional circumstances, and at the discretion of the Head, the School does not normally accept pupils into Years 11 and 13.

Age Guidelines

Please refer to the age guidelines for the appropriate year of entry.

Entry in August 2018

Entry is open for all year groups for August 2018.  Please note deadlines for applications.

Applications from strong students after the published deadlines will be considered subject to places being available, especially if applicants are from overseas and do not have a place in a school in Hong Kong.

Please click here to register for the Open Evening on 18 October 2017.

How to Apply for a Place

  • Download an Application Form from the School website. There is a separate form for Year 12 (Sixth Form) applicants
  • Pupils can only apply two years before entry. The most appropriate time to submit an Application Form is towards the end of the Summer Term (i.e. fourteen months prior to entry) when your child has received their end of year/term report.
  • Complete and submit the Application Form to the School, along with the non-refundable Application Fee and a copy of the pupil’s most recent two school reports.
  • Registration is not completed until the parents have received an acknowledgement of application and the Application Fee has been duly paid. Registration does not, however, constitute an offer of a place at the School.


The School operates a priority system for inviting applicants for assessment when and if places become available in particular year groups throughout the year. 

Beyond priority group 4, other applicants may be asked for assessment in order for the School to meet the gender, nationality and boarding balance outlined in the guiding principles above.

Enrolment to the School is competitive. The Admissions department reviews all applications, but only shortlisted applicants will be invited to further assessments. The number of applicants selected for assessment at any one time will be proportional to the number of places available in a particular year group and is determined by:

  • The priority for assessment categories listed above.
  • An assessment of the information contained in and supporting the Application Form, including school reports.
  • The guiding principles, which may mean limitations based on gender, nationality or day/boarding status in a particular year group.

Individual needs can be discussed with the Admissions Department before applying to the School. If appropriate, an assessment made by the School’s Individual Needs Coordinator and/or the English for Academic Purposes Coordinator will be available at the assessment stage to ensure specific needs can be met if offered a place.

Selection for Assessments

The number of pupils selected for assessment at any one time will be proportional to the number of places available in a particular year group and take into account:

  • The priority for assessment system above.
  • A preliminary assessment of the Application Form.
  • The guiding principles above, which may mean limitations based on gender and nationality.

Format of Assessments

Assessments take place at the School. Applicants should bring their passports and Hong Kong ID card (if applicable) with them. The dress code is their school uniform or smart-casual.

Overseas applicants sit a computerised test or in some cases written papers, in English, Mathematics and Non-Verbal Reasoning at their current school, or at an authorised Examination Centre. Applicants who demonstrate the required academic ability will subsequently be offered a Skype interview.

The assessment system evaluates the current level of proficiency in English of the applicants in an age-appropriate way in different age groups in addition to their academic performance, extra-curricular interests, and their potential to thrive in and contribute to the School’s diverse international community.

Offer of a Place

The assessment process is competitive and following it, parents are informed that their child has been either:

  • Offered a Guaranteed Place (for Year 12 pupils, places may be conditional upon IGCSE or equivalent results) if they perform strongly in the assessments and there are places available.
  • Placed on a Waiting List for possible entry if further places become available if they perform well in the assessments, but cannot be offered an immediate place because there are no places left.
  • Unsuccessful in their application, because they performed at a standard below what is necessary to access the curriculum effectively at Harrow Hong Kong.
Unsuccessful Applications

Parents of applicants who are not successful in gaining a place will receive a letter of rejection, but may contact the Admissions department for further details about why the application was unsuccessful.

The Admissions department will ask parents of applicants, who are not successful in gaining a place, or in being invited for assessment, if they would like their child to be considered for entry in the following year. As long as they inform the Admissions department in writing by the deadlines stated in the Admissions timeline, their application will be rolled over to the following year. Under these circumstances, there is no need to pay a further Application Fee. Failure to inform the Admissions department by the appropriate deadline will result in their child’s name being withdrawn from our lists.

Acceptance of Place

In order to accept the offer of a place at the start of the next academic year, the next term or for immediate entry in exceptional circumstances, parents should complete and return the Acceptance Pack and pay a Reservation Deposit (which is non-refundable whether or not the place can be filled, but will be offset against the first Term’s fees) within the time frame specified in the offer letter. Failure to do so may result in the place being offered to another pupil.

The Reservation Deposit consists of:

  • For Day Pupils - 10% of the current annual tuition fee.
  • For Boarders - 10% of the current annual tuition and boarding fee.

The invoice for the remainder of the current tuition fees (and boarding fees if appropriate), together with any increase in fees approved for the following academic year, and the Annual Capital Levy (for those applicants without a CCC, ICC or Individual Debenture) will be issued before the start of the academic year. For pupils starting during the course of the year current tuition (and boarding fees if appropriate) and the Annual Capital Levy (if applicable) will be calculated on a pro-rata basis.  

Boarding & Day Places (Years 6 - 13)

All successful applicants from Year 6 and above will be allocated a place in a House, and parents can indicate their preference for either a Day or Weekly Boarding place. Priority will be given to siblings whose parents wish their children to be in the same House.