K-8, Co-educational Independent School


How to Apply

We are so happy that you are interested in applying to ACDS for your child, and look forward to getting to know your family!  Through the application and its components we endeavor to learn about your child as a student and person, and answer all of your questions about our school program and community as you seek to identify the school that is the best fit for your child and family.  Our admission office is here to help you every step of the way, and we invite you to contact Liz Hendrickson, Director of Admission & Financial Aid at any time at 703-837-1303 or admissions@acdsnet.org.  

Application Deadlines for the 2024-2025 School Year

Friday, January 12, 2024 — Application Deadline*

Wednesday, January 31, 2024 — Teacher Recommendations, Testing, & School Records Deadline

Wednesday, January 31, 2024 —  Financial Aid Application Deadline for New Applicants

Friday, March 1, 2024 — Admission Decisions Sent

Friday, March 15, 2024 — Admission Reply Deadline

*Applications submitted after January 12th will be considered on a rolling basis for any grades in which space might still be available.

Limited spaces do remain in grades 2-6 for September 2024. Please contact Liz Hendrickson at lhendrickson@acdsnet.org or 703-837-1303 for more information.

Application Components

Student visits are held in-person at ACDS.  If you are applying from outside of the area, we will arrange for a virtual visit if necessary.


Kindergarten applicants attend a two-hour Saturday playdate.  

Grades 1-2

Students applying for First or Second Grade will visit ACDS for part of a school day.  They will be given a reading and math assessment during their visit.

Grades 3-8

Students applying for grades 3-8 will visit ACDS for an entire school day. They will be given reading and math assessment during their visit.

At ACDS we value the relationship we have with each family, and we feel the best way to get to know your interests, concerns, and hopes regarding your child’s education is to talk with you in person.  We have intentionally made our online application brief, as our interview affords a more personal opportunity for you to tell us about your child and ask questions about ACDS. The interview will be scheduled once the application has been received and typically lasts about an hour. 

Recommendation forms can be downloaded or sent to teachers electronically from our application portal.

•  Kindergarten and First Grade Applicants should submit one current teacher recommendation.

•  Applicants for grades 2-8 should submit two current teacher recommendations.  If possible, we prefer that the recommendations for students applying to grades 5-8 come from the student’s current year language arts and math teachers.

Kindergarten through Grade 5 

•  Children who are five years old and younger should take the WPPSI-IV (Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence). Please note that all kindergarten applicants must be five years old by September 30 of their kindergarten year.

•  Children who are six years old or older should take the WISC-V (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children).

Although ACDS is unable to endorse a particular testing center or individual, we have compiled a reference list providing the names of organizations that offer testing for admission purposes.

Grades 6-8 

•  Applicants for grades 6-8 should take either the ISEE or SSAT.

The school code is 472603 for ISEE and 1190 for SSAT.  Please register at www.erbtest.org (ISEE) or www.ssat.org (SSAT).

Please submit the transcript request to your child’s current school.  For students applying to kindergarten and first grade, the most recent current year report is sufficient.  Students applying to grades 2 through 8 should submit records for the current year along with the prior two years.

It can be a challenge for children to enter an entirely new community on a single day, and we are mindful of the fact that we may not get a full picture of how a student will engage in the classroom from one visit. Therefore, we often make an effort to observe your child in his or her current school when we feel that doing so will afford us a more complete picture of them as learners. These visits allow us to see how your child engages when they are in an environment that is familiar and comfortable.  We will talk with you before contacting the preschool to schedule a visit.

Students applying to grades 3-8 should submit a piece of writing they have done in school that has teacher feedback and/or a grade on it.

A completed file includes:

• Application

• WPPSI-IV, WISC-V, ISEE or SSAT Test Results

• School Transcript

• Teacher Recommendation, one for K-1 and two for grades 2-8

• Student Visit

• Parent Interview

Upon careful review of each application, the Admission Committee provides admission decisions to families in early March. Each piece of the application provides the Admission Committee with a stronger sense of your child. In making admission decisions, the Admission Committee, made up of admission staff, faculty, and Heads of Lower and Middle School, reviews a student’s visit, academic record, test scores, learning style, and overall school experience. Our goal is to discover all that your child will gain from and contribute to an ACDS experience, and to ensure that we are able to meet the social-emotional and academic needs of every student we admit.


Non-Discrimination Policy
ACDS admits qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, gender identity, transgender status, mental or physical disability, or any other status protected by applicable law, and extends to them all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School.  ACDS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, or any other status protected by applicable law in the administration of its admissions and financial aid, and its educational, athletic, and other programs.

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