Admission Banner Library Shelves

The Standard Application Online

​I want to apply to several schools, but I don't want to spend days filling out applications. Is there an easier way?

Yes! The Standard Application Online (SAO) has been used by thousands of students to apply to hundreds of independent schools. You only need to fill out the biographic information, student essays, and parent statement once and get one transcript and set of teacher recommendations.


​Video: Applying Made Easy: The Standard Application Online 

Making Applying Easier

The Standard Application Online was created to simplify and standardize the process of applying to independent schools (grades PK-12). It allows families to complete just one online application that will pre-fill to multiple applications, and obtain one transcript and set of teacher recommendations (easily submitted online by recommenders and administrators) to apply to any number of private/independent member schools that accept it.

How Does it Work?

Complete and submit each section of the SAO. Schools will receive the application components as they are submitted online by you or your teacher/administrator. All school application fees are paid through the SAO. pdfDownload instructions for using the SAO​.

The process is simple:​

  • Access the SAO using your SSAT account login.​
  • 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.
  • Complete student essays and parent statement for the paid application, which will pre-fill to all additional applications that require these components as part of their SAO.
  • Recommendation forms (school, English, math,transcript): Just one set is required, regardless of how many schools you apply to. Provide email addresses for the teachers/administrators who will complete recommendation forms and send your transcript. All forms 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. Each school's requirements will be listed - complete as needed.​

​Accepted by Hundreds of Schools

The SAO is accepted by hundreds of private/independent schools. Many schools use the SAO exclusively for applicants. Look for the SAO logo on a school’s website, or to filter a complete list of accepting schools, go to the school search and click on the filter box on the left side labeled "Accepts Standard Application Online (SAO)."​

Can My Placement Director/Educational Consultant Help?

Let your placement director or consultant to monitor your applications and manage the recommendation and submission process by adding your school (if you're working with a placement director) or educational consultant's name when prompted to “add an advisor” as you complete your first application. ​​