Lower School Admission (Grades 1-4)

Application Process

Please note that at this point in the admission season we are placing all new inquiries into the "rolling admission" phase, due to the fact that we no longer have availability in our remaining shadow days or admission testing prior to the February 8 deadline. After our upcoming annual decision round is complete, we will be able to consider candidates for admission beginning in mid-March, provided the prospective grade didn't fill during the initial decision round. In the meantime, please begin working through the steps in the application process below so that your child's application will be able to be considered at that point.

STEP 1: Submit an Online Inquiry

Begin the process of learning more about the Porter-Gaud difference by completing our brief inquiry for each potential applicant. This step is required of all families (including those with older children already at Porter-Gaud and those coming from the O'Quinn Schools of Porter-Gaud). It must be completed prior to attending an Open House or parent meeting or having your child shadow. Click the button below to complete the form:

STEP 2: Attend an Open House (Parents only)

Open Houses for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year have been completed. Please contact Kathleen Beck at (843) 402-4726 to schedule an individual parent meeting and tour this Spring.

The best way to discover the difference a Porter-Gaud education would make for your Lower School child is to attend an Open House. These parents-only events include a small-group presentation providing an overview of the Lower School, a question and answer session, remarks from a current parent, and a campus tour that includes class visits and the chance to speak informally with current students, faculty, and staff members about their experiences at Porter-Gaud. You will see the school in action and develop a clearer understanding of what makes Porter-Gaud the premier independent school in Charleston.

Open Houses are led by Director of Lower School Admission Lucy Lytle. Throughout the application process, Lucy will serve as your child’s advocate. She will seek to learn as much as possible about your child, your family, and the type of independent school education you’re seeking as well as answer your questions and provide you with the information you need to determine if Porter-Gaud is the right fit for your family.

If your family is traveling to Charleston from out of town or you are unable to attend one of our scheduled Open Houses, please contact Admission Assistant Kathleen Beck at (843) 402-4726 or send an email to kbeck@portergaud.edu to schedule an individual parent meeting and campus tour. Parent meetings include a discussion with Director of Lower School Admission Lucy Lytle and a campus tour and generally last 60-90 minutes. Available meeting times include 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.

Step 3: Register your child for a First Grade Preview (Grade 1) or a Student Shadow Day (Grades 2-4)

First Grade Preview:

In lieu of a shadow day, applicants for Grade 1 and their parents are encouraged to attend our First Grade Preview for Prospective Families on Thursday, January 17, 2019 from 3:30–4:30 p.m. Your child will preview life as a first grade student at PG in our sunlit, self-contained first grade building while parents hear about the first grade program from teachers and administrators. Afterwards, everyone enjoys refreshments on the playground. If your child is currently in kindergarten and plans to apply to Porter-Gaud for the rising first grade in the fall of 2019, please click on the button below to register:

Registration for the First Grade Preview has closed. Please email Kathleen Beck at kbeck@portergaud.edu to arrange an individual visit for your rising first grader this Spring.

Student Shadow Day:

Applicants for Grades 2-4 are required to spend the day shadowing their future classmates. Student visitors should arrive at the Admission Office at 7:45 a.m. and arrange pick-up at 2:45 p.m. Prospective students attend classes, lunch, and recess with a student host and immerse themselves in the Porter-Gaud experience. At the end of the day, they meet with Director of Lower School Admission Lucy Lytle, who answers their questions, discusses their day, and begins the process of getting to know them as individuals. To register for a student shadow day, please call Admission Assistant Kathleen Beck at (843) 402-4726 or send an email to kbeck@portergaud.edu.

STEP 4: Complete the Application for Admission

Prospective parents should complete the following application documents and submit the non-refundable $75 application fee to the Admission Office by February 8, 2019. After clicking on the 'Apply Online' button below, you'll be prompted to create a login. (Please note: If you are a current parent, this login is not the same one you use for the Parent Portal on Porter-Gaud's website.)

After you submit an application for admission, you can access the Admission Parent Portal using the login you created when completing the application. Please click here to log in and view your child's application checklist to complete the remaining items required for admission consideration.


STEP 5: Release of Records

Below you will find a Release of Records document. Please take this form to your child's current school after the completion of the first semester. It authorizes your child's school to send standardized test scores, transcripts, and other required information to Porter-Gaud. Please note that submitting this form prior to the end of the second quarter may delay your child's application as we will receive only partial records. To download and print the form, click on the button below:


STEP 6: Register for Admission Testing

Admission Testing for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year has been completed. Please contact Kathleen Beck at (843) 402-4726 to schedule an individual testing date this Spring.

Porter-Gaud's Lower School requires on-site admission testing of all applicants and offers two group-testing dates:

Saturday, January 19, 2019 from 9:00–11:00 a.m. (Registration for January 19 has closed.)

Saturday, February 2, 2019 from 9:00–11:00 a.m. (Registration for February 2 has closed.)

Registration for one of these test dates is required and Porter-Gaud must have an application for admission, including the non-refundable $75 application fee, on file prior to the test date. In the case of families traveling from out of town, admission testing may be conducted during the student’s shadow day, or, for applicants to the first grade, during the parent meeting.

Please use the button below to register for the testing date of your choice:

STEP 7: Admission Decision

Please refer to your child's admission checklist in the Parent Portal to confirm that your child's application is complete. If all items in the checklist have been marked with a check, your child's application file is complete!

  • Application Deadline (annual Decision Round): Friday, February 8, 2019
  • Admission Decisions Communicated to Families: Friday, March 8, 2019
  • Enrollment Deadline for Accepted Applicants: Friday, March 15, 2019

All applications received after the deadline for the annual Decision Round will be considered on a rolling basis, provided that space and funding remain available.

Still have questions? Click here to link to our FAQs page.