A Guide to Crafting The Perfect Polytechnic School Application

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Polytechnic School, founded in 1907, is a private, coeducational day school that caters to students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. It has been known for the strength of its programs, but beyond scholastic goals and achievements, Poly also encourages its students to lead a remarkable life of purpose. It has an inspiring community that develops its students to become multitalented and intellectually ambitious leaders. The school has a PolyHonor, which is among the defining characteristics of Poly education. PolyHonor also provides every member of its community with the opportunity to affirm their commitment to the principles of the school’s Mission, Credo, Vision, and Philosophy. 

The Polytechnic School utilizes a unique blend of tradition and innovation. Students get to participate in trips to a variety of environments such as desert, and water-based expeditions, besides learning in a classroom setting. The school is known for its Outdoor Ed program for Middle School and Upper School students, where everyone cultivates personal responsibility, self-confidence, resilience, and appreciation for the world around them.

Is Poly Hard to Get Into? 

The Polytechnic School expects limited openings each year—45 in kindergarten, 18-20 in sixth grade, 10-12 in seventh grade, and 25-30 in ninth grade—which could still vary depending on enrollment and attrition. Non-entry grades, on the other hand, are only available through attrition. The competition is tough! To increase your chances of getting in, you must know your strengths and weaknesses to achieve your maximum potential and improve in other areas. As your trusted advisors, it is our primary mission to help you build a strong student profile and increase your chances of getting in! We have a team of educational consultants specializing in private school admissions to provide you with a bespoke package that is tailor-fit to your family’s needs, experiences, values, and goals.

Polytechnic School Admissions

The Poly application process begins by filling out an inquiry form. For prospective students for the 2023-2024 school year, you can complete your form here. For those applying after the 2023-2024 school year, you can let Poly know you’re interested through this form and no other steps are necessary until you decide to apply. However, students applying for this school year should create an account in the Admissions Portal and log in to learn more about Poly’s application process. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Complete the online application
  2. Delegate recommendation letters through the admissions portal
  3. Participate in a one-on-one interview (sixth-grade applicants should participate in Visit Day in lieu of the interview)
  4. Submit transcript from the previous school year and first semester grades of the current year
  5. Answer short-essay questions
  6. Submit parent/guardian statement

Polytechnic Application 

Recommendation Letters

Recommendation forms are requested through the admissions portal and responses are sent directly to the Polytechnic School admissions office. Applicants must delegate recommendation letters from the current math and English teachers and one school administrator who could be a principal, program director, or counselor. 

Recommendation letters play significant roles in acceptance into Poly as they will exhibit your child’s character, competence, and capacities as a student. However, everything must also be reinforced by your other credentials—GPA, test scores, and extracurricular activities.

Do letters of recommendation really matter?

Yes! As far as GPAs go, scholastic achievements, in itself, are inadequate to secure a spot in admissions. There would be a lot of other applicants with the same, or even better, grades and achievements than your child’s. As expert admissions consultants, we recommend that students start preparing early for admissions to build strong connections and relationships with the faculty and staff of the school. This will allow the counselor, principal, and teachers to enable them to demonstrate your child’s individuality and character in the recommendation letters. 


To get into Poly, students must submit their transcript from the previous school year and first semester/trimester reports from the application year. The transcript request forms are found on the application portal and all grades and records are sent directly to the Polytechnic School.

Besides intellectual performance, the transcript will indicate whether or not your child is prepared to take on Poly’s academic rigor. If your child’s grades are not that extraordinary, start private school admissions counseling early! Our tutors can provide you with one-on-one in-person or online tutoring for a variety of subjects and courses. We also have academic coaches who offer academic coaching that utilizes a holistic strategy and teaches our students executive functioning skills to prepare them for even more challenging tasks as they pursue their academic careers. Gear up with our academic advisors and tutors and get accepted at Polytechnic School!

Admissions Interview

The Polytechnic School requires ninth-grade to twelfth-grade applicants to participate in a one-on-one student Interview with a member of the Poly Admission Team. Seventh-grade applicants are invited to take part in a virtual interview with someone from the admission team or middle school faculty. Sixth-grade students, on the other hand, are welcomed on the campus to participate in group and individual activities for Visit Day. Regardless of what admission event, students will be assessed if they are fit for the school’s culture and values. 

This is your chance to make admissions officers remember you for all the good reasons! Our admissions consultants know exactly what Poly values the most because we have helped many students gain admission. Our interview preparation program will teach you and your child how to answer questions correctly and confidently through mock interview sessions. Yes, we know what admissions officers will most likely ask and what responses they want to hear. We will guide you in crafting honest and authentic responses that will show you are a good fit for the school community. 


All Aspiring Poly students should answer short essay questions that must be completed by the applicant without help from an adult. These essays are meant to allow admissions officers to get to know students better beyond their grades and academic achievements. 

Admissions essays should exhibit your child’s uniqueness and prowess in writing. Our writing tutors can help if your child is not a good writer and has difficulties expressing ideas through written communication. Our Program in Writing and Reading (PWR) teaches writing skills and helps students become active and inquisitive readers. Here are some tips on how to write strong essays and personal statements.

Parent/Guardian Statement

Applicants’ parents or guardians must complete the parent statement which are short answer questions found on the admission portal. The answers to the questions reveal your child’s personality, character, strengths, and weaknesses from your perspective as a parent or guardian.  

Answers that are straightforward, honest, and genuine are what admissions officers are looking for. They know that you would always speak highly of your child, but they want you to be objective when answering the questions. You should be aware that your responses can help or hurt your chances of admittance, though. Our private school admissions consulting is holistic and we will not only work with your child but with your whole family making sure that all members are on the right track. Our admissions consultants will guide you and teach you how to write compelling parent statements that will show admissions officers that your family is a good fit for them.

Standardized Testing

No tests are required for admission to Poly. Instead, upper school applicants will be asked to take a student assessment that is available on the application portal. 

Polytechnic Alumni

Many graduates of the Polytechnic School have chosen diverse careers and have found success in those sectors. Several prominent Poly alumni include 

  • Sean Bailey – appointed president of production at Walt Disney Studios in 2010
  • John Battelle – co-founder of Wired magazine, and executive chairman of Sovrn Holdings 
  • Stephen J. Cannell – a television producer and creator of famous TV shows like 21 Jump Street, The A-Team, and Silk Stalkings
  • Kevin Greutert – a film director and editor of the Saw series, fiction writer, and music performer for film scores
  • David Wiseman – an American artist and designer known for detailed craftsmanship in his bronze screens and gates, terrazzo furniture, animal sculptures, and porcelain vases
  • George Reeves (+) – an actor and star of the TV series, Adventures of Superman
  • Drew Pinsky – a physician and media personality who hosted several talk shows that tackle addiction
  • David Ebershoff – an American writer, and author of internationally bestselling novels such as The 19th Wife and The Danish Girl
  • Charlie Paddock – an American athlete and two-time Olympic champion in track
  • Kristina Reed – a film producer for DreamWorks Animation and Walt Disney Animation Studios

Student Life at Poly

Poly’s faculty and staff go beyond the classroom. Every student is challenged to interact and collaborate in activities and programs that the school has to offer—may it be inside the campus or outside in the broader world. Through student-led initiatives and offerings, the Polytechnic School inspires its students to discover more about themselves, their values, and how to positively impact their community. There is an array of clubs, community engagement, affinity groups, and leadership opportunities, which students can choose from and participate in. But beyond the school and its local community, Poly students are encouraged to be citizens of the world and join Poly’s Global Initiatives Program (GIP). Through this program, upper school students will be able to connect with people from across the world study various cultures, undertake service projects, and be part of cultural events.

Polytechnic School Academics

Polytechnic School has high academic standards as its cornerstone. It has a broad curriculum with exceptional programs in both performing and visual arts, as well as in community service. Poly has 57.2% minority student enrollment and a student-teacher ratio of 7:1. It has a dedicated faculty and staff that helps promote academic prowess, self-exploration, global citizenship, and leadership. Polytechnic Upper School offers Honors and Advanced Placement courses to enable students to explore various academic disciplines and develop their potential.

Polytechnic School Activities

The Poly experience is fused with challenge, connection, and creativity through a multitude of co-curricular activities. The school has a variety of clubs, affinity groups, community service activities, and leadership opportunities to let its students discover themselves and their values, as well as to find ways to better the world around them. Poly encourages students to take charge and advocate for commitments to help address the climate crisis. Students created an Upper School club and a Middle School Sustainability club to start making a positive impact.

Poly Sports

Poly has a long-standing tradition of excellence in its athletic programs, with sportsmanship and teamwork as its cornerstone. It has a Training and Sports Performance Support Team that provides student-athletes with comprehensive care. Committed to developing student-athletes with the highest potential for success, Poly’s Athletic Department has produced quite a few collegiate and professional athletes in its history. Additionally, Poly has a Panther Club to encourage families and friends to turn up at games and to provide a forum for parents, athletes, and school staff.  

Polytechnic Arts

The Visual Arts and Performing Arts Departments are committed to preparing students for lifelong artistic appreciation and engagement. The coursework builds a solid foundation in every student’s skills, content, and experience through creativity, curiosity, and aesthetic understanding. Both the Performing Arts Department and the Visual Arts Department expose students to arts and opportunities to advance. Course offerings include Band, Cantatori, Jazz Improvisation, and Movement and Oral Interpretation in the Performing Arts.

Did You Know?

Polytechnic School is Southern California’s first coeducational, independent day school.

Client Testimonial

“I highly recommend Cardinal Education for families who want their child to get into Polytechnic School. Their guidance and expertise throughout the entire application process have been instrumental in my daughter getting accepted into Poly.