How to Get Into The Overlake School: Key to Admission

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Overlake School Overview

The Overlake School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school nestled in the city of Redmond, Washington. The school caters to students from grades 5 through 12, with more than 500 students and 70 faculty members. It has an inclusive and diverse community rooted in equity and mutual respect that develops students into multifaceted individuals with a passion for learning, equipped with skills to take on any path that positively impacts the world. 

Overlake’s 73-acre campus, known as “a green island of forest, pasture, and wetland,” fosters a student-centered and collaborative educational environment, where students are encouraged to connect to the broader world.  It has state-of-the-art facilities for technology, arts, math, and science that blends well with its physical environment. Overlake has several school traditions, such as the US Sports Night, Back to the Classroom program for parents to visit the school and attend classes, and an annual lunch with the MS and US Heads and Dean of Students for parents to discuss events, issues, or any queries they may have.

Is Overlake Hard to Get Into?

The Overlake School values diversity. Its admissions team is seeking to admit a wide range of students from different backgrounds and cultures. To this day, the school attracts families from San Francisco, the East Bay, the Marin and Sonoma Counties, as well as from other countries. For this reason, the competition could be tougher than you anticipated!

There are many deciding factors considered in the evaluation of prospective students. What does this mean? You have to prepare early! Applicants will be heavily assessed through their scholastic achievements, test scores,  and the character they demonstrate during admissions events and the interview. To excel, you need to differentiate yourself from fellow applicants. But, this will take a whole lot of strategic planning.  At Cardinal Education, we help our students to stand out in the admissions process and increase their chances of getting into The Overlake School. Gear up with our experts today!

The Overlake School Application Process

The admissions process starts by creating and logging in to your account in Ravenna. Keep in mind that all information you provide will be verified by the admissions officers. Make sure that you only include relevant information that you will be able to confirm later on in the application. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Complete the initial application
  2. Submit parent/guardian statement
  3. Submit student essay
  4. Fill out the Overlake Activities and Interest Form
  5. Take a standardized test (SSAT or ISEE for grade 5-11 applicants)
  6. Take the Character Skills Snapshot
  7. Delegate teacher evaluations
  8. Put in your report cards/transcripts
  9. Participate in a student interview

The Overlake School Admissions Requirements

Personal Statement/ Student Essay

Upper School applicants are required to write a 200-word personal statement in response to the questions posted on Ravenna.

The personal statement or student essay gives admissions officers a glimpse into your personality and attitude and how you could be a good fit for the school. It will also demonstrate your writing skills and how well you can communicate your thoughts through writing. Many students miss their chances of admission because they fail to write compelling essays that differentiate them from the rest. Don’t let this happen to you. If you are not a good writer, we recommend that you undergo our Program in Writing and Reading (PWR). This is a one-of-a-kind course that can help develop your reading skills and unlock your writing potential.

Parent/Guardian Statement

All parents or guardians of applicants are required to respond to four prompts found on the common form on Ravenna. Each response is limited to 150 words. Since this is a common form that is shared among multiple schools, responses should be carefully thought out and written well.  The parent/guardian statement gives admissions officers information about crucial family details and enables them to discover more about the dynamics and objectives of the family.

 Just like the personal statement and student essay, parent/guardian statements may make or break your chances of admission. As private school admissions experts, we can help you write a truthful and authentic essay that aligns with your family goals as well as the values of the school you are applying to.

Overlake Activities and Interest Form

Upper school applicants should complete the Activities and Interest Form and fill in the chart that requires information about co-curricular and sports activities participated in within the past three years. Information should include the name of the organization, years of participation, number of hours and weeks spent, positions held, and honors earned. There are also four questions at the end that require answers in narrative form. 

This form demonstrates the leadership skills, areas of interest, and level of achievement of a student. The more relevant activities listed, the better because it will reflect a well-rounded personality and the ability to interact and build relationships. Our admissions consultants can help you identify which activities to include and what others you can participate in that will add value to your application.

Standardized Testing

The SSAT or the ISEE test is required of applicants for grades 5 through 11. Only test results from the current year are accepted. Please visit the SSAT or ISEE websites for further details on exam options and dates.

We understand that standardized tests can cause a great deal of stress which is why we offer a test prep to help you gear up and overcome anxiety. Our tutors do not only focus on the concepts but also teach test-taking skills to develop confidence. Our SSAT and ISEE practice tests are considered to be among the best and those who have taken them have gotten the highest scores possible. Let our tutors guide you to success!

Character Skills Snapshot

To get into The Overlake School, prospective students must take the Character Skills Snapshot. It is an innovative tool that measures one’s attitudes and preferences toward the seven essential character skills, which are resilience, intellectual engagement, initiative, teamwork, open-mindedness, social awareness, and self-control. 

We provide an overview of the different skills and administer an assessment to get an initial picture of how you will do on this test.

Teacher Evaluations

Applicants are required to submit 2 teacher evaluations. For grades 5 and 6 applicants must delegate one form to a current core grade-level teacher and the second form to the previous year’s teacher. If there is more than one teacher in the current grade, the second form may be given to the other teacher. Applicants for grades 7 through 12 must delegate one form to a current English or Social Studies teacher, and the second to a current Math or Science teacher. 

How do you get good teacher evaluations?

We recommend choosing teachers who you have good relationships with and who know you on a more personal level. If there is a specific teacher whom you can only ask, try to build rapport and exert extra effort in building a positive connection. Be real and authentic because teachers will only write about what they see and how they perceive you. 

Report Cards/Transcript

The Common Records Request Form should be submitted to the current school, this can be downloaded from the applicant’s Ravenna account. For Grades 5- 6 applicants, records from the previous school year and from the first term/semester are required. For Grades 7 through 12 applicants, records from the previous two years along with the first term/semester are required. 

The Overlake admissions officers are looking for students who are academically excellent and will be able to succeed in its rigorous academic curriculum. Grades matter so your report cards should reflect your caliber and academic performance. What if your grades are not that great? Our tutors can help you improve your grades through one-on-one tutoring sessions on the subjects you need help with. Your chances will be greater if you prepare for admissions early.

Student Interview

All applicants for grades 5–6 are expected to participate in a student interview. Students will take part in a group activity, a content knowledge exercise, and an hour-long one-on-one discussion with a faculty or staff member. The purpose of this activity is to get to know the pupils and see how they interact with others. Students might choose to take part in the group interview online or in person. Applicants for grade 7 will have a one-on-one interview with a member of the Overlake faculty or staff.

As time-tested experts in admissions, we can give you the proper interview preparation you need. We have been in this industry since 2006 and we have a deep understanding of what admissions interview questions are like and how you should respond to them while being truthful and authentic to yourself.

Who are The Overlake School’s notable alumni?

Here is a list of several Overlake graduates who have become successful in their chosen fields: 

  1. Jay Stamper (1990) – a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate in South Carolina
  2. Carrie Brownstein (1992) – a singer/guitarist for the band Sleater-Kinney and co-star of the IFC sketch series Portlandia
  3. Sarah Tompkins (2005) – Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Rare Diseases Patient & Disability Advocate
  4. Dr. Jeffrey Herron (2005) – researcher in the field of Brain-Computer Interfaces, awardee of Overlake’s Distinguished Alumni Award
  5. Hugh Wetherald (1979) – a retired Rear Admiral in the Navy, was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal
  6. Lauren Russell Nkuranga (2005) – founder of GET IT (Africa), distributor of safe food in East Africa
  7. Dr. Shivani Srivastava (2004) – recognized for her advanced research on cancer treatments at the Riddell Lab; second recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award
  8. Allison Barto(1994)  – Director at Ball Aerospace, a spacecraft company; recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award
  9. Rae Parks (2008) –  Program Operations Manager at The Seattle nonprofit Young Women Empowered
  10. Brett Rawson (2003) –  Director and co-founder of The Seventh Wave, an arts and  literary nonprofit magazine

Student Life at Overlake

At The Overlake School, students are presented with many programs and activities to ensure that they have the opportunity to develop holistically and pursue areas of interest and passion. Aside from clubs and sports, Overlake has various academic teams, including chess, quiz bowl, speech and debate, robotics, and DECA, a global organization that prepares students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management.  The school also provides strong academic, social, and emotional support through its advisory system wherein every student is assigned an advisor, who is a faculty member and serves as an advocate and mentor in both academics and social matters.  A myriad of academic policies, student behavioral policies, and general student policies help maintain structure and order at Overlake. The student government addresses campus concerns and plans different activities for the students. 

Overlake Academics

The Overlake School strives to provide its students with tools to develop skills that would help them to become productive and engage members of the community. As a policy, the school does not rank its students. With a total of 530 students and 70 faculty members, The Overlake School has an average class size of 14 and a 7:1 student-teacher ratio. It has a dedicated and experienced faculty, 70% of whom have master’s degrees and 6 of whom are doctorates. To this day, the school remains committed to inclusion and serves, 69.4% of its student population, minorities. 

There are honors courses in five disciplines and 17 advanced placement courses for students to choose from. Overlake has a balanced college preparatory curriculum that equips students with knowledge and skills so that they can be active members of a global society. While the inspiring and interactive learning environment of Middle School prepares students for Upper School, Overlake prepares upper school students with vigorous and exacting programs to succeed in college and beyond.

Overlake Activities

At Overlake, school activities are centered around inclusion and equity, compassion, mutual respect, curiosity, and integrity. Programs such as Project Week, Service Learning, Writer’s Symposium, and Counseling Program are offered to support students’ learning. Overlake also has interesting and unique annual events, such as the Benefit Concert—a charity benefit where both students and faculty showcase their talents. While club participation is optional, Overlake encourages students to get involved. Upper school clubs include Aeronautical Engineering, Album Club, Film Festival Club, Asian Culture Club, Baking Club, Forefront/Teen Link, Kiva Club, and a lot more!

Overlake Athletics

The Overlake School is among the members of the Emerald Sound Conference and the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association. The school has more than 80 coaches and around 50 teams. At Overlake, all students have chances to play at both Middle and Upper School levels. They have several interscholastic athletics programs, such as volleyball, soccer, cross country, golf, basketball, ultimate, lacrosse, tennis, and baseball. Each year, Overlake organizes a bi-annual event called, Athletics Hall of Fame, where everyone in the Overlake community honors past Overlake athletes who made outstanding contributions to the school as its students.

Overlake has its own game called GOLA which was invented by a senior faculty member and athletics coach. This is a combination of volleyball, soccer, and four-square and helps develop agility in soccer goalies. This original game is what makes the Owls a competitive soccer team.

Overlake Arts

Overlake Arts provides rich opportunities for its multifaceted artists through comprehensive art programs. They offer several arts and music classes, such as woodshop, orchestra, photography, ceramics, graphic design, concert band, choir, sculpture, dance, jazz band, drama, painting, drawing, and stagecraft. Every year, The Overlake School holds an event to celebrate all arts through instrumental and vocal performances, dance, theatre sports, drama, and visual arts exhibits.

Did You Know?

Overlake offers Mandarin, French, Latin, and Spanish language courses.

Client Testimonial

“Cardinal Education played a crucial role in my son’s successful admission to The Overlake School. From tutoring, test prep, and application guidance, their commitment to their students’ success is exceptional.”