Enrollment and Placement Policies

The International School of Tianjin does not discriminate in admissions with regard to race, gender, ethnic origin, or religion. The decision to admit a student is based on an assessment of the student’s ability to benefit both from the school’s academic program and also from the student life environment, which emphasizes care for the person, development of self-discipline, and responsibility to the community.

All admissions decisions are made by the principals in consultation with the director and relevant academic staff.

Students joining the school are placed in a given grade level according to their age. The cut-off date that determines grade placement is September 30th.

Children must be 4 years of age by September 30th of the current academic year to be placed in the KG 2 (Reception); 5 years of age by September 30th to join the KG 3 (Year 1); 6 years of age by September 30th to join Grade 1 (Year 2), and so on at all grade levels throughout the school.

Note: there are 2 exceptions to the age criterion, as follows:

(i) Students who are two years and nine months may join the KG 1 (Nursery). However, they must be 4 years of age by September 30th of the current academic year before they are subsequently placed in the KG 2 (Reception) program.
(ii) From KG 3 (Year 1) upwards, students joining the school who do not meet the school’s 30 September age criterion but have successfully completed a given grade level in their previous school, equivalent in both age range and learning expectations to that offered at IST, will be considered for placement in the following year’s grade level. Fully documented and notarized school records and testimonials clearly indicating the student’s readiness for the placement must be provided. Such placement decisions will be made on a provisional basis, and will be subject to mid and end of year review. Should the school determine that the placement is not meeting the student’s learning needs, grade demotion or repetition may be considered.

Students transferring from school systems that do not operate on an August to June school year will normally be required to repeat part of a given grade level. When considering a waiver of this requirement the school will consider a variety of factors, including the student’s age and social maturity, academic performance, and level of English language acquisition.

Students are not normally admitted in the last 30 days of the school year.

A student may not enter or remain at IST unless he/she is living full-time with at least one parent or guardian. The Board of Governors must approve any exceptions to this regulation.

The school gives priority for admission within the following provisions:

  • Preferred Capital Levy holders and Associate Members* take precedence over Normal Capital Levy payers, regardless of the date that the application was received (until open registration in the first week of May)
  • Siblings of current students take precedence over new applicants without other children currently enrolled at the school.
  • The number of students requiring ESL services will be limited according to the school’s resources.
  • Remaining applicants will be processed by date of receipt of a fully completed application, (incomplete applications will not be processed for enrollment without special arrangement with the school office).
  • The school will strictly adhere to the class size policy adopted by the Board of Governors.
  • Students may not attend class until all parts of their application package are received by the school office.

Companies which join IST as Associate Members through the purchase of reserved seats at $15,000 per seat, will receive priority for enrollment (provided all other admissions criteria are met.) The reserved seats will be valid for a period of five years and are transferable through the school on a pro rata basis, pending availability of an interested third party. As an additional Associate Member benefit, the Capital Fee will be reduced by $1,500 a year for a period of ten years, ($15,000 total).


Students re-register for the following year on a form provided by the school during the month of April.


In enrolling their child at IST, parent(s) and guardian(s) are deemed to have granted permission for their child’s name and photograph to appear in school publications such as the yearbook, the school website, and school promotional publications.

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