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General Questions About Menlo and the Application Process
Where can I find facts about the School or the school profile?
Look on our Facts at a Glance page.
What kind of student is Menlo looking for?
Menlo seeks students who love learning and have strong academic skills. We want students who are kind, honest, and inclusive of others. Menlo students are motivated and eager to try new things, to stretch themselves and become involved in our community beyond the classroom. Although Menlo is a relatively small school, we have a big-school program and we are looking for students who will engage in all we have to offer.
Where do Menlo students come from?
Menlo students come from a wide variety of public, independent, and parochial schools—from over 35 schools into each of our divisions! Committed to attracting and supporting students from a broad spectrum of ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds, Menlo strives to reflect the rich diversity of communities that surround it.
What is the school’s commitment to cultural and ethnic diversity? How diverse is the Menlo community?
We believe students are better educated and prepared to succeed when the School community—students, families, faculty, administration, and staff—is diverse and inclusive. Diversity benefits the entire community by providing a wide range of perspectives and experiences. Currently, 50% of our students identify as non-white.
Does Menlo offer Financial Aid?
Yes! Menlo seeks to attract talented students from every socioeconomic background. In 2020-2021, $6.5 million in aid has been awarded to 21% of the students. Financial aid is need-based; aid is awarded based on a family’s need, not on academic or athletic ability.
May I spend a day visiting classes to see if Menlo is a good fit for me?
Due to COVID-19, we will not host any in-person events during the 2020-2021 academic year. We will provide virtual events for applicants and their families to learn more about Menlo throughout the application season.
How many openings are there for new students?
Our primary entry points are sixth and ninth grade. Each year we enroll between 70 and 75 students into both sixth grade and ninth grade. Class size in the Upper School is about 145, half from our middle school and half new to Menlo in ninth grade.
Does Menlo accept transfer students?
We welcome applicants to grades 7, 8 , 10, 11, and 12, but we want families to be aware that we cannot guarantee there will be openings. The number of openings for non-entry points varies from year to year. We are fully enrolled, and a student would have to leave the School before an opening would occur in grades other than sixth and ninth.
May international students apply?
International students may apply to Menlo, however as a day school with no boarding facilities, Menlo expects all students to live locally with their parent(s). We are a family-focused community, and parents are expected to be on campus frequently to volunteer, attend meetings, or athletics/arts events.
How do students commute to school?
Menlo is committed to sustainability and encourages students to “go green.” Menlo students commute by bus, train, carpool, bike and foot. Menlo provides free bus transportation along four different routes and a shuttle to and from the Caltrain station in Menlo Park. Many families carpool and some older students drive themselves. See our transportation page for more information.
What college counseling resources are available?
The College Counseling Office carefully guides students through the college admission process. Counseling begins in the summer before sophomore year and continues through the spring of senior year. Each student is assigned to one of our four college counselors and the counselors meet regularly with students and parents. The College Counseling Office maintains a comprehensive web site.
What kinds of academic support does Menlo offer?
Our academic and learning support programs in both Middle School and Upper School provide support and guidance at all levels, from faculty-led help sessions; to a math/science learning lab and writing center; to one-on-one sustained study skills coaching; to Student Success Plans to support those with diagnosed learning differences. Of course, the most meaningful support is the strong relationships between our students and our teachers, who work every day to develop learning environments that ensure that all of our students thrive.
Does Menlo have a sibling admission policy?
The goal of the Menlo School Admissions Office is to build a well-rounded class of students who will thrive in, and contribute to, the Menlo community. We give careful consideration to candidates who are siblings of current Menlo students. When two applicants are equally qualified, priority will be given to the candidate who is a Menlo sibling.
Although Menlo School values keeping families together as much as possible, every year qualified, affiliated students are not offered admission due to the competitiveness of the applicant pool or space constraints in a particular class. Menlo siblings are a priority, but new families must also be given consideration, since all Menlo families, at one time or another, were themselves “new” families.
Who receives financial aid at Menlo?
Approximately 21% of the student body receives financial aid. Tuition grants, awarded for demonstrated need, average $33,000 this year and range from a few thousand dollars to 99% of tuition. Families from a wide range of income levels have qualified for assistance based on individual family circumstances, and Menlo School strives to meet 100% of demonstrated need for each student it enrolls.
How do I apply for financial aid?
The financial aid application process runs concurrently to the admission application process. Visit our How to Apply for Financial Aid page for more information.
When is the financial aid application due?
The financial aid application is due on January 7, 2021, the same date as the admission application. Financial aid award information is provided at the same time as the admission decision so that families have all the information they need to decide on enrollment.
What is the Menlo school code, to be used when filing the Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS)?
The Menlo School code is 5022.
Does applying for financial aid affect a student’s chance of admission?
Absolutely not! The Admissions Committee considers each applicant without knowing whether or not the applicant’s family is applying for financial aid. Once students are admitted, the Financial Aid Committee meets to review the financial aid applications of admitted students to determine the size of each student’s grant.
If parents are divorced or separated, who fills out the financial aid application?
Each parent, regardless of custodial arrangements, must complete a financial aid application and submit all pertinent tax documents (1040, W-2s, any relevant tax schedules).
How is financial aid determined?
Once the Student Service for Financial Aid (SSS) has received the Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS), they will use a standard calculation to make an assessment called the Report of Family Contribution (RFC). The RFC is the estimated dollar amount that a family is seen to have available to contribute toward the education of their children. This information will be forwarded to Menlo. The Financial Aid Committee uses the RFC as a starting point from which to analyze and recommend a financial aid award.
Are payment plans available?
Yes. We have three different payment options. All newly enrolling families pay a non-refundable enrollment deposit by noon on March 27 and choose one of the three payment plans:
1) One Payment – This plan is for families who would like to make one payment for the full tuition on June 1.
2) Two Payments – This plan requires families to pay 70% of tuition by June 1 and the remaining balance of tuition by September 1.
3) Monthly Payments (10 Payment Plan) – Menlo offers a ten-month payment plan administered by the Business Office. This is a budget plan that divides the total yearly tuition (less the 10% deposit) into ten equal monthly installments paid by direct debit beginning June 1 and ending March 1. There is a small interest charge for this plan of 4% of the remaining tuition balance calculated on a monthly basis.
Does Menlo offer merit or athletic scholarships?
We do not offer academic, athletic, or other merit scholarships. Financial aid at Menlo is completely need-based.
Do I need to reapply for aid each year?
Yes. We will ask you to file a new Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS) and submit your tax declarations and W-2 and/or 1099 forms each year. The school will continue to award a level of aid appropriate for your level of demonstrated need until your child graduates.
What if we have special circumstances that we feel the financial aid committee should take into consideration?
Any special family circumstances should be included in the notes section of the Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS).
When would I be notified of my award?
Admission and financial award decisions are sent out on March 20th. If accepted and awarded financial aid, the grant amount will be included in the contract.
Who should I call if I have questions about the School and Student Services (SSS) financial aid application?
If I have trouble logging into my account, where do I go for help?
If you have questions as you apply, feel free to contact the School and Student Services (SSS) Customer Service Center. Assistance is available in English as well as Spanish. You can reach SSS by phone at 800-344-8328 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
What if my 2020 tax return is not available by March 1, 2021?
You should plan to complete your taxes by this deadline but if that is not possible, you will need to provide an estimate of your 2020 income. Please contact Rose Garza in the Financial Aid Office if you can’t meet this deadline.
Will our family be able to get help with school expenses other than tuition?
Yes! Menlo wants all students to have full access to all of the available opportunities. Financial aid awards go beyond the discount on tuition and include the same percentage discount on all non-tuition school expenses. From books to laptops, athletic gear, school trips, AP exams, etc. Menlo will help families with all of these school expenses.