ISD - The International School of Dakar

Admissions Procedures

Choosing the right school for your child is an important decision and we are very happy you are considering ISD. Our dynamic and friendly school combines academic rigor, diversity, and community spirit, inspiring students to become lifelong learners and responsible global citizens. We look forward to working with you throughout the admissions process and hope to meet you in Dakar soon.

Application Process

For the current school year, ISD has a rolling admissions policy – students are admitted throughout the year, provided there is space available. For the next school year, we begin accepting applications on 1 January. In order to be considered for admission to the International School of Dakar, the application process must be completed in its entirety. The admissions committee does not meet to review any applications until all documents and the application fee have been received. No applicant will be given final acceptance until successfully completing the academic screening and principal interview. We appreciate your cooperation.

Admissions Committee

An Admissions Committee composed of the Principal, Guidance Counselor, English Language Learner (ELL) Teacher, Learning Support Teacher, and a designated classroom teacher at the appropriate grade level (as needed) reviews applications for admittance.

Admission in all cases is contingent upon a determination by the Admissions Committee that:

  • The applicant will be able to meet the school’s academic standards;
  • The applicant has exhibited acceptable behavior in his/her previous school;
  • The school has the capacity to meet any special needs of the applicant.

Final authority for all decisions on admissions and grade placement rests with the Director. Please note that no applicants will be given final acceptance until successfully completing the academic screening and principal interview, outlined here.

Age Policy

An age policy is essential in order to ensure that students who enter each grade are physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally prepared. ISD follows the North American grade and/or age placement scale for admission. Applicants must be age-appropriate for their grade on or before 15 September of the school calendar year. Students coming from schools using different grade-level systems will be placed according to ISD’s grade system, which is based on age of the child as of 15 September of the school calendar year.

ISD recognizes that there may be differences in opinion of parents or students regarding grade placement as a result of a transfer from a different educational system, different program of studies, or a system based on a different calendar year. Students coming from schools with a different calendar (e.g. Australia, South Africa) will continue in the same grade when they enter ISD. If coming from a January/December calendar and applying to start at ISD in January, they will continue in the grade just completed. If entering at the beginning of the ISD school year in August and already mid-year in a different system, they will also continue in the grade they were in at their previous school.

Priority for Admission

Provided the students have the academic ability to succeed in the ISD academic program and have demonstrated previous academic success in a similar American or international school, priority for admission will be given to applicants in the categories below in the following order:

  1.  Children of faculty and staff of ISD
  2.  Children of US citizens employed by the US Government in Senegal
  3.  Siblings of currently enrolled students
  4.  Children of diplomatic and international organizations and businesses
  5.  Applicants transferring from other English-speaking international schools
  6. Students currently enrolled in a local school
Wait List 

When a grade level is filled, a wait list is established. As vacancies occur, students are placed in classes according to the priority considerations listed above. When space limitations indicate that there are more candidates in any one category mentioned above than spaces, admissions will be based on a first come, first served basis. The date of receipt of the completed application to the admissions coordinator will be used. This includes the payment of the application fee. Please note that being on a wait list is not a guarantee of space.

Academic Screening

All applicants are required to take academic placement tests. These tests assess abilities in math, reading, and written expression. In some cases, a reading comprehension achievement battery may be required. Applicants are expected to score at or above grade level in all of the above areas in order to be granted regular admission. An applicant will be denied admission if he or she has specific learning or behavioral needs that cannot be adequately addressed by the school.

IB Diploma Programme

ISD is an IB World School, offering the Diploma Programme. IB World Schools share a common philosophy – a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education that ISD believes is important for our students. More information on admissions policies related to the IB Diploma Programme will be posted soon. 

English Language Learners (ELL)

All prospective students with non-English language background are screened by our ELL specialist. This screen is conducted to determine the student's strengths and to detect any previous learning problems. As with all applicants, records from previous school(s) will be reviewed to ascertain patterns in academic development.

  • Students applying to PK3 through Grade 1 may be admitted with no prior knowledge of English, as long as there are no significant learning or behavioral difficulties.
  • Students applying to Grades 2 through 8 may be admitted with limited English language proficiency, as long as there are no significant learning or behavioral difficulties. Language proficiency testing in reading, writing, and oral language will be required of these applicants.
  • Students applying to Grades 9 through 12 must have near-native fluency in English. ISD is an IB World School, offering the Diploma Programme. As such, the primary criteria for admission of ELL students into ISD’s High School will be the student’s anticipated ability to succeed in 11th grade IB courses. 

ISD reserves the right to deny admission to an English Language Learner whose parents refuse to have him or her served after being recommended for placement in the ELL program.

Learning Support

ISD admission is open to those students who are able to participate successfully in a mainstream class with limited specialist support.  Speech, language, and occupational therapy are not available at ISD, and any additional professional services required must be provided after school hours. Local resources for additional support (psychiatry, psychological therapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, adaptive physical therapy, etc.) are quite limited in Dakar. Local resources such as these in English are even harder to find. Because of the limitations of the local support network in Dakar, ISD does not have a program for students who require support for moderate to severe mental, physical, emotional or learning disabilities.

U.S. Government employees are required to receive clearance from MED/STATE to attend ISD if their children have special needs, have received special education services in the past, or have academic delays. ISD does not offer the full continuum of special education programs mandated by law for public schools in the US. Admission to ISD is contingent upon a match between the applicant’s needs and the level of services available at ISD and in Dakar.

Applicants with special needs/academic delays are required to have a recent psycho-educational assessment on file, conducted by a licensed school psychologist within the last two years. Please send any assessment you have with your application. These assessment results are critical in helping us determine the level of support needed and whether or not ISD can meet the needs of the applicant.  

Due to the limited resources in Dakar, ISD reserves the right to deny admission to applicants who have demonstrable learning, behavioral and/or emotional needs that the school cannot meet. ISD also reserves the right to deny admission to any student whom the school recommends for Learning Support whose parents refuse to have him or her served by the school's pullout program.

Admission Decisions

Regular Admission
Applicants who are granted regular admission will be notified of this decision on the day that they take the placement tests at ISD. A formal acceptance letter will be emailed to parents along with a link to ISD's Enrollment Contract. This contract must be signed and returned to our finance office in order to receive an invoice for payment of school fees. Students who do not begin on the first day of classes generally start school the day after completing required placement tests.

Provisional Admission
When it is unclear as to whether or not we can serve an applicant’s needs, ISD has the discretion to grant provisional admission. The provisional admission will be for a specific period of time, no longer than a year, which will allow for a full assessment of a student’s learning background. Continuation at ISD is contingent upon the child achieving success in mainstream classes.

Denial of Admission
ISD may deny admission for any of the following reasons:

  • Class size has reached capacity;
  • Applicant’s academic screening indicates that he or she will be unable to fulfill the requirements of the program;
  • Applicant has moderate to severe learning needs which cannot be adequately addressed by ISD;
  • Applicant has a history of behavioral or discipline problems;
  • Other reasons which may be in the best interest of the school and the applicant, as determined by the Director.

Reversal of Admission Decision
It may become apparent that the school does not have an appropriate educational program for an enrolled student. This may be due to academic ability, learning disabilities, behavioral concerns, and/or disciplinary history of the student, the seriousness of which may not have been fully apparent to the school at the time of admission. If the professional staff determines that ISD’s resources are insufficient to meet an individual student’s needs, the Administration of ISD reserves the right to reverse an admission decision. That student may be denied continued enrollment. 


Susan Kusiima
Admissions Coordinator

T: +221 - 33 825 0871 / 860 2332
F: +221 - 33 860 8523