Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Q: What is the overall size of the school and each of the divisions?

A: For 2018–2019, 1,228 students enrolled in Pre-K through grade 12.

Pre-K and Kindergarten: 107
Lower School: 295
Middle School: 373
Upper School: 453

Q: What time does the school day start and end?

A: Beginning in Fall 2019, our school day will be:
     Pre-K: 8 a.m.–1 p.m.
     Kindergarten: 8: a.m.–2:30 p.m.
     Lower School: 8 a.m.–2:45 p.m.
     Middle School: 8 a.m.–3:02 p.m.
     Upper School: 8:15 a.m.–3:15 p.m.

Before-school care (grades Pre-K through 4) begins at 7:30 a.m. for no additional fee.
Aftercare (Pre-K) is available through 2:30 p.m. 
Extended Day (Pre-K and Kindergarten) is available through 5 p.m.
Extended Day (Grades 1–8) is available through 6 p.m. 
Upper School students can stay on campus until 5 p.m. or longer via after-school activities. 

Q: What are your average class sizes?

A: Preschool & Lower School, 18 students with a teacher and 1 to 2 teaching assistants
     Middle School, 17 students
     Upper School, 16 students

Q: What are the cut-off dates for Preschool?

A: Children who are entering Pre-K should be 4 years old by Sept. 1, and children entering Kindergarten should be 5 by Sept. 1.

Applying to Durham Academy

What are the opportunities for visiting the school?

Durham Academy strongly encourages parents to visit our campus, as well as the campus of any school in which you may be interested. Visiting is truly the best way to see a school in action and to assess whether or not it seems like a good match for your family.

In that spirit, DA offers a number of ways that parents and students can see the school. Possibly the best way for parents to see the school is by coming to a fall Tour and Information Session. Prospective students interested in grades 5 through 12 are invited to come to a Student Visit Day. If you are visiting from out of town, or if none of the Tour and Information Session dates work for you, we are happy to schedule an appointment for another time. If you would like to set up a visit to our campus, please contact the Office of Enrollment Management at or 919-493-5787.

How do you make your admissions decisions?

Each applicant's folder will be reviewed by a committee of teachers and administrators who work with children at the applicant's particular grade level. First and foremost, each applicant must show promise of success in our academic program. To assess this, we look closely at teacher recommendations, school transcripts and testing results. Of these academically qualified applicants, we seek to admit those who represent a diverse array of talents, interests and backgrounds. We also give consideration to applicants in the following groups: siblings of current Durham Academy students; children of alumni, faculty and staff; and students who expand underrepresented populations in our school.

Once your child is in the school, do you have to re-apply?

No. Once a child is enrolled at Durham Academy, there is no need to re-apply. It’s one of the benefits of attending a pre-k through 12 school!

In what grades do students have the best chances of admission?

Durham Academy's "entry points," which offer students the best chance for admission, are planned openings for new students in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and grades 1, 5, 6 and 9. However, due to families moving, Durham Academy will likely have openings at every grade level for the 2019–2020 school year.

What is required to apply for admission?

  • Application fee (reductions are available if this fee presents a financial hardship)
  • Online application
  • Two teacher recommendations (one for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten)
  • School records
  • Admissions testing
  • Parent questionnaire
  • Student questionnaire (grades 5 to 12)
  • Interview (grades 9 to 12)

What admissions tests do you give?

When children are applying to Preschool (pre-k or kindergarten), they come to DA for two different assessments. One is the individual evaluation, where a child works one on one with a teacher who assesses their readiness with early academic and language skills. Children interact with the teacher based on pictures, numbers and letters, and the test is scored based on a child’s chronological age. Then, children come back for a group evaluation, where they go into a playgroup with two DA teachers and a small group of children who are also applying for Preschool. This 40-minute session is part free play, part structured story and circle time, and part arts-and-crafts time. The group evaluation is designed to give our teachers a chance to interact with your child in a play-based setting and watch as children interact with one another.

Children applying to the Lower School (grades 1 through 4) take an achievement test. DA will administer the test on Jan. 12 and 26, 2019, and you can register by indicating your preferred date on the online Application for Admission.

Students applying to the Middle School or Upper School (grades 5 through 12) take the Independent School Entrance Exam (also called the ISEE). A wealth of information about the test, as well as online registration, is available at DA administers this test on Jan. 12 and 26, 2019, for our first-round applicants. Please register directly via the ISEE website.

Should my child do anything special to prepare for the test?

For pre-kindergarten through grade 4, the most important thing is to ensure that your child comes for the testing when he or she is healthy, well-rested and has had a good breakfast. If applying for grades 5 through 12, students can do some test preparation for the ISEE with a book called “What to Expect on the ISEE.” This guide explains the format of the test, provides tips and some sample questions. The free guide can be downloaded at

Does Durham Academy accept applications from foreign students?

Durham Academy is able to accept applications from international students when the following conditions are met:

  1. The student must live with an immediate family member (mother or father) in the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill, North Carolina). We do not set up or provide housing for international students since we are not a boarding school.

  2. Because we do not offer ESL (English as a Second Language) courses at our school, students must have fluent English skills, both written and spoken. We ask that international students take either the ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) or the SSAT (Secondary Schools Admissions Test), as well as the TOEFL

  3. We require a Skype interview, at a minimum, and strongly prefer that a student visit campus with his or her family so we can meet both the student and family members.

If these conditions are met and a student is admitted to Durham Academy, we will provide an I-20 and other necessary documentation.

Affording Durham Academy

What if the tuition is cost-prohibitive for our family?

Many Durham Academy families cannot afford the full tuition costs. In fact, during the 2018–2019 school year, about 11 percent of our students will receive some form of financial aid. For families receiving assistance during the 2018–2019 school year, the average grant was $15,384. Durham Academy awards financial aid based on a family's demonstrated financial need in accordance with national guidelines established by Tuition Aid Data Services. If you have any questions about financial aid, please call the Office of Enrollment Management for more details. Most importantly, do not allow your financial situation to deter you from applying to Durham Academy. Learn more about tuition and fees, and how to apply for financial aid.

If we apply for financial aid, will it hurt our chances for admission?

No. We make our admission decisions prior to evaluating families' financial need. Durham Academy is committed to enrolling the most dynamic student body possible, regardless of families' ability to pay the full tuition. The 2018–2019 school year's financial aid budget exceeds $2 million.

If we receive a financial aid award, will we have to pay it back?

No. All tuition assistance at DA is in the form of grants that do not have to be repaid.

Whom should I contact regarding questions about the financial aid forms?

If you have questions about the financial aid process or policies at Durham Academy, please call the Office of Enrollment Management at 919-493-5787. If you have specific questions about filling out the application for financial aid, please call the Tuition Aid Data Services (TADS) directly at 800-884-8237 or visit the TADS website.
Admissions Staff

Victoria Muradi
Director of Enrollment Management
919-489-3400 (x2111)


Lori Reade
Associate Director of Enrollment Management
919-489-9118 (x4103)


Kemi Nonez
Associate Director of Enrollment Management
919-489-6569 (x6111)


Lali Pshyk
Assistant Director of Enrollment Management 
919-489-3400 (x2110)  

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An independent, coeducational day school, pre-kindergarten through grade 12.
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