Admissions Criteria

First things first: Please make sure your child meets all eligibility requirements.

Families wishing to apply at Shanghai American School must meet the eligibility guidelines set out by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission (SHMEC) for schools for children of foreign nationals. This is dependent of the family’s passport, work and residence in Shanghai.

At SAS, admissions is competitive. Decisions are based on a review of each candidate's demonstrated academic achievement, developmental, social, and behavioral background as well as English language proficiency. Alignment in values and expectations between family and school is also considered.

Parents should note that amongst equally qualified candidates, priority consideration (not automatic placement) is given to returning students, U.S. passport holders, those with siblings currently attending SAS, and those with stronger academic English proficiency. Admissions decisions also take into account the balance of English language learners and other relevant demographic factors to help SAS realize its mission and support its core values.

Academics Criteria teacher with kids

Admissions Requirements

Please be aware that interviews are not requirements of the application process but may be requested to assist with an application review. Admissions decisions may be made without an interview if submitted application materials provide sufficient information. Note that an interview request is not a guarantee of admission.

Please see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for more information on the application and decision processes.

English Proficiency

Non-native English-speaking candidates may be given an English as an Additional Language (EAL) test to determine if EAL support is required. Limited spaces are available for such support.

The following guidelines will be used by the Admissions Committee to determine whether a student will be invited to take the EAL assessment:

  • The primary language spoken by the student
  • The language(s) spoken between parents and the student
  • The student’s educational background
  • The primary language of both parents



SAS believes that it is important for children to be placed in classes with their age peers, especially at Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) and lower elementary grade levels.

Students who apply from schools or educational systems with a different school calendar (like those commonly found in schools in Korea, Japan, Singapore or Australia) will be placed in the grade that they are currently attending if they are admitted at the start of the new school year. If they are accepted in January, they will be placed in the grade that they have just completed in their previous school.

All students must graduate from Grade 12 before their 20th birthday.

Apply to SAS Once you’ve ensured that your child is eligible to apply, you can begin your application any time.