Principles of Good Practice, NAIS

NAIS: National Association of Independent Schools


Revised and approved by the NAIS board in 2007.

The following principles of good practice provide common ground for interaction between independent school admission professionals, and their many constituents (parents, students, colleagues at other schools, and the public).

Through the recruitment and selection of students, admission professionals play a critical role in their schools’ vitality and educational culture. All admission professionals, as well as the head of school, bear the ultimate responsibility for communicating and upholding these principles of good practice to all professional staff and volunteers (including parents, alumni/ae, tour guides, coaches, faculty, and board members) who represent the institution in promotion, recruitment, admission, and retention activities.

  1. The school seeks to ensure an appropriate match between a prospective student and family and the mission and philosophy of the school.
  2. The school respects and affirms the dignity and worth of each individual in the admission process.
  3. In establishing policies and procedures for student recruitment and enrollment, particularly in the area of nondiscrimination, the school adheres to local, state, and federal laws and regulations.
  4. The school has available in writing those policies and procedures of the school, member associations, and/or athletic leagues that may affect a family’s decision to enroll.
  5. The school operates under a clear set of practices for gathering, disseminating, and maintaining prospective student information, and respects the confidentiality of students, families, and documents in the admission process. Schools will ensure that the admission process and/or transcript have provided sufficient documentation of an appropriate match before offering admission to a student.
  6. The school maintains an admission process that respects the needs of students and families to learn about school programs and activities, that communicates in user-friendly formats, and that provides clear information, dates, and timeframes for all aspects of the admission process, including expectations around financial aid applications and acceptance of an enrollment offer.
  7. The school recognizes that general advertising, direct mail campaigns, and communications between other schools and current independent school families guarantee the free market rights of the families and the general public to consider all options and that such practices from competitor schools should not be seen as a violation of the spirit of collaboration, collegiality, and professionalism reflected in these principles.
  8. The school recognizes the right of currently enrolled students and families to consider other educational options, and if a transfer is initiated by the family, the school provides appropriate support and documentation in a timely manner, including reminding the family of any policies related to contractual obligations to the current school.
  9. The school shares complete information about the total costs of attending the school and other financial expectations with families before an enrollment commitment is required.
  10. The schoolestablishes and furthers collegial relations with neighboring independent schools by undertaking collaborative marketing arrangements to tell the independent school story and to encourage more families to consider independent education.
  11. School representatives apply the same high standards of integrity whether talking about their own school or other institutions.
  12. The school ensures that all recruitment arrangements support the best interests of the student and do not result in a conflict of interest on the part of the school, individual, or firms representing the school.
    1. The NAIS Principles of Good Practice for member schools define high standards and ethical behavior in key areas of school operations to guide schools in becoming the best education communities they can be. Accordingly, membership in NAIS is contingent upon agreement to abide by "the spirit" of the PGPs. Principles are precepts grounded in an ethic and ethos of “doing the right thing.” Practices are common activities.
    2. NAIS member schools can download individual Principles of Good Practice from this section of the NAIS website for distribution within the school community. Printed booklets (printed once each year) are also available for sale through the bookstore -- but the website is always the most up-to-date collection of the PGPs. It is our hope that the increased visibility of and easy access to the principles will go a long way in helping schools fulfill their missions