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Applying for Early Admission to First Grade

First grade early admission is based on rigorous academic standards

The State of Maryland has determined that six years of age is an appropriate age to begin first grade. In many cases, children admitted early to school will be working in a setting with older children. To develop a positive perspective about the school experience, children should feel comfortable, competent, and confident as they learn in the classroom setting. Therefore, only children who meet rigorous admission standards will be accepted early into first grade.


Age: sixth birthday falls between September 2 and October 13

Standard Requirements

  • Applicants must demonstrate mastery of HCPSS end-of-year kindergarten standards by completing assessments administered by designated school staff.
  • Applications require completion of developmental checklists.
  • Applicants must present evidence of having completed an MSDE approved kindergarten program.
Admission determined by: child’s prospective school Interested in early admission? Find out more about applying ↓

Testing Requirement

Early admission applicants will be assessed at their prospective school by designated staff in a one-on-one setting between May and July. Curriculum-based assessment tools will be used to measure their abilities in reading and mathematics in order to ensure their readiness for first grade. Children do not need any type of special preparation for the test. Children who already possess the needed skills will have an opportunity to show them during the assessment.

Early Admission Factors

As stated in the Howard County Public School System Policy 9000 (Student Residency, Eligibility, Enrollment and Assignment), children accepted for early admission must demonstrate a high level of academic, social, emotional, and physical development. An assessment of academic skills, as well as a developmental checklist of non-academic competencies, are primary factors for early admission.

Notification of Decision

Parents/guardians will be notified by letter from their prospective school regarding the decision of acceptance or denial for early admission. These letters will be mailed following the decision. Per Policy 9000 (Student Residency, Eligibility, Enrollment and Assignment), student admission under the early admission process is subject to a 30-calendar day trial period. Parents of students for whom continuation is not recommended will be notified in writing at the end of the trial period. Parents may appeal the decision of non-continuation to the appropriate Superintendent/Designee within ten (10) calendar days after receipt of the non-continuation notice.

Applying for Early Admission to First Grade

Early admission to first grade for the 2020-2021 school year is now CLOSED.

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