From a client today whose child will be starting a top Riverdale private school this fall:
Looking at the whole process in retrospect, I just wanted to thank you for giving scaffolding to the otherwise-chaotic-appearing admissions season. Your "bedside manner," your knowledge about the school and your faith in us as a family made us much less anxious about all the steps that we and (name) needed to take to get in. There are so many "perfect" candidates for each admissions spot, and I have no doubt that your coordination made the critical difference that made our family stand out and (name) achieve admission.
So *THANK YOU.*
NYC private school notification and reply dates are set by ISAAGNY, the Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York, a group of private school administrators. I have always been troubled by the kindergarten notification and reply date.
A multitude of NYC families apply to kindergarten, a process that begins as early as mid-August and stretches into early February. Families attend parent interviews, child interviews, open houses, and tours and often additional events such as diversity nights, chapel services, and theater performances. For six months, families must be on call and ready to show great enthusiasm for whatever event NYC private schools decide to organize. Often, parents' work and family schedules are severely compromised as moms and dads work hard to do their best by their children in hopes of succeeding in the admissions game.
And then, on the first Friday in February, notification arrives. Decisions. Acceptances, rejections and wait lists.
My concern? Families get ONLY ONE WEEK to decide.
And note, this is ONLY kindergarten families. Accepted high school applicants have a month to make a decision, and middle school applicants, three weeks. Why should kindergarten families, after this extensive and arduous admissions process, be pressured into making such a quick decision about where their children will likely spend the next thirteen years?
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Over the years, many of my educational consulting clients have asked me if it is harder for Asians to get into NYC private school.
Many have heard that it is harder for Asian-Americans to get into college. This week, one of my clients referred me to the LA Times story: For Asian-Americans, A Changing Landscape on College Admissions. Journalist Frank Shyong reports:
Complaints about bias in college admissions have persisted since at least the 1920s, when a Harvard University president tried to cap the number of Jewish students. In November, a group called Students for Fair Admissions filed a suit against Harvard University for admissions policies that allegedly discriminate against Asian Americans. The group cited the 2004 Princeton study and other sources that offer statistics about Asian Americans' test performance.
Is it harder for Asian-Americans to get into NYC private school?
In my sixteen years' experience helping families, I have found that unfortunately it is more competitive for Asians to get into NYC private schools, especially the core, elite group of well-known schools, because more Asian people are applying. New York City's Asian population is growing and more Asian-Americans are seeking NYC private school places.
Thankfully, however, I do not find that there is an "Asian penalty", as is described in Shyong's article about college admissions and SAT scores. I do see that the Asian applicant must work harder to distinguish himself or herself than was necessary when I first started my practice. On the plus side, while I do not have hard numbers, it seems self-evident that more Asian students attend NYC private schools today.
In the New York Times, Kyle Spencer reports in At NYC Private Schools, Challenging White Privilege from the Inside:
This year, according to the National Association of Independent Schools, minority students make up a third of the population of New York City private schools, and 18.5 percent of all students receive financial aid.
While almost all NYC private schools have embraced diversity, they seek a range of diversity. Peoples' opinions run a spectrum on how diversity should be defined in a cosmopolitan city like New York, or how diversity should enter into the allocation of scarce seats.
In my experience at present, if your child is from a well-represented group of applicants, it can be more competitive, especially if your child does not have a noteworthy record of achievement.
I work with my NYC educational consulting clients, from all backgrounds, from preschool to high school, to help them develop customized resumes to help them stand out from other applicants with similar and different family histories. For more information, NYC top private school consultant or 212-712-2228.
ISAAGNY, the Independent Schools Association of Greater New York, has published a chart for NYC private school kindergarten admissions, confusingly titled ISAAGNY ERB Chart.
What ERB test are they talking about? Is it the ECAA kindergarten test? It seems so, because the columns are titled "ECAA". ECAA stands for Early Childhood Admission Assessment (ECAA).
What is the ECAA? It is another name for a test that includes most subtests of the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence. Why does the ERB--that's the Educational Records Bureau--need to call the WPPSI the ECAA? How oblique does this need to be?
Meanwhile, to make the NYC private school kindergarten story even more intriguing, the ERB has recently introduced yet another test. This one is called the Admission Assessment for Beginning Learners, or AABL.
So does ISAAGNY's chart mean anything at all? Even the NYC private school admissions group doesn't seem sure. From their site:
Please find a chart identifying those schools who will still require the ECAA test for Kindergarten, and those schools who will not for the 2014-2015 admissions season. As always, please check individual school's websites for further details.
As if his life weren’t colorful enough already, the man charged with getting kids into college at the elite, high-pressure prep school Horace Mann has been accused of misbehaving like an evil teenager. Canh Oxelson, once a famous Tiger Woods impersonator, was charged with aggravated harassment, with a bonus restraining order, for allegedly threatening to send naked photos of his ex-girlfriend to her bosses...
A Tiger Woods impersonator. Sexual harrassment. And...a college counselor at an elite school. Such is the stuff of tabloid dreams.