A new online test, the "Thinking and Engagement Assessment" (T&E), is now required for 2020-2021 kindergarten admission to almost 30 NYC private schools...with more schools possibly to come. While many of the city's most competitive schools are on the list, interestingly, the Riverdale schools are not. Also interestingly, unlike previous kindergarten admissions tests, the T&E is not administered by the ERB.
The high stakes, one-time T&E test, "taps expressive and receptive language, verbal and non-verbal reasoning skills, traceability, problem-solving skills, and developmental areas in which schools need information to determine fit between applicant and program." All very nice, but four year olds have just one shot to strut their stuff, and they have to do it over Zoom, not the most child-friendly format.
Schools suggest parents help preschoolers prep for the Thinking and Engagement Assessment by "having your child practice wearing headphones while talking to an adult via Facetime, Zoom, Google-meet, or any other virtual platform. A few days before the scheduled assessment, we recommend that parents/guardians explain to their children that they will meet with a teacher online who will invite them to do some fun and interesting activities."
Understandably, COVID has made admissions even more difficult than usual as parents and students won't be able to visit schools. I am afraid that having so much of kindergarten admissions dependent on one exam puts great stress on families and may not be a fair look at students' capabilities.
When the coronavirus crisis hit New York, many of the city’s wealthiest families went elsewhere.
Without knowing what the fall will look like, some are debating if they will return to New York at all, which could open up an unprecedented number of spots at even the most elite institutions, according to Emily Glickman, president of Abacus Guide Educational Consulting.
“In my 21 years of practice, I have never seen anything like this in terms of extreme levels of churn and uncertainty,” she said.
“The most competitive schools have a strong hand,” Glickman said. “It’s much harder for families to give up their spot at Dalton, Trinity or Horace Mann.”
Akin to what is happening at the college level, top-tier elementary and high schools may lose some students but gain replacements as new families step into those spots, she said.
It’s the less-competitive schools that are finding it harder to replace the students that are leaving, Glickman added.
My phone is recently ringing with families looking to "upgrade" their children's school and get advice as to how to help their child have the most productive summer and year possible.
How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting NYC and Westchester private school admission? While families are tied up now trying to stay healthy and provisioning, eventually this too shall pass. Whatever happens, the fall 2020 NYC and Westchester private school admissions cycle is not canceled.
NYC private schools are starting to plan what the 2020-2021 admissions picture will look like. The best scenario is it will look exactly the same as usual. The worst? It's good that you're getting familiar with Zoom.
If you're a student who is applying late for fall 2020 admission (which is typical of relocating families and sometimes public school students), you and your parents are interviewing remotely this spring. Definitely easier for middle school and high school applicants than for children applying to kindergarten, unfortunately online interviews are mandatory for everyone.
If God forbid the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and social distancing recommendations continue, online interviewing will be rolled out for fall 2021 admission. Get ready to look good on video!
Private schools need to look good to applicants as well. To show prospective families their stuff, NYC and Westchester private schools are developing and rolling out web tools such as online video conferencing for information sessions and Open Houses, as well as virtual campus tours.
Testing is also still on the table. Some schools and the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) are working on developing and administering online, probably proctored tests.
Thankfully, this is an evolving situation. Everyone--families and school administrators--want social relations and real, unlocked down life to resume, including a normal fall admissions season. As one private school administrator wrote us,
We have not as yet made any determinations about how the admissions process will work. We will wait to see how the situation with the coronavirus unfolds and make appropriate determinations and adjustments over the summer before the fall admissions season begins.
If you need help with the NYC and private school admissions process, contact us to get on our spring and summer schedule. Fortunately, we have been helping families remotely for 20 years, and have a streamlined, efficient and effective online process for school admissions success.
New York City private school kindergarten results are here! Abacus Guide parents are feeling joy. Three emails we received today:
Happy Kindergarten Notification Day! We are thrilled to tell you that we just received an acceptance letter from <elite girls school> (our top choice)!
Thank you for all of your help!
I’m thrilled to report <child> got into <elite boys school>!!!
Thank you so much for all of your advice over the last year. You were amazing. Please let me know if we can ever serve as a reference - we’d be happy to do it.
Here are the results! What a process.
I really want to thank you for everything you have done. Honestly, you’ve been the most helpful of anyone at any point in this entire endeavor. Including my family!
Every month, we send out our exclusiveNYC Private School Admissions Newsletter. A former client emailed us back:
Thought you might like to know that <son's name> finished his 9th grade in good standing, with a high GPA for the year, even with all the time management struggle with honors classes, after-school sports, and outdoor activities. His goal is to do even better next year, so we're keeping our fingers crossed!
Can't thank you enough for your help in getting him into a good school! I am starting to worry (of course, right?) about what to do with regards to college, but I guess we have time to prepare.
We enjoy your newsletters as always (thank goodness, we can just now read it with amusement as we reflect on our own experience)!
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NOW is the Time: NYC Private School Admissions Consulting... If your child will be going through the NYC private school application process for 2021 Manhattan, Brooklyn, Riverdale or Westchester private school admission, now is your time to get started getting help.
With some families thinking of relocating due to the COVID pandemic, we are also helping families brainstorm and get into private schools in Florida, the Hamptons, New York State, Seattle and elsewhere.
This is your family's chance to work with Emily Glickman, one of NYC's most experienced and respected private school consultants. Emily has been featured in every major New York publication as well as many from around the world. In her more than twenty years in practice, Emily has been trusted by thousands of educated, distinguished New Yorkers and countless relocating families from around the US and the globe to help ensure their children's success.
For 2019-2020 admission more parents than ever wanted to book with Abacus Guide; we had to turn many families away. For 2020-2021, help your child get into the country's best private schools by signing up early. Now is the Time.
Call today 212-712-2228 or email best NYC private school consultant.