Abacus Mom, a NYC top private school consultant, was thrilled to get these two emails from happy clients recently.
I just want to reach out and tell you that your advice from the past two years has been amazingly spot on. The classes and tutoring and clubs that you suggested after hearing about <child's> interests and the approach to the process and the rigor you advised with interviewing... It's been incredibly helpful. Obviously this is your business, so it's expected to an extent. But I think you have a very nice, authentic touch which makes all the difference. We feel very positive about how things are going, and I attribute it to your help to a big degree.
and from another parent:
honestly, i wouldn't make it through this process without your help. having kids, i know you know -- there is no greater gift to us than helping us with our children's education. we love your down to earth and upfront style -- it helps us to really know which direction to turn and where to steer clear. also, your positive energy is so appreciated and means a lot. you have made this process seem doable and less daunting and we cannot thank you enough.
How many times can you take the ISEE when you are applying to NYC private middle and high school?
The Educational Records Bureau, taking advantage of an easy source of additional revenue, has changed their testing rules so students applying to 5th - 12th grade can take the ISEE one to three times per admissions season. From their site:
Starting in August of 2016, students may register to take the ISEE up to three times in a 12-month admissions cycle, once in any or all of three testing seasons. The seasons are Fall (August-November), Winter (December-March), and Spring/Summer (April - July).
The ERB states that "ISEE does not encourage multiple testing, but we do offer students and families that option." By offering this option, and splitting the seasons so that students can easily take the test in both fall and winter (November and December), the ERB in fact does encourage multiple testing. In response to the testing rules change, many families have been anxiously contacting me, wondering if their children should sign up for multiple test dates.
The ISEE, an admissions test required for admission to most NYC private middle and high schools, competes with a rival admissions test, the SSAT, offered by another company. Students have always been able to take the SSAT multiple times, which contributed to the SSAT's popularity. By changing the number of times students are allowed to take the ISEE, the ERB should gain more test-takers as well as more students taking multiple tests.
In my experience, taking the ISEE or the SSAT once is usually enough. For more information or to sign up for my NYC private middle and high school educational consulting program, email New York's best private school consultant.
I am now giving NYC Private School Admissions Corporate Talks, speaking to professional parent groups about NYC Private School Admissions -- How to Get Into Lower, Middle and High School.
I have been in the admissions field now for over 20 years (!), so I am excited to share my expertise about NYC private schools with working parents in corporate settings. Working parents are often too busy to do educational research on their own. I love showing them efficient and effective ways to help their children succeed.
Most recently, I spoke about NYC Private School Admissions to law firm Davis Polk's Parents' Group. Organizers emailed me:
Thanks again for coming to speak to our parents group. The feedback from your presentation has been extremely positive.
The other organizer wrote:
It was a pleasure to meet you. Thank you so much for coming to speak to my colleagues and our firm's clients. One of the best presentations we have had all year. I do hope to keep in touch! It was a pleasure to introduce you.
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.