Parents with children of all ages, including, sadly, infants, regularly ask me about Ivy League admission.
As an alumni interviewer for an Ivy League school as well as an educational consultant who regularly speaks to college admissions experts, I carefully track what schools desire from applicants.
Elite colleges seek students who take the hardest classes their schools offer, earn superb marks, get top scores on standardized tests, are well liked by teachers, interview well, and show demonstrated and remarkable achievement in their areas of passion.
Unfortunately, the bar for admissions to Ivy League schools gets higher every year. In 2015,Harvard's acceptance rate dips to record low: 5.3% of an exceptionally qualified pool.
Other Ivy League and equivalent schools posted similar numbers. Many very bright students were disappointed by a process that may seem arbitrary and unfair.
As a parent, you want to enjoy parenthood. Spending your child's early years worrying about Ivy League gatekeepers can be a real killjoy.
Fortunately, we live in a society where graduates of all kinds of colleges can be highly successful. In fact, research indicates that going to a less prestigious college may increase your chances of graduating with a highly sought-after and marketable science, technology, engineering, or math degree. This is because when you're not surrounded by the best of the best who seemingly ace every course, you have more patience with your own learning curve approaching a new and difficult subject.
Ultimately, our goal is for our children to be happy, academically successful, and prepared to have an impactful, rewarding, and meaningful career. Happily this can happen at many colleges, both in and out of the Ivy League.
Frank Bruni and Malcolm Gladwell explore these points in their insightful books:
New York City private schools are adding more and better facilities to stay competitive with demanding families, just like the colleges.
Dalton, Manhattan Country School, Trinity, Collegiate, Chapin, Dwight, Avenues, Speyer, Heschel, Riverdale and more NYC private schools are seeking to or have already put on additions, created new buildings, and partnered with other institutions as they add more of what today's parents want, such as STEM education and better sports.
Local residents aren't always appreciative of these improvements. In The Wall Street Journal's Private Schools Seeking to Expand Face Opposition, Laura Kusisto and Sophia Hollander note:
Expansion pushes by several of the city's top private schools are meeting opposition from wary residents on the Upper West Side and Upper East Side.
If you're looking for a NYC international school for your child, you have more and more choices. From Manhattan's Dwight and the United Nations School, to the French, Italian, and British schools, the last few years have spawned Avenues, Leman Meritas, World Class Learning Academy, International School of Brooklyn and now New York International School.
As Sophia Hollander reports in the Wall Street Journal, NYC international schools may be international in name or community, but not necessarily in their use of the well-known International Baccalaureate curriculum: NYC International Schools Set Own Course. Hollander writes:
The so-called IB program—which was created in the 1960s to educate the children of ex-pat families living in Switzerland—has become one of the fastest-growing educational movements in the U.S., lauded for boosting test scores and improving college-admission rates. In 2014, more than 1,800 IB programs were offered in public and private schools around the country, up from 500 in 2004.
But several newer international schools in New York City have opted not to embrace the program, which they say is expensive and unnecessary for younger grades.
The rise of these international schools is coupled with the rise of for-profit schools, as Leman, NYIS and WCLA are all part of global for-profit educational networks. Avenues, with its NYC international school flagship, plans to build other for-profit sites domestically and abroad. The International Baccalaureate is expensive to offer, which surely impacts these institutions' decision.
Many international relocating families come to me for help choosing between these schools and established, city schools. For admissions help for your child, contact NYC's best educational consultant.
More NYC and Westchester schools now offer better and early foreign language learning, Avenues and the International School of Brooklyn as well as some other schools offer bilingual programs, and afterschool NYC foreign language classes and tutoring grow...all evidence of amplified parent demand for early foreign language learning.
As you begin to plan your summer, you may be interested in Danielle Pergament's Times article Making Language Immersion Fun for the Kids. Pergament writes:
But I also want my children to be true citizens of the world in a way that I have never been, even as a travel writer - I'm not bilingual. I want their comfort zones to be measured in time zones.
Pergament offers early foreign language camp and travel ideas, as well as advice about middle school and high school language programs.
Many of my successful NYC private middle school and high school client applicants have international experience on their resumes.
Abacus Mom received this today from BASIS Brooklyn:
BASIS Independent Brooklyn Accepts Coveted 2014 Blackboard Award
Only three months after opening, BASIS Independent Brooklyn (serving grades K-12), was honored with the “New & Noteworthy” school award, at this year’s Blackboard Awards. Blackboard honorees are nominated by parents, educators and the board of advisors at Manhattan Media with the specific aims of celebrating our city’s outstanding educators, principals, and schools and helping parents make informed choices about their child’s education. This is a quite an honor for us to be recognized for this award so early on in our program!
It seems that the award is grounded on the parent’s satisfaction with the academic program, our teachers, and administration. We were recently covered in www.achildgrows.com, highlighting that our school’s STEM-focused Liberal Arts program is offering what parents are wanting. “I’m impressed!” said Troy House parent of a 2nd grader. “My son came home and explained what a prototype is and how he managed to build a prototype boat, test it, and improve it in just three weeks of 2nd grade Engineering.”
It’s also clear that the BASIS Independent Brooklyn Head of School, Rosalind Thompson, is passionate about our students and faculty, “We have a student body that truly loves school - and thanks to our teachers, that's been the case since the beginning of the school year, our first in Brooklyn”, she says. “Parents tell us that they no longer have trouble getting them out of bed to go to school, and we see that in our classrooms and hallways every day, every period.”
As you can see, there’s a lot more going on at BASIS Independent Brooklyn! If you haven’t already, you should check us out at one of our upcoming events and see for yourself what all the buzz is about.
AABL test scores, required for 2015 admission to NYC private school kindergarten at Horace Mann, Riverdale, Collegiate and Avenues, are coming in. NYC preschool directors and families are reporting AABL scores all over the map, with some surprised at children's doing poorly in specific AABL sections that they were thought to know well.
Children receive AABL percentile ranks and stanines in verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and achievement sections early literacy, and mathematics. Reading the AABL score report, I was struck by its similarity to the ISEEs, the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) test required for admission to private middle and high school.
On its website, the ERB dispenses a bit of fluff: (italics mine)
The AABL, administered on an iPad, is fun for early childhood applicants and informative for schools. If your school is interested in using the AABL in your admissions process or participation as a research partner...please contact your ERB representative.
Some of my clients are reporting high AABL scores. These children are early readers and mathematicians, with precocious capabilities. Unfortunately, later bloomers, who may in a few years turn into excellent test takers once they learn to read and develop more academic skills, are at a significant disadvantage with this new test. Attending an academic vs. play-based preschool, playing iPad learning games and completing test prep drills all help the AABL test taker but hurt the preschooler who wants to spend her early years playing and engaging in more age appropriate and rewarding activities.
It remains to be seen what will happen with the AABL, the ERB's new preschool testing experiment. This test-making company has a lot riding on the test's being adopted by many private schools, and the schools can make their teaching easier by taking in kids who already have proven achievement in math and reading. Knowing current trends, I expect more schools will use the AABL test next year which unfortunately will increase stress for families. Unlike what the ERB says, the test is not "fun for early childhood applicants". Fun is running in the playground, people.