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?
NYC private school kindergarten notification date is today Friday February 5th! And it was Tuesday February 2nd for NYC private school middle school! What an exciting week!
At Abacus Guide Educational Consulting, we love this time of year as our clients keep the celebratory emails flowing into our inboxes. Just now, in from a dad whose child will be going to one of Manhattan's most elite private single sex schools next year:
Definitely the place for <child's name>! No question.
We'll chat more later! Thanks for your help!!
And from another Dad:
Emily, just wanted to share the amazing news that <child's name> was accepted to <top Riverdale private school>.
She is very excited. Thank you very much for all of your assistance and support making this happen!
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.
NYC private schools, home of New York's wealthiest families, are racing to build new facilities and improve existing ones, using public money.
According to Martin Z Braun of Bloomberg Business, NYC private schools borrow through Build NYC Resource Corp., a city agency that facilitates nonprofits raising money through the municipal-bond market.
In his article NYC Prep Schools Binge on Debt to Lure Rich With New Pool, Labs, Braun explains that the schools later repay investors, who earn lower interest rates which they accept because the income is nontaxable. NYC private schools are eager to quickly improve their offerings, as today's parents are very demanding.
“It exactly parallels what is happening with colleges,” said Emily Glickman, a New York City-based private school admissions consultant. “If you have to pay a boatload of money, you want to get the most that you can. It’s hard to claim to be a really prestigious private school if your facility looks old.”
Avenues, a for-profit school that opened almost three years ago in a 10-story Chelsea warehouse, raised the standard for what a private Manhattan school should look like, said Glickman, the admissions consultant. With a bi-lingual curriculum of Spanish or Mandarin and English, it costs $45,350 a year to attend.
Braun details building projects going on at Riverdale, Fieldston, Saint Ann's, Packer, and La Scuola.
Municipal bonds are debt obligations issued by cities and other governmental entities to raise money to build schools and other projects for the public good. Is it a public good when only those lucky and wealthy enough to go to private school benefit? Mayor De Blasio's spokesperson says yes, because all this expansion means more jobs.
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.
With the debut of the AABL test and the KRT test in 2014, NYC families applying for kindergarten are naturally seeking AABL test prep and KRT test prep for their preschoolers. Despite the claims from the test makers that the AABL and KRT tests are not preppable, as always, children who have been pre-exposed to similar material do better on test day. As long as NYC private schools require tests for admission, parents will want their children to be successful.
So how can you help your child? Here's a round-up of AABL test prep and KRT test prep.
The first workbook specifically written for AABL test prep and KRT test prep is this one from Aristotle Circle, a well-known name in NYC private school kindergarten testing preparation. Check out this new workbook: AABL and KRT Test Workbook
Testing Mom, a test prep website, offers a subscription service.
The Educational Records Bureau, the company that developed and administers the AABL, offers a Quick Facts Guide on their website for AABL test prep.
ISAAGNY explains the KRT on their website.
In 2014-2015, the AABL was required by Horace Mann, Riverdale, Collegiate and Avenues. The KRT was required by Berkeley Carroll, Cathedral School, Chapin, Sacred Heart, Dalton, Mandell, Marymount, Poly Prep, Riverdale and Saint David's.
While the NYC private schools have not yet announced which tests schools will want from their kindergarten applicants in 2015-2016, my guess is that AABL use will spread. Unfortunately, the trend is toward NYC private schools desiring that children be more academically mature, whether that is developmentally appropriate or not.
I am now advising my clients on tutoring as well as private school kindergarten consulting options.