ISAAGNY's (Independent School Admission Association of Greater New York's) website clearly states:
First Choice Letters
ISAAGNY does not encourage formal expressions of first choice.
ISAAGNY may not now officially "encourage" first choice letters, but many individual Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Riverdale private schools still do. This year, as always, first choice letters or verbal commitments are often de rigueur. Private schools want to predict their yield--the number of accepted students who will actually enroll. First choice letters give them a key insight.
My clients often ask me to interpret their ERB score reports, both for the WPPSI (the ERB test given to kids applying to kindergarten and 1st grade) and the WISC (for kids applying to 2nd through 4th grades).
ERB score reports always contain a performance section comprised of performance subtests and a verbal section comprised of verbal subtests. For example, in the ERB WPPSI test the verbal section includes vocabulary, similarities, word reasoning, and comprehension subtests. The performance section includes picture concepts, coding, block design and matrix reasoning subtests.
When I read my clients' ERB score reports, I look for the following:
What are the overall percentile ranks for the performance, verbal and full scales?
How do the subtest scores compare? Is there scatter, or are the scores fairly uniform?
How do the testers' comments read? What did the tester say about the child's comfort level, familiarity with the test directions, language skills, visual motor skills, and work traits? Is there coded language that the child has prepped for the ERB or has a possible learning challenge?
Over twelve years in practice, I have read hundreds of ERB score reports and have the perspective of having shepherded hundreds of children and parents through the private school admissions process. I advise families on how their children's ERB scores compare to competition both this year and in previous years, what scores target private schools seek, and how children and parents can be the very best private school candidates possible. I help families present not only better ERB scores, but also give better private school interviews, write better essays, thank you notes, and I Love Yous, and communicate better with key contacts like preschool directors and references.
I work with only a limited number of families. My schedule for the 2011-2012 private school admissions process is booking quickly, with desirable dates going fast. If you would like my assistance, please call 212-712-2228 or emaileglickman(at)abacusguide.comASAP. I look forward to hearing from you.
People often ask me where you can find ERB / WPPSI III practice tests.
Two companies sell them, Aristotle Circle and Bright Kids. The next natural question: Which ERB workbook to get?
Aristotle Circle's costs $200 more, but is a little longer and more brightly colored. Families I have worked with have used both Bright Kids' and Aristotle Circle's ERB / WPPSI III prep workbooks successfully.
Aristotle Circle says they have sample ERB / WPPSI III practice tests in their workbook:
This year, everyone I spoke to prepped in one way or the other, and many sought a full-length ERB practice test. Since the ERB itself published prepping material, and many nursery schools have incorporated WPPSI prepping into the curriculum, there is widespread and understandable confusion about where the line is between legitimate prep and cheating. Despite all the talk that private schools would punish preppers, nothing actually changed this year except that many more kids obtained high scores.
We're almost at the end of the 2010-2011 NYC private school admissions process, with acceptances due in a few weeks. I'm working closely with our Private School Admissions Support clients as we approach the finish line. Good luck to everyone!
Mailed on Friday, Feb. 11*
3, 4 year olds only optional
Mailed on Wednesday, Feb. 16
2, 3, 4 year olds
Mailed on Tuesday, March 1
Mailed on Tuesday, Feb. 8
Not before Wednesday, Feb. 16
* Note this year ISAAGNY gives kindergarten families only one week to decide.
Many preschool directors are telling their NYC private school kindergarten applicant families that this is indeed the most competitive year yet. Truth, or an effort to cover themselves if their Manhattan or Brooklyn preschools' private school admissions placement is less than stellar?
We know that private school kindergarten interviews have not even wrapped up yet, proving that there are lots and lots of eager families on the schedule this year...