“School Choice International helps families select the best schools for their children wherever they are in the world.”
Private school admissions
Although students may be guaranteed a seat at a public school, private institutions are selective. As a result, the private school admissions process can be highly competitive, depending on the school to which an individual is applying.
Parents should identify their child’s unique educational needs and then conduct research to find a selection of schools appropriate for their child. Once parents identify the best schools for their child, they will want to make sure they are taking steps to increase their kids’ chances of gaining entry into a preferred institutions. Making contact with admissions officers, going on tours of schools and attending private school open houses are all essential to give families information about the school’s academic and extracurricular programs, as well as the process of getting admitted for a prospective student.
This process is becoming similar to the college admissions process; requirements for private school entrance typically include essays, tests, parent and child interviews as well as prior transcripts and teacher recommendations. Candidates must meet rigid deadlines. Schools may have admissions requirements that differ on some dimensions, but those NYC independent schools that are members of ISAAGNY (the Independent Schools Admissions Association of New York) will have a fairly uniform process. Because the process can become very complex, it is important for adults to keep a checklist of tasks to be completed, along with crucial dates.
In addition to providing answers to basic questions, an application may ask individuals to answer essay questions. Parents will want to start working on this important step once they have determined a suitable list of schools. Although individuals must stick to the essay guidelines, applicants should use this opportunity to highlight special traits of their child and distinguish him or her from other candidates.
Depending on the grade an individual hopes to enter, they may have to submit results from a particular standardized test. In NYC, younger students will typically be required to take an individual admissions test administered by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB), while middle and high school students will have to complete age appropriate assessments in a group setting. Young children are not expected to prepare for the ERB, as it tests basic skills that a child learns through daily life. However, it is common for middle and high school applicants to prepare for either the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) or the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT).
Schools will often request two or three letters of recommendation to get a better sense of the candidate. Parents should ideally turn to teachers who know their child well and can speak honestly and positively about him or her. For schools, an interview provides a chance to put a face to everything that admissions officers have read about an applicant. For parents and prospective students, this is an opportunity to ask important questions and get a better sense of the community that they may enter if they are accepted. Parents should realize that they are interviewing the school as much as the admissions office is interviewing them, because only by asking thoughtful questions will they know whether the school will be a good match for their child.