Parents start hearing chatter about the brutal process of getting children into the best private schools before the students-to-be are even born. Often, it’s not until our children reach the age where you need to start applying that you realize just how mind-blowingly complex the whole process is.
Here are some things to consider as you go through the school selections and admissions process for the “Baby Ivy” school you have your heart set on for your little one. And remember, deep breaths always help, too.
1. The admissions process for top-tier schools is highly competitive. Many schools receive far more applications than they can accept. Siblings and legacies are often given priority. Apply to between four to six schools and have a back up plan to maximize your chances of your child getting in.
2. Tuition isn’t the only cost. Factor in additional expenses such as annual giving, uniforms, hot lunch, field trips, book fairs, new building campaigns, gala events, bake sales, fashion shows and more. You don’t have to contribute to all of the school’s events, so make sure to find out which ones are the most important. Typically, schools expect all families to contribute to the annual giving campaign, but the amount is up to you.
3. Your child CAN get a spot off a wait-list at many schools. But it takes time, patience and effort. If your child is wait-listed, stay in contact with the admissions director and let the school know you’ll enroll your child if a space is offered. Meanwhile, secure your other options by putting a non-refundable deposit on a school where your child has been accepted. Remember, confidentiality is important! Don’t share your plans with anyone except trusted friends and family.
4. For kindergarten applicants, the school is evaluating your family and your child. Both parents (if there are two) need to attend all school events, from tours to interviews, prospective parent nights and other events during the admissions process. First impressions matter and schools like to see families who will be involved in their child’s education.
5. Consider hiring an educational consultant. If you feel you need help selecting schools that are right for your child, and you need expert guidance through each phase of the admissions process, these professionals can help you navigate the system.