Guest Post Written By: Admit NY
For many parents, applying to private school can be a daunting process. If your child is preschool-aged and older, admissions can seem even more taxing on top of an already busy school schedule. The most important step you can take to destress the admissions process is to plan ahead and stay organized.
Checking and rechecking deadlines, rushing to visit the last available open house, and chasing down necessary documents hours before the application is due - all of those harried and annoying steps can be avoided by familiarizing yourself with the process and making a plan long before deadlines approach. With that in mind, take the first step by reviewing this list of everything you need to know about private school admissions. Note that these tips apply to elementary, middle, and high school private school admissions processes.
Private School Applications
Every private school uses a different application format, which is hosted on either their own website or on the application hub Ravenna. Once applications launch in the late summer/early fall, take these first steps:
Step One: Research each of your schools of interest to find out which application system they use. This information can almost always be found by visiting the school’s website, clicking on “Admissions,” and clicking on “Apply” or “Apply Now.”
Step Two: You’ll be taken to the application portal and invited to create an account. Go ahead and create an account now to save time later - create a username and password and save that information somewhere safe so you can access it easily in the coming months.
If you’re sure that you want to apply to a school, you can get even farther ahead by submitting Part 1 of the application. Part 1 usually asks for simple background information, like educational history, family history, and contact information, which shouldn’t take much time to submit. Note, however, that some Part 1 applications request parent statements, which must be carefully prepared and should not be submitted right away. In any case, the sooner you submit Part 1, the sooner you can be invited to an interview, so it’s advantageous to submit as soon as possible. Not every school has a Part 1, but if your school of interest does and you're positive that you want to apply, start filling out that form (and drafting that statement, if need be).
Private School Admissions Events
Most schools begin releasing fall open house and tour dates in roughly August of each year. These events are typically available on school websites under “Admissions” or “Events.” Many require registration, so fill out the form linked on the school’s website. These events are not required, but we highly recommend that you attend an event if you haven’t visited a school before. They are important for developing your understanding of the school’s philosophy and fit with your family. If you can’t make it to any admissions events, don’t worry - you’ll have an opportunity to see the school during interviews, so you’ll still be able to assess fit then.
Private School Application Essays
Essays are a crucial component of the private school admissions process, and we’ve found that the best application essays and parent statements are the product of time. Therefore, we recommend that students and parents get started on essays far earlier than necessary to remove the pressure of drafting excellent responses within only a few days.
To get started, visit your schools’ applications, copy the parent statement and student essay prompts, and paste them into a blank document. These documents can be used to start brainstorming essay ideas, start writing anecdotes, and ultimately working toward a full draft. It’s best to draft your essays in a separate document - typing directly into the application risks losing your work or submitting an unfinished draft.
Private School Standardized Testing
Review the “Admissions” section of each school’s website to double-check which standardized tests they require for students of your child’s age, such as the AABL, ISEE or SSAT. Then, register your student for appropriate testing as soon as possible to get the test on the calendar. Don’t forget to check if your student is eligible for testing accommodations, and register for those if applicable.
Ivy Tutors Network offers indivudualzied ISEE and SSAT tutoring as well as semi-private group classes. The best place to start with test prep is to have your child take a diagnostic exam, which you can sign up for here.
Ways to Learn More
If you are looking to learn more about the New York City private school admissions process, the Admit NY blog is a rich source of information on the New York public and private school application processes, independent school placement, how to get accepted into competitive private schools, and much more.
If you’re seeking personalized support for your child’s admissions journey, reach out to Admit NY: we provide customized guidance for each and every one of our families, and expertly partner with you to achieve your admissions goals.