Frequently Asked Questions
What are the typical entry points in NYC-area private schools?
The main entry points are Kindergarten, 6th, and 9th grade. However, every school is different. Some schools start in Nursery (age 2-3) or Pre-Kindergarten (age 4), and some middle schools expand the grade in 5th. However, every year we also help many families with non-entry year placements. We speak with the schools about openings, facilitate the process, and support you and your child through all of the application steps no matter what grade you are seeking.
What is the application timeline?
Students apply to New York City private schools the fall before the year they intend to enroll at a school. Applications open in mid-August/early September. Then, throughout the fall, applicants and their families tour, interview, and submit essays, parent statements, school reports, recommendation letters, and supplemental materials. Schools send out acceptance letters in the late winter or early spring, typically in February or March. For those students on waitlists, the season can extend all the way through August.
How early should I start the admissions process?
It’s never too early to start! While applications open anywhere from mid-August to right after Labor Day, we encourage our families to be ready as soon as applications go live. Ideally, families get started with us in the spring so they can use those months (and the summer!) to research schools, develop a targeted list, and begin working on their parent statements. We have successfully helped families who start at all stages of the process, though, from two years in advance of their child starting school all the way through last minute applications in November (although we don't recommend you waiting this late!). Whatever your family timeline, we are here to support you with every step of the process.
Do students have to take standardized tests for admission?
Yes, depending on the school and how old your child is. Many private schools went test optional through the pandemic and will continue to do so. Other private schools have found that the Independent Schools Entrance Exam (ISEE) or the Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT) help them identify those students who will best succeed at their schools, so they continue to ask that students submit test scores. For a clear breakdown of the two tests, please see our blog post on the topic. There are also tests for some Catholic schools, specifically the High School Placement Test (HSPT) and the Test for Admissions into Catholic High School (TACHS) exam. However, some Catholic schools will accept the ISEE or SSAT instead. Finally, those students applying to both private and public high schools will also need to take the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). We are happy to help you navigate testing requirements, clarify differences, recommend tutors, and assess scores as we partner with you and your child through the admissions season.
Are kindergarten applicants required to take the T&E?
*Note that schools no longer use the T&E as of Summer 2022.
During the pandemic, private schools were unable to host in-person playdates, so approximately two dozen schools used the Thinking and Engagement (T&E)* Assessment to help them determine Kindergarten readiness. This online test paired each child one-on-one with a teacher and, through a series of child-friendly activities, captured each child’s ability to follow directions, respond to questions, problem solve, reason, and engage with others.
However, two NYC-area private schools require another test for Kindergarten applicants: the First Looks Insights (FLI) exam. It assesses similar strengths as the T&E did, and is also being given virtually.
Do you guarantee school placement?
Any educational consultant who tells you they can guarantee placement at a certain school is not being honest with you. What we can guarantee is that we are knowledgeable and professional, and that we will work tirelessly to ensure that you are fully supported throughout the admissions process. We value our relationships with our families and with the schools, and will continue to provide top-notch service while adhering to the Independent Education Consultant Association’s (IECA) Code of Ethics.
Do you work with international families?
Yes! We have helped families from Australia, Dubai, England, Italy, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, Spain, Ukraine, Russia, and Tokyo. Whether relocating for family, work, or simply a change, we are happy to help you and your family settle into our city and get accepted to your top choice New York City area private schools.
How can an admissions consultant support us through the process?
Applying to private schools is a time-consuming, stressful process. Consider it your new full-time job! Working with us means you have a partner who knows the schools, the system, and the methods of success. You can trust us to give you objective advice, to offer you current information, and to support you throughout the entire season.