New York City is known as the “city that never sleeps.” New Yorkers know that despite the delayed prone subways, narrow streets, and crazy cab drivers, New York City offers convenience at the tip of your fingers unlike any other city. It is also known for its fierce competition among top tier schools. Locals and parents traveling from afar know that to secure their little ones in a top prek or kindergarten school sets up their children for a higher chance of acceptance into elite New York high schools, and consequently, top tier colleges.
Anna Bahr for The New York Times says, “there’s the implicit belief that a premier prekindergarten program guarantees an early leg up in a nearly 14 year battle to gain admission to the country’s most competitive colleges.”
New York City specialized high schools usually have a test-only admissions, while kindergartens usually have sibling priority. At Trinity, one of the top
Kindergartens in New York City, only 17 spaces are available to families with no affiliation to the school: a 2.4 percent chance lower than the 6.2 percent chance of being accepted into Harvard University.
Despite the overcompetitiveness, parents still flock to the city in hopes of acquiring a coveted seat in one of New York City’s selective schools. Deciding on which school is right for your family can be a headacheinvoking and tedious process.
Below are some tips to help you in selecting the best school for your child and your family:
1) Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from neighbors and/or local parent groups. Sometimes the best information about a school comes from those who have had children in the school or gone through the process of selecting a school before. They can provide useful information that is neighborhood specific.
2) Try out the commute. To ensure that a commute works for your child and your family during the school year, test it out so that you can work out any potential kinks. Many top tier schools do not provide bussing services outside their select zones.
3) Visit the school. Though the internet can provide a wealth of information, the best way to decide if a school is right for your child and your family is to get out there and visit it! Plan to take some time off from work and schedule tours at some of your top choices. The atmosphere in which your child will learn is one of the most important factors when deciding on a school, and you shouldn’t cheat by only browsing at online photos and reviews.
4) Research the curriculum. Each school comes with their own specific curriculum and teaching philosophies. You know your child best, so be sure to gather as much information as you can about how the school teaches and what they focus on so that you can make an educated assessment of how that school would work for your child. Some schools focus more on the maths and sciences, and some offer dual language learning, and others are more varied in their styles of teaching. If you know that your child is more apt to take to one style of teaching versus another or is more interested in one area, choose the school that will be the best fit.
5) Prepare your child for the school admissions exams by finding a great tutoring and test preparation program. Now you have chosen the schools you want your child to get into. Perhaps you have decided on the perfect school. The problem is, in NYC, many schools require entrance exams or exams to get into their programs. This isn't the city of dreams for nothing! Children as young as 4 years old must compete and test into coveted seats. Even the brightest students could use help for these, some merely in terms of preparation because they haven’t been exposed to the material or test format before, and some to practice their skills so that they can perform their best on test day.