It’s finally time – the kids are old enough to go to school! But which one? The first thing a parent should do when choosing a school is to consider what your child needs. Sometimes location is key, sometimes a child has a special need, or interest. Whatever the case, Queens has a school that will be the perfect fit.
The application deadlines vary a bit from school to school, but most preschools and elementary schools go through the process sometime in the fall. Before applying, make sure the school is equipped to meet your child’s needs, is a reasonable distance for a child to commute to, and embodies the values you want your child to learn to emulate.
Some private schools offer rolling admissions. These schools do generally still have fixed application deadlines, though, rolling admissions just means the school will accept applications at any time. Usually, these schools will continue to accept applications right up until all available spots are filled. Schools that accept rolling admissions can be a good option for transfer students, especially those who transfer mid-semester.
Most private schools have a test of some sort involved in their admissions process. If your school of choice does, make sure your child is prepared – physically and emotionally. Tired people never perform well, and a tired four-year-old is not going to be the first. Don’t forget that testing can be scary, especially for small children, so be sure to talk them through what to expect first.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options to that school or those few schools you intend to apply to you can get the application materials directly from the schools. Since we’re talking about private schools, the materials may vary slightly, so make sure you doublecheck your paperwork. Generally, you can get the paperwork through a simple call to the school’s admissions office. Keep copies of absolutely everything, and keep track of what you send out, and when. Make sure you provide contact information when dealing with schools – it’s the little things that trip us up.
Then you file your application, and the waiting game begins.
By mid-winter you’ll likely be getting responses from those schools you applied to. If your child got in, great! All you have to do now is work out how you’ll pay for the education of choice.
Many private schools offer financial aid, which can be a big help. Even if what they offer is not enough, many schools are willing to work with parents. Both parties are focused on finding a way to get each child into the school that fits best.
If your child is wait listed, they were not accepted – but they weren’t rejected yet either. Generally, schools accept some students who choose not to attend, so when they pull out, their spots are given to children on the waiting list. This is a tricky position to be in, as you must weigh the odds of making it into the school or being left out in the cold. Watch out though – if you accept a position at another school and are then offered a spot from a waiting list, you will not be able to get the deposit back from your second choice school.
If your child was rejected, that’s the end of the line. There’s no appeals process, no one you can call, no way to get into that school. At this point, you need to make sure your back-up options are in order, so your child still starts school on time in the fall.