Thu, May 2, 2024

10 Tips for Applying to Middle or High School in NYC

Evie Gurney, Parents League School Advisor

Applying for middle or high school at NYC independent and private schools seems complicated, especially if you didn’t grow up here. Or even if you did! This journey requires planning, patience, and persistence. Here are our top tips for navigating the process with more ease and organization.

1. Do an “education inventory.”

What is your student interested in, academically or otherwise? What educational style best suits your student and family: traditional, progressive, bi-lingual, or arts-focused? Are you looking for single-sex or coed? Do you want a school affiliated with a synagogue or a church? The more knowledge you have about the different types of programs, the easier it will be to narrow your list of schools to consider.

2. Look at independent school websites.

Look at schools’ websites. Start with the Parents League Directory of Member of Schools, which provides links to over 150 NYC independent school websites.

3. Register for school open houses and info sessions.

While open houses and other preliminary admissions events are optional, they can be an excellent way to pre-screen a school before deciding to apply. Check school websites for updates. Parents League collects dates for open houses, info sessions, and tours on our frequently updated calendar of school open houses and info sessions.

4. Create a list of eight to ten independent schools to consider.

Speak with someone who knows the environment and culture of the school. Parents League advisors visit NYC independent schools and meet with heads and admissions directors. They can provide insights to help better match your family with the right school.

5. Attend a school fair.

Each fall the Parents League offers an NYC middle & high school fair, a boarding school fair, and an international boarding school fair. Take the opportunity to preview the many school options available! Check the PLNY events page for updated information.

6. Register for testing.

Depending on the school, you may need to submit a standardized test score. Test registration usually opens the first week of August prior to the fall when you’ll apply. Many schools require the ISEE or SSAT, and most students will do some form of preparation.

7. Activate your application through an online platform.

Many schools will only schedule tours and interviews after you have completed an application , so get them in early in order to schedule those dates! Use our chart to keep track of applications and deadlines.

8. Don’t wait on financial aid.

If you are applying for financial aid, do so when you apply. Schools need to know how much financial aid funding to allocate to families. Not sure if you qualify? Speak to a Parents League advisor about the process. Look to websites for helpful guides and tips.

9. Ask about sibling or legacy policies. Consider early notification if you have siblings or legacies.

If your child is a sibling or legacy at a school, let the school know. Depending on the school, you may be notified early.

10. Mark your calendar for notification and reply dates.

Find out when schools will notify you about acceptances and when you’ll need to reply to them. Here are ISAAGNY notification dates for 2023-24.

Getting your child into the right school is a big deal. By planning ahead and not waiting until the last minute you will certainly feel more confident and in control of this process. If you could use guidance during this process, contact us to set up your appointment with an experienced Parents League school advisor so we can support you with this important step in your child’s educational journey.

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