Getting into Private Schools in New York

Monday, November 19, 2018

The private and independent school application process in New York City is a journey that begins by asking questions that will determine if a school complements and supports your family’s educational objectives. There is no one-size-fits-all program so you need to pinpoint the right school for your family. To help prepare for the road ahead, we have compiled some common questions families ask when exploring their options:

What are the deadlines for private and independent school applications in New York City?

If you're applying to independent schools for your child this fall, you'll want to mark important dates listed in your application materials. These dates include open houses, application timelines, interview deadlines, notification dates and reply deadlines. A number of New York City schools follow the notification calendar published by the Independent School Admissions Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY), however, it’s important to keep in mind that not all schools follow this calendar. Therefore, double checking the dates stated in each application packet is strongly advised. Depending on your child’s age, it is common for families to be notified of the Admissions Committee’s decision in the winter and spring of an academic year.
ISAAGNY notification and reply dates

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What are Independent Schools?

An independent school is not a public school, a charter school or a parochial school. The term private school is often used interchangeably with independent school; however, there is a distinction between some private and independent schools. An independent school has its own independent board of trustees, while a private school can be a part of, or governed by another entity such as a faith-based organization. Independent schools are not dependent on government or church dollars and are funded mainly through tuition and fundraising campaigns. Every independent school has its own unique mission, and students are selected through the school's own self-defined admissions process.

To learn more about independent schools in New York City and beyond visit:

What happens in the kindergarten child interview? How can we prepare?

It is important to help your child get ready for the interview without creating a stressful situation for your child and your family. Watch this short video where Ellen Birnbaum, Director of Early Childhood Programs at the 92nd Street Y describes how you can prepare for your child’s visit.

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I’m applying to preschool and I don’t understand all of the terminologies. What is the difference between Montessori and Reggio Emilia?

It can be overwhelming when you are new to the process and the variety of educational programs and philosophies in New York City. This article will help clarify the different educational approaches: The Lexicon of New York City Preschools. Marjorie Goldsmith, former Director, All Souls School, lays out the different types of educational programs.

Do I qualify for financial aid?

Because each school makes its financial aid decisions independently, there is no specific income cutoff that determines financial aid eligibility at all independent schools. It’s worth looking into financial aid if you do not think you can afford the full tuition at an independent school. Read more here: Financial Aid: Making Independent School Affordable

Why do families choose boarding school?

“The most dramatic change that has occurred during my tenure in boarding school admissions is this: it is no longer about parents sending their kids to boarding school. Today, kids are choosing to go away to school.” writes Michael Gary, former Director of Admissions, Phillips Exeter Academy in this insightful article: The Boarding School Question

Still have questions?

Parents League of New York is here for you. In addition to the workshops, events, publications, and resources, a Parents League membership also includes one-on-one school advice provided by experienced and knowledgeable advisors. Join today and schedule your first appointment.