Wed, May 3, 2023

Guide to NYC Preschool Applications

Parents are often surprised to learn that the preschool admissions process begins when children are only young toddlers. With this simple timeline, you can take the preschool admissions process step-by-step while enjoying this special time with your young child.

Winter – Spring (of the year before enrollment)

Join the Parents League

Become a member here or call 212-737-7385.

Attend a Parents League Preschool Workshop (included with membership)

This interactive virtual workshop, led by Parents League School Advisor Ann Levine, guides families through the preschool admissions process: when to start, how to develop a list of preschools to consider, the application process, what to look for, and what to expect. See preschool workshop dates on our events calendar.

Develop your list of schools

Once you have a preliminary list, call to speak to one of our School Advisors to review your list. (advisory calls are also included with membership)
Parents League Online School Directory (included with Parents League Membership)
Guide to New York City Preschools (included with Parents League Membership)
ISAAGNY Online School Directory

Contact the Schools

Use our school list to visit each school website or call the schools that interest you to determine if they offer open houses or group tours, typically given in the spring. Find out how and when to request an application.

Attend the Parents League Preschool Fair and Admissions Panel Discussion

Speak with representatives from over 90 preschools at our fair held in May. An admissions panel discussion is held in conjunction with the fair featuring NYC preschool directors.


Note: Many school admissions offices are closed during the summer. The Parents League office has summer hours; check our website for a schedule of summer hours and Preschool Workshops.

Refine School List; Check Websites; Request Applications

Continue to develop and refine your list of schools and check school websites for application information. Mark your calendar as to when to contact schools for an application. Some preschools start taking requests as early as August 1 and others immediately after Labor Day.


Request Applications

Depending on the school, request or download the application if it was not available in the summer. By September all applications will be online after Labor Day. Stay in touch with your Parents League School Advisor as you go through the process.

Submit applications, schedule tours and child visits

Complete and return the application as soon as possible. Many schools will not schedule your tour until they have received your application. Make appointments to visit all the schools to which you are applying. There is often a tour and interview for parents and a separate visit for your child.

Siblings, Legacies

If your child is a sibling or legacy at a school or is enrolled in a preschool-based toddler program and you wish to participate in their optional early legacy notification program, let that school know.

Financial Aid

If you are applying for financial aid, do so when you apply.

Keep Track of Applications

Check the deadlines and complete all necessary steps required for each school. Remember; procedures differ at each school.

Join the Parents League

If you haven’t already done so, join the Parents League or renew your membership.

December/January/early February

Early Notification for Siblings, Legacies

If you have opted for the early notification program and have received an offer, respond to the school by the deadline and withdraw your applications to the other schools to which you have applied.


Call schools that you are no longer interested in to withdraw your application.

Late February/March

Decision Letters are Mailed

Check the Parents League website or ISAAGNY website for notification dates and reply dates.

Notify Other Schools

Once you have accepted an offer, call each school that has offered a place or included your child on its wait list so that the spot may be offered to others.


If the school you wish your child to attend has placed your child on its waitlist, call the school to let them know that you remain seriously interested.

Contract and Deposit

When you accept an offer, sign the contract and send in your deposit by the deadline.

Do you need more help understanding the NYC preschool admissions process?

Parents League is here to help you create your list of schools and make decisions about the best education for your family. Become a member here to make your first appointment with an expert school advisor today.

Recommended Reading