Surviving the NYC Preschool Waitlist

Monday, February 22, 2021

As the admissions season for preschools draws to a close, parents often ask what it means to be waitlisted. Waitlists are actively used by schools in order to enroll a full class, while not over enrolling.

What does waitlisted mean?

If you receive notification from a school to which you applied that your child has been waitlisted, it means that the school would be happy to have your family as members of the community should the numbers allow.

How should I respond to a waitlist offer?

Should you be given a waitlist to a school and want to remain on it, communicate your interest immediately to the admissions office, preferably by email or phone. At the time of your first call to the school, ask them how they would like you to stay in touch with them as the process unfolds.

If I accept a spot at another school what do I do about the waitlist offer? 

Should you take a place at another school or decide you do not want to remain on the waitlist, communicate this immediately. Do be aware, however, that if you put a deposit down to a school that has accepted you, you will forfeit that deposit should you decide to choose another school.

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Do waitlists move? 

Yes, waitlists do move.

Do schools keep waitlists after the reply deadline has passed?

Waitlists may be active for just the week that a school is enrolling students, or it may continue to be active through the spring. This is up to the policy of each school and is something that you can ask the admissions office about when you call.

Should you have more questions about preschool waitlists and how to navigate admissions decisions for private middle and high schools, please contact the Parents League office at [email protected] to speak to a school advisor. Advisory services are free to all members.

If you are looking for more information about NYC preschools and the admissions process in general, subscribe to our email list to receive our timely emails about admissions resources, events, advice and school news.