What If I Missed the Universal Pre-K Registration Deadline?

Monday, March 9, 2020

Anne Burns, Parents League School Advisor

In the NYC public school system, pre-kindergarten is available for all 4-year-olds. All New York City families with children born in 2016 are eligible to participate in Pre-K for All for the 2020-2021 school year.

Under the city’s Pre-K for All program (often referred to as UPK, or Universal Pre-K), Pre-Ks are located in different facilities, including stand-alone Pre-K centers, community centers and public schools, as well as some private and parochial schools.

This year’s deadline for application is March 16, 2020.

In general, NYC Pre-K for All programs run from September to June, five days a week. Most Pre-K programs run on a full day schedule (6 hours and 20 minutes).

When applying, you can list up to 12 programs in your district and you should list the programs in order of preference (top choice first). In determining your child’s placement, seat availability and admissions priorities play a part in matching you to your highest possible choice.

If you do not receive a place at one of your selections, your child will be seated in the closest program to your address that has availability. Offers of placement are sent to applying families in May.

The DOE maintains waitlists for programs that have more applicants than available seats. If you do not receive your top choice, you are automatically added to the waitlist for all programs you placed higher on your application than your placement offer. A program will contact you directly if a seat opens from the waitlist.

Some sites allow for visits through Open Houses or tours. You can contact the program directly or check the calendar at nyc.gov/PreK to see a list of Open Houses.

Here are some tips from Parents League Advisors if you’ve missed the deadline or have been placed in a program that isn’t feasible for your family:

  • Be in touch with the NYC DOE Pre-K team regarding any available options. Contact information is on their website: www.schools.nyc.gov/enrollment/enroll-grade-by-grade/pre-k
  • If you have given up a spot at your current independent preschool in the hopes of a coveted Pre-K spot, call your preschool director! Things shift throughout the admissions process and your director may be able to offer you a spot in their 4’s or Pre-K program.
  • Call the Parents League of New York. We maintain a current list of independent and private schools that have Pre- K openings and we can walk you through how best to proceed. In NYC, we are lucky to have many preschool options and we can help you find a terrific option for your child's Pre-K year.
  • Make a phone appointment with one of our experienced preschool advisors to find out more about Pre-K openings in private preschools and independent schools and how to secure a place for your child. Join online now and then call to schedule your appointment at 212-737-7385.


Who are the Parents League School Advisors?

Parents League School Advisors have over 200 years of combined experience as administrators, admission directors, teachers and board members at schools including The Allen-Stevenson School, Bank Street School for Children, The Brearley School, The Buckley School, Central Synagogue May Family Nursery School, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School, The Episcopal School, Grace Church School, Hackley School, The International Preschools, The School at Columbia University, The Town School, and Trevor Day School. 

We have a unique and close working relationship with over 300 independent day and boarding schools, enabling us to provide families with up-to-date information about schools and admissions policies.

See advisor bios here