In New York City, admissions season, which begins shortly after the first day of school, becomes a chaotic months-long frenzy for many families.
New York’s school system, the largest in the nation, is divided into 32 school districts with more than 1,700 public schools, giving many families dozens of choices starting at age 3. Depending on the kindergarten, students may be categorized into different courses. The intensity of the high school search process is compared to college admissions.
But there are ways to make the experience easier. More than half a dozen education and admissions experts and counselors offered tips on how to sort through the avalanche of information and what to look for to find the right school for your child.
Here’s what you need to know:
What is most important when choosing a school?
First, take a step back and consider your child’s interests and the type of school (large or small). A traditional style with a lot of structure, or a progressive style with more freedom – chances are that the person will be successful.
Next, take a deep breath. Admissions experts emphasized that no school is perfect.
However, many research studies show that there are two important factors to look for: the quality of teachers and principals.
To find clues about them, consider their interactions with students, their level of experience (which you can find in the materials). school report card) and whether the staff appears united and agrees on a common vision for the school. Tone of voice is very important in preschool and early grades. Are teachers trained?are they talking and Students and in they? Do the children look like they are having fun?
Of course, what schools actually teach is also important, especially their approach to teaching reading, writing and mathematics. Many schools are rolling out new curricula to overhaul ineffective practices, and it’s worth asking about their plans.
Local Elissa Stein High school entrance exam consultantshe often tells families that factors such as commute times, start times, extracurricular activities, and support services will also shape a student’s experience.
“If you know that certain environments are not appropriate or beneficial for your child, cross some schools off your list,” she said. “Even if you have a great reputation.”
I want to compare schools. Where can I find information?
A good starting point is InsideSchools is a website known as one of the best resources for New York City. We need advice, data, and school reviews.
The Department of Education publishes another useful indicator. impact scoreIt aims to show how well schools are helping students improve academically based on standardized test results.
Families with children already enrolled can also provide insight. One Facebook group about high school entrance exams run by family The process is particularly popular. However, be sure to double-check the information on the Department of Education website.
When creating your selection list, consider looking beyond the well-known options. “It’s becoming increasingly important to look beyond that,” said Laura Zinmond, senior editor at InsideSchools.
“Try wearing some things you’ve never heard of but that seem interesting,” she said. “Or it looks interesting, but someone says, ‘I don’t like that school.'” Block out the noise. ”
One common piece of advice is that the sooner you start creating your list, the better. Admissions experts also say there’s no substitute for in-person tours when weighing options.
How can I get the most out of my tour?
Ask questions, take detailed notes, and pay attention to the school environment. Are students participating in discussions or seem disinterested? Are there a variety of books in the classroom?
For elementary school students, think beyond the kindergarten years. Ginmond said it can be helpful to observe fifth-graders in class, or ask teens to look at the work they’ve completed to make sure the teacher is grading it properly.
Zinmond said schools should consider asking how they could approach hypothetical challenges such as disciplinary issues or emotional conflicts. “When a school says it’s doing something well, be sure to ask for examples,” she added.
Even if the student does not have a disability, it is worth paying attention to the school situation. Initiatives in special educationsaid Clara Hemphill, founder of InsideSchools. “I want to see how they deal with unconventional kids,” she said. “Are they included? Are they observant?
It’s time to apply. What should I know?
First of all, the basics. The grades that New York families must apply to schools are:
Preschool: New York State offers a free kindergarten program for 3- and 4-year-olds for the entire school day, and families may be eligible for extension options. based on income and needs.
primary school: All children are guaranteed a place in kindergarten and enroll in the calendar year in which they turn 5 years old. Most students attend zoned schools and are given admission priority based on their home address. Find your zoned school here. Three areas, the Lower East Side, East New York, and the South Bronx, do not have zones and can apply district-wide.
middle: Most students enroll in zoned schools or other schools within the same district. Some programs accept children from anywhere in the city or even from specific boroughs. For example, students in the Bronx can apply to middle schools there.
high school: High schools have the most options and you can apply to programs throughout the city.Here it is Detailed video explaining the process.
Application deadlines and rules are subject to change, but each school level will receive a random lottery number and programs will be ranked among up to 12 choices.
If the number of applicants exceeds the number of seats, the lottery numbers will be affected. after that, Schools classify children into priority groups Factors such as borough and whether a student has registered siblings are used to determine admissions. Seats will be given to students in the order of lottery numbers until seats are filled.
Applications for middle school and high school will begin on October 3 and October 11 and will close in December. Nursery school and kindergarten schedules will follow. Offers will be shipped from March.search Click here for exact date.
About 13 percent of the city’s students attend charter schools. They are free and publicly funded, but privately run outside the city’s education department. Many schools have long school days, long school years, and unique themes and approaches. Applications are made separately and the deadline is often in April..
What is the best strategy when applying?
Schools and programs should be ranked in the order that you really want them. There is no better approach. Students will only be considered for a lower-ranked choice if there is no space available at the higher-ranked school.
Admissions experts suggest creating a complete list of 12 schools that balances programs, priorities, and demand per seat. This can be found at MySchools. Please apply by the deadline. There is no advantage to applying early.
Unique admissions options may also be available, Stein said. If you are a good writer with average grades, you may want to consider the following high schools: focus on essays.Students who had a difficult time in junior high school may want to consider this. Educational option programCindy Nuesi, who runs the school, said seats are reserved based on the level of academic performance. youth center We work with middle school students in the Cypress Hills neighborhood of Brooklyn.
What if your child doesn’t get their first choice?
Students are automatically waitlisted at programs ranked ahead of schools to which they are admitted.But even if you’re disappointed, remember that students can still grow, said Mahalia Watson, a Harlem parent who created the online guide. let’s talk about school.
“If your child doesn’t get into the school that everyone says they need to have a great life, it’s not the end of the world,” she said. “That’s not true.”
The city has many other programs listed. This year’s official admission guide.