Guidance From ISAAGNY

As overwhelming as the admissions process might seem, there are ways for you to make it more manageable and more productive for you and your family.

First, a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Understand that education in an independent school is a process that challenges students to be critical thinkers, nurtures their intellectual curiosity, inspires their creativity, stimulates their personal growth, and prepares them to be citizens of a global society. An independent school education is not a product that is measurable by a set of test scores or a college placement list.
  2. Think about your values and how each school you are considering articulates and lives up to its values.
  3. Remember that there are all kinds of learners and many different schools, each one with a distinct educational mission.

Now, some nuts and bolts advice about going forward:

  1. After your preliminary research to find which schools might be the best fit, limit your applications to a realistic number for your family to handle. Most schools ask for an application fee and many require several visits in order for you to learn more about them and for you to communicate directly with them.
  2. Submit all required information in a timely fashion.
  3. Schedule any required testing on a timely basis. Remember that test scores are only one piece of information that schools will consider.
  4. Show up for scheduled appointments and show up on time. If you cannot make an appointment, give the school as much advance notice as possible.
  5. Gather materials and factual information from each school in which you are interested.
  6. Feel free to ask thoughtful questions that enhance your understanding of what a school offers, but don’t feel that you have to ask questions just to be heard.
  7. Trust your own judgment about what you’ve read and seen.
  8. Be wary of consultants and self-proclaimed professionals; anyone can set up shop and there are no licensing or certification requirements.
  9. Be open-minded. There’s not just one great school or only one school that provides students with an outstanding educational experience.
  10. Simplify your life as you go along. If you know that you would not accept an offer from a school, consider withdrawing from that school’s admissions process.
  11. Don’t try to game the system. Be true to your own values and resist limiting your options by declaring your allegiance to a school before decisions are required.

Keep the admissions process in perspective. You want to choose the school that’s the best fit for your family’s values and schools want to select students and families that are a good match for their mission. For that selection process to succeed for both families and schools, our admissions process needs to be transparent and easy to negotiate and applicants need to be honest about who they are and open to the discovery process that is part of an independent school education.

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