COVID-19 Admissions: What the Pandemic Means for Your Admissions Journey
We at Admit NY want to acknowledge the devastating impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had and will continue to have on families around New York. Each and every one of us is navigating unprecedented and challenging circumstances, whether with illness, job loss, working logistics, caring for children, or other stressors. We know that the city of New York will return stronger than ever, although it is difficult to foresee when life will return to normal.
The pandemic impacts every domain of life, and admissions is no exception. Many families face uncertainty or anxiety when tackling the admissions process, and the global health crisis has made a difficult journey that much more unclear. We are here to demystify the admissions process and help families realize that small, manageable steps taken this spring can drastically reduce stress when admissions begin in earnest this fall.
It’s more important than ever to plan ahead and begin considering admissions now. Getting organized this spring will reduce the urgency and quantity of to-dos in the fall. Read on, or watch the video recap below, for a few key steps that you can take now to prepare for COVID-19 admissions.
Create a COVID-19 Admissions Plan of Action
Sometimes the hardest thing about the admissions process is the very first step: creating an initial roadmap or action plan. This roadmap will set you on a path of organization and efficiency through a sometimes confusing process. Get started with self-evaluation. Consider your child’s personality, educational needs, financial and other constraints, and goals for admissions outcomes: thinking ahead creates well-thought-out and targeted applications!
Begin discussing the admissions process with your child (if they’re a 5th grader or older), spouse, current teacher, and any other relevant people in your life. Take notes and begin building a list of the various qualities and characteristics you are looking for in a school. This information will set you up to begin your initial school research and will allow you to navigate the admissions process with clarity and confidence.
Kick Off School Research
Spring is typically the time to tour schools and begin assessing desired characteristics. In light of social distancing restrictions, a handful of schools are offering virtual tours. While it may be more beneficial to visit in-person, a virtual tour can still provide a foundational look at a school’s unique programs and philosophy.
Here is a list of schools that are offering virtual tours and information sessions, as of this blog post’s writing. Click these links to visit the admissions page and sign up for virtual sessions:
- Bank Street School for Children
- Beansprouts Nursery School
- The Caedmon School
- The Calhoun School
- The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine
- The Churchill School & Center
- Dwight School
- Dwight-Englewood School
- First Presbyterian Church Nursery School
- The IDEAL School of Manhattan
- International Academy of New York
- The International Preschools
- International School of Brooklyn
- The Masters School
- Metropolitan Montessori School
- New Amsterdam School
- Rodeph Sholom School
- Trevor Day School
- The Windward School
- York Prep
In addition to touring, begin browsing schools’ websites to read more about their teaching philosophies, curriculums, teachers, extracurricular programs, and community values. A comprehensive school research spreadsheet is your friend: add columns for key variables like cost, distance from your home, class size, etc. and begin filling in a row for each school to compare and contrast.
You may also want to reach out to any families in your network that currently attend prospective schools. Ask them about their experiences with workload, teachers, programming, and other criteria that matter for your assessment. Remember, though, that each family’s experience is unique. A report from someone in your network may not reflect how your family would experience the same school.
Build a Draft School List
Your school list is the set of schools that meet your basic requirements (though you may like some options more than others) and are worthy of submitting an application to. The list is a place to merge your school research with the tenets of the action plan you created previously: how does each school’s philosophy and educational approach match up with your child’s personality, needs, interests, and preferences?
It’s best to start with a large school list that can be narrowed down later. Once you’ve built a thorough list of all potential school options, you can begin noting key admissions deadlines, requirements, and application components for each. This more specific research and application information supplements the spreadsheet you already created.
Draft Parent Statements
Many schools’ applications will require a parent statement, a piece of writing that describes your family unit, who your child is as an individual, and what your goals are for their educational and personal development.
As with any essay, start by brainstorming the key points that you want to cover in a first draft. Begin honing each important fact into a sentence, and lace those sentences together into a cohesive statement. Your parent statement probably won’t be perfect until you’ve done more thought and research come fall, but a solid draft will save you a large amount of time when deadlines roll around.
Start Test Prep
Most students, depending on their age, will be required to sit for an admissions exam as part of their application process. Since children are currently stuck at home, it’s a great time to get a head start on test prep. Beginning test prep now allows you and your student to spread out preparation and decrease stress (and cramming!) in advance of fall test dates.
Many test prep companies are currently offering remote sessions. There are also various online resources that parents can use to guide kids’ test prep themselves. Your child’s age will determine their daily stamina for test prep, but starting with at least one practice question per school day is an easy first step.
Work With an Educational Consultant
While parents can take any of the above steps themselves, it can be very overwhelming to dive into a new process (particularly in this environment of general newness and uncertainty). Remember: we are here to help.
Admit NY is a partner ready to meet you wherever you are in the admissions planning process and help you put together an action plan that will set you up for success come fall. Our vast experience helping hundreds of families navigate the admissions process, plus our proprietary library of admissions resources (for example, a database of past parent statement prompts to help you start writing) can give you the knowledge and confidence you need to approach admissions calmly.
There are many to-dos that can be checked off now to vastly de-stress the application process once deadlines roll around. As a team, we can work together to ensure that the admissions process doesn’t become all-consuming, and that you have the time to focus on getting back to life as we knew it.
We work with a limited number of families each year, and we only have a few spots left on our 2020-2021 roster. Reach out today to set up a free consultation call to review the admissions process and how we can help you prepare for success.