End-of-Year Admissions To-Dos
As we sprint toward the end of the year, everyone is hustling to get through a long to-do list – for many families in New York, that to-do list includes a few final admissions tasks and priorities. We’re covering four key areas that you should keep in mind to ensure that you wrap up the admissions process successfully as you head into the new year.
Prioritize Your School List
By this point, you’ve probably visited several schools and participated in open houses or tours. Now it’s time to reflect on the insights you gained. Which schools resonated with your family? Did you notice any similarities or differences between schools? Were there any factors that made you fall in love with a particular school, or strongly dislike another?
You might want to take the time to write out notes, or even specific pros and cons, for each school on your list. Then, rank your schools in order of preference, and don’t forget to include both private and public school options – you want to make sure that you’ve considered every possibility for your child’s education. Hopefully your list is full of schools that you would be happy for your child to attend, but you may have found a few stand-out options – list those at the top to make sure you give their admissions processes special attention in coming months.
Now that you have a prioritized school list, it’s important to communicate your preferences to an ex-missions director, if you have one at your current school. Having a clear sense of your favorite school options will help the director advocate for your child at those schools, and will ultimately give them the tools to be strategic and honest in their conversations with schools on your behalf.
Write an ‘I Love You’ Letter
You may have developed a clear first-choice school in prioritizing your school list, and feel one-hundred percent sure that that school is the perfect match for your child and your family. If you feel like you would accept an offer from that school in a heartbeat, it’s time to let the school know via an “I love you letter!”
If you’re applying for middle or high school, your student should write the letter themselves and reiterate their strong interest in the school, the specific reasons why the school is a great fit for their passions and characteristics, and how they foresee adding value to that school’s community.
If you’re applying for nursery school or kindergarten, you should write the letter yourself as the parent of the applicant. Send one letter to your top-choice school expressing why the school impressed you so much in a visit, and why your child and family would fit perfectly into its community. Keep in mind, though, that your nursery director may be speaking with schools on your behalf – make sure that you’re all on the same page about your first-choice school. Share with the director that you intend to write an “I love you letter,” and heed their advice on writing a single letter genuinely expressing wholehearted interest in one school.
Double-Check Testing Requirements
December is the month to make doubly or triply sure that your child has completed the appropriate testing requirements for the schools they’re applying to.
If you’re applying for kindergarten, note that only a few schools still require the AABL test – but remember to make sure that it’s not required for the schools you’re applying to, and sign up to complete the test ASAP if you need to.
For applications to elementary grades two through four, most schools require the primary-level ISEE; for middle and high schoolers, most schools require the ISEE or SSAT. Students who haven’t yet completed testing should sit for their final test in December.
As soon as score reports are finalized, send them off to the schools on your list. Remember that you do not need to send all scores to schools – send only the set that best represents your child’s academic ability.
Verify Completion of Applications
December is also the perfect time to ensure that all tasks and documents related to each application are submitted and that nothing is outstanding. Sign into each application portal, whether Ravenna or school-specific, and confirm that each piece of your application has been checked off as received by the target school.
However, note that these checklists are not always fully up-to-date; it takes schools time to process and track all documents received. If you know that you sent in a document and don’t see it checked off in the application portal, wait a week before contacting the school – more often than not, they have indeed received the material, just haven’t tracked it in the portal yet. However, if you wait a full week and still don’t see the document reflected in your portal, reach out to the school to verify receipt and resend if necessary.
Once you’ve prioritized, written, double-checked, and verified, you can sit back for the holiday season and trust that your applications are in good hands: now the most difficult part might be sitting and waiting for results! If the Admit NY team can assist in any part of your admissions process, including selection of schools after offers have been received, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Happy holidays, and best of luck!