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Nursery School Admissions First Big Deadline: Next Tuesday

If
you’re interested in applying to private nursery schools in the city, then
chances are you’re already begun doing your homework and are aware that many of
the schools only give out their applications on Tuesday after Labor Day. To clarify, these are the applications for
the fall of 2011, when your child will need to be two or older.  —(If you’re
looking for a spot this fall, you can call around to schools and see if any spots
have opened up in the last minute, and you can also try the Parents League,
which often knows of school openings. And keep in mind that many of the big
children’s activity programs in the city now offer “preschool alternative”
programs.)

It’s
worth preparing for next Tuesday—rather than just winging it—because some of
the most popular schools run out of applications by as early as
noon or so, so you want
to have a game plan in place. Here are
some suggested steps:

1. If you haven’t already, use this week to identify about 10 to 12
schools you think you might be interested in applying to in the fall—and either
call them now or go to their websites to find out what their process is for
next Tuesday. Their applications will
either be available online, or they will expect you to call. Again, you want to know this beforehand so
you’re using your time efficiently on Tuesday.

1.5 We’re not going to use this space for a
bigger overview on how to pick a school, but right now you’re focused on getting
applications. But here’s one
rule-of-thumb: start by looking at schools that are near you. You’ll appreciate the geographic proximity
later on. If you also want to try a few
schools that are father away but you’ve heard good things about, that’s fine
too.

2.  
Stay home. You can’t focus on
this while you’re at work.

3.  
Consider inviting a reliable
relative or friend to come over on Tuesday morning and help you. They can work
the phone while you’re working the computer, or vice versa. But if you do that, make sure you give them
a piece of paper with all the vital information: full names, child’s full name, address,
birthday, etc. So they have this at the
ready when asked.

4.  
Be polite and pleasant to anyone you speak to on the phone. It’s a stressful morning. Everyone is doing their best. They take note of parents who are really
difficult, or just plain rude.

Every
year there are parents who don’t know about Tuesday, and lose the chance to apply to schools they
might have been interested in. That’s
why we encourage you to also give a head’s up to friends who may not be aware.

For a
broader overview of the process, you can start with this admissions article. Other good
sources are Victoria Goldman’s “The Manhattan Directory of Private Nursery
Schools,” 6th Ed
,

the Parents League
and ISAAGNY,
which is the Independent School Admissions Association of New York. Look for some upcoming admissions seminars
sponsored by New York Family as well.  Good luck.