By Jennifer Brozost and Vimmi Shroff
1. Getting Organized
One of the most important things you can be doing this summer to ensure a smooth admission season is to get organized! When September arrives you must schedule and attend tours and open houses, mail your applications, and attend the various playgroups/interviews. Why not set up your organizational tools early?
• Buy a calendar or create an Excel Spreadsheet.
• List all the schools you like along with contact information: phone number, mailing address, e-mail and most important, the name of the Director of Admissions.
• Each school has their own application deadline and procedure. Note all deadlines, open houses, tours and interview dates. This can be overwhelming and hard to keep track, so maintaining a folder or a calendar that is easily accessible will help keep you organized and sane. We suggest a duplicate calendar for your spouse.
Invest in a filing system. All correspondence from each school should be saved in their designated folder. Whether done on-line or off!
Set up a notebook to record your thoughts, impressions and observations of each school. Record your impressions immediately after each school visit so that they are fresh and accurate. This ‘personal diary’ is an invaluable tool to have as you get closer to the decision making process.
2. Work on your Application Essays Early!
One of the most time-consuming and stressful parts of any application process is writing the many essays needed to complete each application.
Most essays will ask that you describe your child and will require that you explain why you are applying to ‘School X.’
Take time over the summer to jot down your child’s many strengths and some of the weakness. Keep the latter list short.
Once you have chosen four or five attributes, note some brief anecdotes that would complement those attributes. This list will ensure an easier writing process!
Make the anecdotes personal and specific, this will make your essay much more memorable! And PLEASE be realistic and SUCCINCT when describing your child.
One of the goals of this process is to gain admission in a school that is the right “fit” for your family… not just any school!
3. Look at Schools with an Open Mind
Opinions, opinions! Everyone has them and when it comes to schools they like to share them! Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation, gossip, and ‘frenemies’ out there. People are competitive and do not always have your best interests in mind.
One of the most productive things you can do now and through the entire process is to tune out those opinions. Stay connected with dear friends who have their own children in the schools to which you are applying, an education consultant, and most importantly, yourself.
4. Do Your Homework!
If all goes well the first time around, this admission process will be a one- time event. Do your homework – both for the schools to which you are applying as well as the entire process!
School websites are a great resource. Learn as much as you can about their mission statement, history, educational philosophy and physical space.
Talk to families who currently have children in school.
The more you know – the more confidence you’ll have – the easier the next six months will be!
Jennifer Brozost and Vimmi Shroff are the Co-Founders of PEAS: Private Education Advisory Service
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