How Schools Select Students

Since independent schools are designed to serve particular groups of students rather than the whole spectrum, they must choose from their applicants those they feel they can serve best. In the process of making those choices they rely on interviews, teacher's observations, testing, records of previous performances, and recommendations from the applicant's present school. They also take into consideration the composition of the class, its balance by personalities, by interests, by talents, and by needs.

Although every school strives for objectivity in making its choices, inevitably some subjective judgments must be made. No school pretends to infallibility, but all do their level best to be fair, both to the applicants and to the children presently enrolled.

In other instances when an applicant is young for the grade or perhaps inadequately prepared, admission may be offered at the present grade level. Rather than looking on this as being held back or repeating a grade, one should understand that the intent is to take the applicant at his present level of achievement and maturity and to proceed from there. More damage is done by ill-considered acceleration of children than by allowing them the time they need to grow and learn at their own pace.

Most schools give some preference to siblings of presently enrolled children and the children of alumni/ae.

If Your Child Is Not Admitted

In schools where there is intense competition for admission, it follows that numbers of qualified candidates must be turned down. If your child is one of those, there is no reason to assume that she is somehow inferior to those who were admitted. Choices may well have been made for reasons that had no relation to her merit as a student or a human being. In schools where competition is not a major factor, a child may be denied admission for reasons of balance or because the school in its best judgment concludes that it cannot offer an appropriate learning situation.

Whatever the reason, it is important for parents to maintain a positive attitude, principally to help their child feel good about himself. By all means discuss the school's findings with the head or the admissions officer, but let the discussion center on what the best course of action for the child is, not on the reasons for his being denied admission. Most schools want to assist in finding a reasonable alternative situation for the child. They do not want to talk about what is wrong with a child because that is not the way schools analyze their candidates. In the case of younger children in particular they also do not want to turn over test results because they can easily lead a lay person to an inaccurate and sometimes damaging perception of a child and to erroneous comparisons. If it turns out that the school can suggest no acceptable alternative, one would be wise to seek the advice of an independent educational counselor (see Additional Information)

NYSAIS Events Registration
    • May 13, 2021 Diversity Practioners Conference 2021: Divesting from Systems of Oppression, Investing in Communities of Transformative Freedom 10:00 AM to 4:00 PMeSeminar
      This event will meet over three separate days: May 13, 19, and 21, 2021 from 10 a.m.-12 noon; and 4-6 p.m. on each day
      Online via zoom
      Keynote speakers: adrienne maree brown and Yolanda Sealey Ruiz
      Presenters: Franny Choi, Dr. Adam Falkner, Carlos Andrés Gómez, Lauren Whitehead
      Audience: Equity and Diversity Practitioners (Directors, Coordinators, Liaisons, etc.), Members of Equity and Diversity Committees/Councils

      Hosted by NYSAIS Diversity Committee

      Details and registration here.
    • May 13, 2021 Grading for Equity: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How It Can Transform Schools and Classrooms 4:00 PM to 5:30 PMeSeminar
      Online via zoom
      Presenter: Joe Feldman and Dr. Shantha Smith, Crescendo Education Group
      4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
      Audience: Middle and Upper School teachers and administrators
      Details and registration here.
    • May 17, 2021 Finishing Well - Retiring from Schoolwork During a Pandemic 4:00 PM to 5:30 PMeSeminar
      Online via zoom
      Presenter: Jennifer Bryan, Re-Set School
      4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
      Audience: School personnel who are retiring in 2021
      Details and registration here.
    • May 18, 2021 Community Matters: Advisory Program 4:00 PM to 5:30 PMeSeminar
      Online via zoom
      Presenter: Katie Leo, Facing History and Ourselves
      4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
      Audience: Teachers and Administrators, grades 5-12
      Details and registration here.
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© 2013 New York State Association of Independent Schools

site map   |   privacy policy   |   contact us
17 Elk Street (First Floor)     Albany, NY 12207     Tel: 518-694-5500     Fax: 518-694-5501

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