“Navigating L.A. Private Secondary School Admissions” with Sandy Eiges of L.A. School Scout-1/19/17

la-school-scout

 

To reserve your spot, CLICK HERE.

secondary-school-event-la-school-scout

To reserve your spot, CLICK HERE.

 

Related Posts

  • 63
    Here, I interview one of my good friends, Skylar, about her experience as a mom going through the L.A. private school admissions process for 9th grade. Her son, Luc, attended The Willows for K-8, which is where we met. I think it's always helpful to hear different perspectives about admissions from a variety of voices.--Christina…
    Tags: school, admissions, secondary, angeles, los, private, applying
  • 62
      This post was originally published on June 9, 2015. It was written by Beyond The Brochure's guest contributor, Alice. We are sharing it again because extracurricular activities for the secondary school admissions process are a BIG DEAL!  I consider myself occasionally sane when it comes to parenting. I don’t wildly over book my kids, or expect them…
    Tags: admissions, school, private, middle, applying, secondary, high
  • 52
      Here's an article today in the L.A Times about the frenzy created by "Black Friday" the day last week when admissions emails were received by parents.   Don't miss a thing! Like Beyond The Brochure on Facebook!    
    Tags: admissions, l.a, school, private, angeles, los
  • 50
    This is the BIG WEEK. Finally after months of waiting, schools will notify parents about elementary school admissions decisions on Friday, March 18. If you applied for secondary school, or if you applied to Pasadena schools, you most likely found out yesterday.  Friday is the BIG DAY for L.A., you been waiting for since you…
    Tags: school, admissions, private, los, angeles

Read More

Applying For 9th Grade: Skylar’s Story

Photo: Ruth Hartnup/Flickr
Photo: Ruth Hartnup/Flickr

Here, I interview one of my good friends, Skylar, about her experience as a mom going through the L.A. private school admissions process for 9th grade. Her son, Luc, attended The Willows for K-8, which is where we met. I think it’s always helpful to hear different perspectives about admissions from a variety of voices.–Christina

Question: Thank you, Skylar, for sharing your family’s experience with the 9th grade admissions process with our readers. Can you describe what the process was like for your family?

Answer: In a word, CHALLENGING. My son really wanted to go to Crossroads. My husband and I really wanted him to go there. Crossroads was his first choice. He wanted to be in the Crossroads theater program and play baseball there. We had high hopes that coming from The Willows he’d get in. He is a multi-faceted kid (baseball, theater, led tours of Willows, rock band, good grades and engaging personality). His ISEE scores were good, but not great. We had great letters of recommendation from parents at the school, his theater director, his baseball coach and even the head of the baseball league. Despite all this, he didn’t get in. It was devastating for him and for me and my husband. He was wait-listed and we tried so hard to get a spot from the wait-list, but it didn’t happen. It was an emotional time for us. Luc had good friends going to Crossroads and he wanted to go there with them. And, we thought it would be the best school for him. But, the numbers didn’t work in our favor. There were too many families with board-level connections and we didn’t have those relationships. Fortunately, he was accepted at 3 other schools.

Question: What do you think was the most difficult part of the process?

Answer: Definitely it was the written application.  The parent essays and the essays our son had to write for every school were very tedious. They are so time-consuming and you want to answer the questions directly but still be interesting and not dull.  Some schools require long essays and others are short. Each school asks different questions. Whew!

Question: What was the easiest part of the process?

Answer:  We are all outgoing and talkative, so for our family the interviews were the least stressful part of the process. We can talk to a potted plant and make it a two-way conversation. But, if you are the quiet type, or your kid is quiet, try to anticipate the type of questions you’ll be asked and practice answering the questions. The schools might ask why you want your kid to attend the school. They might ask your kid why he/she wants to go to the school or to talk about his/her extracurricular activities. If it’s an all-boys or all-girls school, they might ask your kid why he/she wants to attend a single-sex school. Vague, general answers aren’t what they’re looking for. Try to be specific!

Question: What advice would you give parents who are applying for 9th grade?

Answer: Cast a wide net! Tour a lot of schools. Apply to enough schools so you end up with options. Look outside your obvious choices or the most “popular” schools. Look for schools where other families at your current school are not applying. Remember that if you’re at a private school, your head of school has a lot of families who are applying to the same few schools, so if you can apply to a school that is not on that list, your might have a better chance of getting in. Your kid is competing against his/her classmates, unfortunately.

Question: Do you think it’s possible for a kid to get accepted without letters of recommendation?

Answer: Yes! At one school, we didn’t know anybody and Luc got in. At the other schools, we did have letters from current parents. The admissions process is very political at some schools. It can be about who your family is, or what you do for work, at some of these schools, even for 9th grade. If your job gives you strong connections to board members that’s a big deal.

Question: Do you have any words of advice for other parents?

Answer: Try to stay calm and know that your family will get through the process, possibly with an unexpected or surprising (in a good way!) outcome. Don’t rule out a school just because it is different than your current school. Kids change and have different educational needs in high school than they had in elementary school. Keep an open mind. Look at teachers, classes offered, extracurricular activities and college placements at prospective schools. Do they fit with what your kid wants? What you want for him/her? If so, apply! We were way too focused on one school and didn’t initially realize that there was another school that was a great choice for Luc. Also, I’d say that a lot of D1 sports school are religious, but don’t let that deter you. They attract kids of all faiths who come to play sports or for other programs.

Thank you, Skylar for your insights and advice–Christina

Skylar is the mom of Luc, a sophomore at Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino, where he is enjoying playing baseball and excelling at the all-boys school. 

Names have been changed for privacy. 

 

Keep up with all the private school news and events, Like Beyond The Brochure on Facebook!

 

Related Posts

  • 72
      Hi Friends! Happy Summer! Hope you're enjoying our hot summer here in L.A. We just returned from my son's basketball tournament in Las Vegas where it hit 113 degrees. That's just too hot! I posted the team's photo on Beyond The Brochure's Facebook page. If you're reading this post, you are probably anticipating the…
    Tags: schools, school, admissions, process, private, angeles, los
  • 72
    This is the BIG WEEK. Finally after months of waiting, schools will notify parents about elementary school admissions decisions on Friday, March 18. If you applied for secondary school, or if you applied to Pasadena schools, you most likely found out yesterday.  Friday is the BIG DAY for L.A., you been waiting for since you…
    Tags: school, schools, admissions, kid, private, los, angeles
  • 65
      Here's an article today in the L.A Times about the frenzy created by "Black Friday" the day last week when admissions emails were received by parents.   Don't miss a thing! Like Beyond The Brochure on Facebook!    
    Tags: admissions, school, private, angeles, los
  • 63
      I'm updating this previous post since I've been hearing that this year (2016-17) is one of the most competitive for L.A. private elementary school admissions. That probably means more kids will end up on wait-lists than in a less competitive year. A frequently asked question is, "Does a wait-list notification really mean NO or…
    Tags: school, schools, admissions, private, angeles, los

Read More

Two Abandoned “A-List” Private School Tours (re-post)

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 5.58.00 AM

Originally published August 8, 2010. 

When we were looking at kindergarten for my daughter, I think we toured about 10 schools.

There were two school tours that I’ll mention in this post because (1) they are extremely coveted schools with big reputations (and, we found, egos to match) and (2) my husband and I abandoned both tours mid-stream in order to maintain our sanity.

School #1

The first school is a near-impossible-to-get-into K-12 school, not exactly close to our house. With traffic, it’s about an hour drive. Our tour was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. I scheduled my nanny to come at 6 a.m. to make sure we could leave the house on time.

On the way to the tour, my husband and I had an argument. Traffic was horrible, there was road construction and a detour. My husband had already decided this wasn’t going to be a drive we could do. I wanted to continue on to the school and complete the tour. We were totally stressed and snapping at each other. He was driving, tailgating the car ahead. He knows this makes me carsick.

We arrived at the school and were greeted by the admissions director, an ice queen. She had us and the other group of parents stand outside the admissions office while she told us about the school. It went on for an eternity. The ice queen droned on. Bored out of my mind, my eyes wandered. Parents were dropping off their kids for school. A very showy drop-off scene. We waited for a few late arrivals than preceded to start the tour. The actress Maria Bello, wearing Hudson Jeans, was on the tour, along with her ex-husband. My husband was on the verge of being an “ex” as well, as he made small talk with Ms. Bello, striving to find some commonality in their Philadelphia roots. When he made reference to her cheerleader scene in “A History of Violence,” I ushered him away for a sharp elbowed reminder of why we were there.

The building of this school is quite nice. It’s big and relatively new. The walls are adorned with the art of famous LA artists. Although this art was probably donated, the artists on display sell their work for hundreds of thousands of dollars per painting.

We went into the kindergarten classroom, where they were doing show and tell. Show and tell? In my mind, that’s an old-fashioned, dated waste of time. This was a hip, modern school. The teacher had a kid up at the front of the class with his item to show. It was some sort of small animal, as I remember. Another little girl was sobbing hysterically, since school had just stared a few weeks earlier. It was hard to focus with her crying and they finally had her leave the room with a teacher. Not impressive. It definitely didn’t live up to the hype.

Then, it was time to go to the math class. The teachers talked about the math program, which seemed fine, if not a bit fuzzy. They also seemed quite proud of the fact that a girl in the class had broken her arm on a recent overnight field trip. I’d pay more than $20,000 to have my kid break an arm on a field trip?

This school is big on community service and really touted its various programs to help the community. Parents on the tour seemed very impressed by this. To me the programs seemed outdated and stale. There’s a lot more innovative stuff happening in LA schools, but it wasn’t there. The programs appeared to be at least a decade old. Parents were complimenting the admissions director at every opportunity. I was sure Maria Bello liked the school the most of everyone. She keep oohing and nodding with approval at everything.

To me, the school seemed chilly, it lacked warmth. Perfect buildings, gorgeous artwork, no energy, way too quiet for a lower school.

After the community service portion of the tour, my husband and I gave each other “the look” which means “let’s go”. The tour wasn’t finished, but we knew this wasn’t the school for us. We left. In some ways, it feels good to cross a school off your list. On the other hand, that leaves one less option.

School #2

Plastic surgery. Designer logos. Super-high heels. Haughty attitudes. The Real Housewives of New York? Nope. A private elementary school tour in Los Angeles.

The second tour we abandoned is yet another super-difficult school to get into. I was curious to see this school since it is one of the most sought after private elementary schools in LA. This is partly because of the celebrities who have kids at the school and partly because of the parents at the school, many of whose heads are swelled to the point of bursting with self-importance. Of all the schools, this school suffers (or benefits) from the most rumors about how many kids will be accepted, how many siblings, etc. Parents can spend hours talking about whether this school will admit one or two new kids in a given admissions cycle. We toured it at the suggestion of our preschool director.

We arrived and were told we’d be on a tour with two other families. There were lots of other tours taking place at the same time. This school has a low-key exterior and location that belies its interior pretentiousness.

The mom who was our tour guide was very unfriendly, had a plastic surgeon husband (who had clearly worked on her face, and my husband speculated a little too loudly, her rejuvenation) and knew very little about what was actually happening in the classrooms. She was jittery and unfocused. I wanted to switch tour guides. Her focus was to look around to see who else was on the other tours. Head to toe in designer clothes, she had zero interest in my family. None. She never made eye contact. Nor did she have any interest in our companion family on the tour. They were not wealthy enough, it was obvious, even though the husband mentioned he was a lawyer.

After the tour, the head of school welcomed parents in the auditorium. This head of school is very impressive. Or so the head of school told everyone in the ten minutes that were allocated to us. However, we knew that wouldn’t be enough to make this school work for us. My husband and I saw a door marked “Emergency Exit”. Too bad, or we could have made our escape. Again, we gave each other “the look” We made a quick exit out the front and were gone.

I write about these two abandoned tours to say that even if everyone else likes a school, you may not. It’s better to bow out early than waste everyone’s time. I couldn’t get excited about either school. Parents all around me were practically hyper-ventilating they wanted a spot at both these schools so badly. These two schools were all theirs.

Our preschool director tried to get us to re-think this school. Tour it again. We have friends there and they love it. It simply wasn’t right for our family.

Don’t miss a thing! Like Beyond The Brochure on Facebook for all the latest private school news.

Related Posts

  • 70
    Beth Hillel Elementary: A Hidden-Jewel With An All-Embracing Vision Blue Oak Creative Schoolhouse: A Transitional Kindergarten In West LA  Chandler School: Acclaimed Academics On An Expansive Campus (Pasadena) Children's Community School: Progressive Instruction in Matters of the Heart and Mind. Echo Horizon School's Magnificent Makerspace Los Encinos School: A Small School For A Big World Little…
    Tags: school
  • 58
      Anne Simon is wonderful my co-author and step-mom. With decades of experience as a head of school and admissions director, here she's highlighted 3 tips to help you get ready for the parent interview, an essential part of the L.A. private school admissions process at many schools.   Preparing for a parent interview is…
    Tags: school
  • 58
    Independent School Alliance: Information Sessions (the Alliance helps minority families navigate the L.A. private school admissions process) click here to sign up March 30, 2017 (Thursday): 6PM - 7:30PM Location: Westridge School for Girls - 324 Madeline Drive, Pasadena CA 91105 May 2, 2017 (Tuesday): 6PM - 7:30PM Location: Wildwood Elementary School - 12201 Washington…
    Tags: school

Read More

In the LA Times: “To Donald Trump, from the undocumented immigrant who graduated alongside your daughter” (at Viewpoint School)

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-9-17-26-am

My kids attend Viewpoint School, as I’ve mentioned previously. They co-exist among students who are Democrats and Republicans, Independents and Libertarians. They discuss politics, sometimes. A few weeks ago, the Upper School held an assembly to help students understand how to talk about politics with respect toward each other. Barry and I are lifelong Democrats. He might be slightly more liberal than I am, although I’m not even sure why he even thinks that. My kids are also Democrats, in 7th and 10th grade.

 

the-patriot

 

The Patriot, Viewpoint’s school newspaper, came out with an edition on election day. In it, my daughter interviewed Scott Baio, one of President-elect Trump’s celebrity convention speakers. Many of us will remember Scott Baio as “Chachi” on the hit show Happy Days. My daughter’s politics are different than Baio’s. That doesn’t matter. She had a chance to interview a dad at her school who’d spoken at the Republican National Convention. She said he was accessible, funny and of course, serious.

Diana Delgado Cornejo’s opinion piece in the LA Times will stay with me for a long time. The writer’s brutal, unflinching honesty–and hope–stunned me. It is one of the reasons Viewpoint is the kind of school I want my kids to attend. They are fortunate to be there, to be around people who don’t share their beliefs and those who are like-minded. I know that. I hope they do too.

Keep up to date with all the L.A. private school news and events on Beyond The Brochure’s Facebook Page!

 

Related Posts

  • 55
    Hi Friends! It's summer and our family is enjoying every minute of it. I hope you're taking some time to relax and enjoy a less hectic pace too. Recently, we spent a week in NYC to vacation and see friends while my daughter spent the week at Columbia's Scholastic Press Association journalism program for high…
    Tags: school, daughter, kids, will, viewpoint, students
  • 49
    Originally published August 8, 2010.  When we were looking at kindergarten for my daughter, I think we toured about 10 schools. There were two school tours that I’ll mention in this post because (1) they are extremely coveted schools with big reputations (and, we found, egos to match) and (2) my husband and I abandoned…
    Tags: school
  • 48
    Beth Hillel Elementary: A Hidden-Jewel With An All-Embracing Vision Blue Oak Creative Schoolhouse: A Transitional Kindergarten In West LA  Chandler School: Acclaimed Academics On An Expansive Campus (Pasadena) Children's Community School: Progressive Instruction in Matters of the Heart and Mind. Echo Horizon School's Magnificent Makerspace Los Encinos School: A Small School For A Big World Little…
    Tags: school
  • 48
    Happy July 4th weekend! This is my favorite holiday because it reminds me of what it means to be American. It's also perfect for a long, lazy summer weekend where we can host friends for a BBQ and swimming. We visited family and friends last earlier this week in Washington D.C. on what has become…
    Tags: school, times, viewpoint

Read More

Lisa Marfisi: From L.A. Admissions Director To Educational Consultant

This morning, I had a lovely coffee meeting with Lisa Marfisi in West Hollywood. I first met Lisa when she was the admissions director at Echo Horizon School. We hit it off right away and it turns out we have several “small world” connections. Lisa just started working as an educational consultant, helping families find the right elementary or secondary school in Los Angeles. With her years of experience at some of L.A.’s top schools, her knowledge will be an asset to any family looking for the right school. Lisa was the person who made the decisions about who got in! For more information, visit Academic Achievers. Congratulations, Lisa!

 

lisa-m-1 lisa-m2-2016-10-23-at-12-49-37-pm

 

lisa-m3

 

Stay up-to-date on all the latest L.A. private school news. Follow Beyond The Brochure on Facebook.

Read More