A Reader Question, Links and More!

 

SitWithUs is a new app to help kids find a place to sit at lunch so they won't have to sit alone. Genius!
SitWithUs is a new app to help kids find a place to sit at lunch so they won’t have to sit alone. Genius!

 

The L.A. private school admissions process is gearing up, with tours and applications on calendars. So, I thought it might be fun to answer a reader question and some “must-read” links from around the web.

But, first things first. You’ve heard Anne and me say it before, but it bears repeating: tour a lot of schools. You really can’t get a sense of the school unless you go on the tour. If there are two parents, you don’t both have to tour the first time. Just go! You’ll leave the tour knowing a lot more about the school and you’ll inevitably develop a stronger sense of what you want–or don’t want– in a school. There’s value in tours!

Here's a photo from the series I used for our family photo. Of course, the photo with me in it is missing. But, you get the picture (haha)
Here’s a photo from the series I used for our family photo for kindergarten applications. Of course, the photo with me in it is missing. But, you get the picture:)

Reader question: Can I send a family selfie as the photo for our application?

Answer: In the age of selfies, it makes sense that some families will want to use a selfie as their family photo (required for applications). I think that if the photo captures the essence of your family, you should consider using it. But, I also think that the family photo is one more small piece that tells the school who you are. Selfies are casual, fun, spontaneous. So, if the school where you’re applying has a vibe that seems like a selfie will fit with their image of the families at their school, then use it. But, for traditional schools, I’d send a more traditional photo. Look at the school’s website and Facebook Page and see what kind of photos they post. Since we applied for Kindergarten in 2005-06, selfies weren’t around. I used a photo of our family sitting on the steps of Barry’s college. It was casual, but the message was clear: we are a family who values college. Every photo tells a story. What’s your family story?

 

Links from around the web:

I shared these on Beyond The Brochure’s Facebook Page but definitely worth a read if you missed them:

There’s a new nature-based preschool opening in Santa Monica in 2017. www.meadowpreschool.com 

A genius new app for kids. A very brave and talented teenage girl was bullied at an elite, all-girls L.A. private school. Before she changed schools, she ended up in the hospital. I’ve met Natalie and her I know her lovely mom, Carolyn. I didn’t know the full extent of her story until Natalie did something incredible. She created an app to help kids who are being bullied (or just feeling alone) find someplace to sit at lunch. Read about SitWithUs in UsWeekly. Get it free on iTunes. It’s gone viral and Natalie has been on NPR, local news and she’s just getting started! Nice girls rule!

After Jerry Seinfeld’s son was rejected from a “blue-chip” NYC preschool, his wife Jessica wrote this piece for Town & Country. A must-read if you’re just starting the admissions process. She has great advice and words of wisdom!

Old but good: round-up with top admissions directors about what they look for in applicants. LA Mom Magazine

 

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Los Angeles Independent Schools Kindergarten Fair 2016

EASDBH2016

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Los Angeles Magazine: “Preschool Battles On The Westside”

 

LA Magazine

Update: 9/4/16. The Sept. issue is now available online. Click here to read “A Tot Mess.”

The September 2016 issue of Los Angeles Magazine has a big piece, “A Tot Mess” about huge preschool battles on L.A.’s westside. It also delves into some of the factors that create the frenzied admissions to get into the “best” preschools. I’m quoted in the piece, trying to give an analogy to help offer insight into the secretive insider mentality that can lead to the admissions frenzy. I also agree with Michelle Nitka that the if you have your heart set on a certain private elementary school it’s naive to think that this won’t influence your choice of preschool. This is the “feeder” school concept at play.

This article reads like a soap-opera with all the things: money, celebrities, lawsuits, competition and more. You’ll have to pick up a copy at the newsstand like I did, since the story isn’t online. You can also buy the September issue from iTunes using the app for $5.00.

For all the latest private schools scoop, like Beyond The Brochure on Facebook!

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Academic Achievers L.A. Private School Panel Event with Sandy Eiges, Sept. 17

AA ISEE Event1

 

AA ISEE Event2

 

Click on Academic Achievers for more information.

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Things You Can Do To Get Ready For Fall Admissions

 

Inside the multi-age K-1 classroom
Inside the multi-age K-1 classroom at Sequoyah School, Pasadena

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 fall admissions season. Before then, there are a few important things you can do to get ready for the hectic time when you’re touring schools, writing applications, attending parent interviews and all the other activities that surround the admissions process.

1. Do The Drive. If you know a few schools where you plan to apply, drive to and from the school during morning drop off and afternoon pickup. Can you do this drive every day? Can your child be in the car comfortably for the duration of the drive? Could you find a carpool? Is the school near your work or your home? Is there a bus? If you will have two kids at different schools, how would the logistics of that work? What about before and/or after school sports or activities? The school’s distance from your home and/or office can be a huge factor when considering schools in Los Angeles, due to the enormous size of our city.

2. Make A List of Schools. If you aren’t familiar with the schools your child will be eligible to apply for, compile a list now. If you’re planning to apply for kindergarten, but you only know of two schools, find more options. There is a list of LA and Pasadena area schools in our book, Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles. Also, CAIS has a list of all the independent schools in the Los Angeles area. You can also talk to friends, acquaintances, colleagues and anybody who might be familiar with school options. The more people you talk to, the more you learn. People tend to be very open to talking about schools here in L.A. Sort of like real-estate and home prices. It’s a constant topic of conversation. We’ve also profiled selected schools here.

3. Get organized. Grab a big 3-ring binder notebook from Target and create tab sections for each school. Then, for each school, create sections for every step of the process: tours (your notes from tours), parent interviews, etc. If you’re more comfortable with digital organization, find the best option i.e. Google documents, iPhone Notes, Evernote or whatever you like best. Another tip: create an email folder for school admissions and keep all correspondence from schools in that folder. The main thing here is to keep every piece of paper the school sends you, either a hard copy or a scan of it. The amount of paper and organization required for the admissions process can’t be underestimated. Calling the school because you’ve lost a document can–and should–be avoided.

4. Cost of Private School. Check out our post on L.A. private school tuition and the extra expenses that aren’t covered by tuition. This is an easy way to cross schools off the list if they don’t fit your family’s budget.

5. Extra Help. If you are considering hiring an educational consultant, here’s a list of experts to guide you through the process.

If you can tackle these manageable tasks, you’ll be ready to tour schools in September!

–Christina

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