Admissions Notes

Now that the admissions process is over (unless you’re on a wait-list), we wanted to share some of the feedback we’ve received from parents who went through the process for Fall 2010. Here’s what we heard:

What went right:
  • Several families applied to lots of schools i.e. 5 or more and were accepted at several schools
  • Several families told the school what they loved about the school (being very specific)
  • Several families asked their contacts/friends for letters of recommendation
  • Families spent the time to write each application tailored to the specific school rather than cutting & pasting the same generic answers for each school
  • Two kids got accepted from wait-lists already
What went wrong:
  • Several families applied to 3 or fewer schools and were not accepted at any of them
  • One parent challenged the school’s educational philosophy during the parent interview and didn’t get into the school
  • A family whose child attended a very traditional preschool (parochial) but applied to developmental/progressive elementary schools without explaining the reason was wait-listed
  • A few parents who didn’t complete their financial aid forms in time but cannot afford tuition were wait-listed or declined admission
We’ll post more admissions notes if you’d like to share them with us… or leave a comment (you can remain anonymous).
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Christina Simon: Los Angeles, California, United States I'm the mom of two kids who attended The Willows School in Culver City and Viewpoint School in Calabasas. My daughter is a graduate of Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism ('23) and my son is a sophomore at UPenn/Wharton ('26). I live in Coldwater Canyon with my husband, Barry, and our dogs. Contact me at

5 thoughts to “Admissions Notes”

  1. Hi Christina,

    My son will be turning 5 in the middle of July. We applied for kindergarten for this admissions cycle (and were accepted to one of our top choices). However, there were some schools with a July 1st cut-off that we were interested in and wanted to apply to, but couldn't because our son just missed the age cut-off. I talked to a member of the admissions staff at one of these schools and she said that it is not uncommon for children with a birthday just past the age cut-off to go through kindergarten at a different school and then repeat kindergarten at their school.

    Have you come across any families who have experienced this situation? Do you (or Anne) have any thoughts on the matter?

    Thanks for your blog! I think it's a great read.

  2. Hi Anon, 7:36. Thanks for your comments about the blog! We appreciate it! Both my kids have late July birthdays. So I know what it's like. This makes it very difficult to deal with cutoff dates. Do you wait or move forward? That's the question I faced. With my daughter (now in 3rd Grade), I chose to leave her in preschool another year. She started K at age 6. My son started DK at age 4. He was–and still is–the youngest in his class. It was definitely the right decision for both my kids. I think the scenario you mentioned is uncommon within private elementary schools. But, its very common to start at a public school and repeat the grade after moving to private school. For example, doing K at a public school and then starting private in K again. In your case, I think it's risky to enroll your child in a private K and then immediately apply to another private K program. If you didn't get in to the school where you applied, you would have potentially burned bridges at the current school and it would be difficult to mend those fences. I'd be very CAREFUL with the entire situation. I agree, it's very tempting to consider applying to other schools for next year. There are a lot of compelling schools in LA. But, there are no guarantees your son would get in and it would put you in a very tough situation at your son's school. I think you should enroll your son, plan to stay there unless there is a problem and he or your family are not happy at the school. Then, apply out. But, just to apply out because you liked other schools and he missed the cutoff is unusual unless you're moving from public to private school. Applying to another K during the first year at your new school could signal a PROBLEM to the private schools where you're applying. They may think your son is struggling in K. They may think you're having "problems" at the school dealing with the administration, etc. And, if the administration at your son's school is angry with you about applying out, they may do nothing to dispel the idea that there is a problem. However, I have seen kids move from private school in higher grades like 3rd to other private schools to join a sibling in high school or move in 5th grade, 6th or 7th grade to a school that is a K-12.

    Hope that helps!


  3. Hi again, just wanted to say congratulations on getting into your top choice school!!!


  4. We paid our deposit and were very happy with the school where we were lucky enough to be accepted. Originally, it hadn't been our first choice, but we were waitlisted at our first choice and quickly found happiness with our new school "home".

    Then the unexpected happened – we got the phone call offering us a spot off the waitlist at what had been our first choice. I have to say, even though this is supposedly a "good" problem to have, we were a mess. I couldn't figure out what my gut was saying, and frankly, I couldn't figure out if I even had one any more! My husband and I went round and round… I know I shouldn't say it, but it was miserable.

    In the end, we did decide to switch horses midstream, as it were, but it was an agonizing decision. We opted for the change and went with the school that had been our initial first choice ONLY because we thought it was going to be the best choice for our child. In the end that was our focus, and the thrust of our decision making.

    I never realized how psychologically hard it was going to be to revisit the whole process again after what we affectionately call, "D-Day".

    Your wisdom has been very helpful and I have appreciated all your insight on this entire subject. Thank you!

  5. Hi Anon 7:22, congratulations!!! I think you made the right decision…there was a reason that the school was your first choice to begin with. But, these decisions, while enviable, are really stressful. Thank you for leaving the comment because it lets other parents know that spots DO open up from wait-lists for exactly the reason you described.


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