0/X? What next?

Denied Admission. The harsh words shock many parents who open private elementary school letters hoping their child would be offered admission. Instead, they’ve received a letter informing them that their child has been declined admission. Then another letter with the same rejection. And again. This is extremely upsetting (understandably) to these families. If you’re a parent who got rejection letters, the question is what next? Here are some suggestions:

Don’t beat yourself up over this! It’s very common in the competitive LA private elementary school environment.

Understand how subjective the admissions process can be; it’s not random, but it’s not a hard science either. Factors completely out of your control enter into the equation. Too many siblings, too many legacy families, too many families with connections to board members and on and on.

Enroll your child in your local public kindergarten and reapply to private elementary schools again next year. We know numerous families who are admitted the second year they apply (either for 1st grade or kindergarten).

Understand that not being admitted may have to do with your child being too young or another factor not entirely within your control. Another year at preschool or local kindergarten will solve that issue.

Don’t expect admissions directors to “debrief” you as to why your child was not admitted.

Recognize that applying to the same schools for a second time will signal your strong interest in the schools and your commitment to private elementary school.

Focus on your “Plan B”. Develop a strategy for next year’s application process, if that’s what you plan to do. Expand the number of schools you apply to next year. Ask your preschool director for feedback. He or she may have spoken to admissions directors and gained valuable information about your application.

Make sure your preschool director gave your child and your family a favorable recommendation.

We cover the issue of rejection letters and wait-lists in our book because it’s so common in LA.

A few tips if your child is wait-listed

Most likely, it’s been a long few months. We know you really want the private elementary school application process to end. But, if your child is wait-listed at a school you really like, you’ll need to continue with the process. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Call or email the admissions director immediately. Tell him or her you’re disappointed that your child was wait-listed, but you’re still very hopeful a spot will open up. Remind him/her how much you love the school. Let the admissions director know the school is your top choice and you’ll enroll your child if they offer you a spot. You are ready to write the deposit check!
  • Have your friends or parents you know at the school contact the admissions director and reiterate the same message: you’ll enroll your child if offered a spot.
  • Don’t be alarmed if you don’t hear from the admissions director. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes at the school and they are waiting to know how many parents (if any) will decline their offer and therefore create spaces for wait-listed families.
  • Don’t keep calling or emailing the school! You don’t want to appear panicked or over-involved, even if that’s how you feel.
  • Be very patient. Families are admitted from wait-lists right away and in the summer months.
  • Schools DO offer wait-listed families admissions! We know lots of families at many top schools who were initially wait-listed.
  • If the admissions director tells you to accept a spot elsewhere, take that as a hint that your child probably won’t get in.
  • If you have a “back-up” school, don’t give up that option just because your child is wait-listed at another school. A lot of parents will put a deposit on their 2nd choice school, but continue to keep in contact with their 1st choice school where they were wait-listed.
  • Keep your cool and don’t have an attitude or seem resentful. Being wait-listed is part of the process and it can end up working out for your child.
  • Patience and persistence can pay off…we’ve seen it many times.
  • Good luck!