I’m super-excited to contribute an article about L.A. private elementary school admissions to the March 2014 issue of L.A. Parent Magazine.
“Compelling Schools, Competitive Admissions” in this month’s issue, is an overview piece that covers the essentials of private elementary school admissions in Los Angeles. But, even if you already have a solid grasp on admissions basics, you might want to check it out to see if there’s new information! –Christina
Click onLA Parent to read the article and click to Page 14.
Former Miami Dolphins football player, Jonathan Martin, who is African American, blames his John Thomas Dye and Harvard-Westlake education for the problems he encountered in the NFL. “I suppose it’s white private school conditioning, turning the other cheek,” he wrote to his father. John Thomas Dye declined to respond to the article. Harvard-Westlake did respond. This is a fascinating article, yet I don’t think private schools are to blame, but rather the toxic culture within the NFL. (NYT Motherlode)
News flash! “Moms who brag about being lazy and sloppy can be just as judge as too-perfect ones.” Slacker moms, who don’t worry about nap schedules, sugar or too much screen time, are creating a culture of reverse bullying, says writer Elissa Strauss. It’s unfortunate that adherents of any single parenting style feel compelled to judge other moms. In this case, the slacker moms may not even realize what they’re doing. (Salon.com)
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I’ve written about my daughter’s kindergarten visiting day at Oakwood School previously. Here’s my recollection about that morning again. Did I make the right school choice? I’ll never know, but I’m looking forward now that our family is THRILLED to be at Viewpoint School. We truly fit in there in a way we never did at The Willows. But, if we hadn’t gone to The Willows, would we be at Viewpoint now?
It was early and I was nervous. With my daughter in the car, we drove to the 8 a.m. “visiting day,” one of the requirements of the private school kindergarten admissions process. The school was more than 30 minutes from our house, traffic was bad and I mistakenly went to the high school rather than the elementary school. Frazzled and arriving with a minute to spare, I arrived at the correct location, a progressive school on a rustic campus.
After a brief time in the school library with our kids, parents were asked to go into a conference room for a meet and greet with the head of school. At the same time, our kids were taken into classrooms with teachers for various for visiting day.
This was the aspect of the admissions process that filled me with anxiety, since a lot depends on how your 4-5 year-old is feeling the day of the visit and how he/she acts when you arrive at the school. As soon as we got there, my usually shy daughter turned on her biggest, most charming personality (one I had only seen at home). Feeling very comfortable in the library, she pulled some books off the shelf and began reading in a loud voice. The admissions director turned to look at her, clearly impressed. Now that she had an audience (the best possible audience, I might add), my daughter continued reading other parents and kids turned to watch.
Relieved, I went with other parents into the conference room for what turned out to be a chance to ask questions of the head of school. This, you should note, is a time to ask smart, well-formulated questions that demonstrate your knowledge of the school. It’s also a good time to find something nice to say about the place you want to accept your kid. The room was filled with parents who already had older kids at the school, so they were confident about the process and even joked about their chances of getting in. The competition for spots at this popular school was no joke.
After about an hour, my daughter emerged from the classroom bursting with enthusiasm. We thanked the staff and left.
I didn’t have to ask my kid if it has gone well. I knew. She’d nailed it. The look on her face told me everything. In March, we received our acceptance letter from the school.
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*Updated January 28, 2021. Since Covid-19 has moved admissions online, it is perfectly acceptable to send an email thank you note since many school staff are working remotely.
Here’s a post I wrote for Elizabeth Street. Unfortunately, the site closed down, but here’s the text–Christina
When you’re applying to private elementary schools, you want to make sure to hit all the right notes during what can be a stressful process. Busy parents often overlook thank you notes, but they are an important part of the admissions process.
A written thank you to the admissions director is one more way to help your child’s application stand out. I’ve had several admissions directors at top-tier schools tell me they consider thank you notes an essential part of the admissions process. Many admissions directors like to receive thank you notes after every step in the admissions process. For example, after your tour of the school, send the admissions director a thank you card. Or, send off a quick email. It’s the thought that counts, but I always like a handwritten thank you note. Also, if your child is applying to secondary school, they can also send thank you notes.
When writing thank you notes, be specific with your words. Tell the admissions director what impressed you on the tour or during a parent interview and why you think the school would be great for your child. Perhaps you observed a fabulous kindergarten teacher who you know would inspire your child. Did the stunning campus make you long to be a child again? Mention it! Private schools appreciate when families notice their outstanding programs and facilities.
Another nice gesture is to use the time when you’re waiting for admissions letters to arrive to send the admissions director a short note reiterating how appreciative you are of the school’s warm welcome during the process. Add a few lines about what you think makes this specific school so remarkable and why it would be a great fit for your family.
Personalized stationary is always a good option. Of course, you can mix it up too, by sending an email or e-card to the admissions director. Those also work nicely.
When the admissions director opens your kid’s admissions file, those thank you cards, notes and emails will stand out. They are a positive reflection of your family. Importantly, they are also a courteous, genuine reminder to the school about why you are hopeful your child will be admitted.