Admissions Now! Quick Tips – Post #3

This Monday’s Admissions Now! Quick Tips comes from Linda Shuffman, Director of Admissions & Enrollment Management at The Town School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. We asked Linda four questions many families may not dare ask an admissions representative.

We hope you find the tips helpful. Please share!


1) What part of the application process do you value the most?

The application process is multifaceted for a reason. I don’t think that one part of the process is valued over another as each is one is important. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle: you can’t complete it until you have all of the pieces. We meet the parents to get to know them and find out what they are looking for in a school. When we meet the children we are looking for applicants who will be successful in our program. The school reports give us insight into the student from a teacher perspective. All of these components give the admissions committee a lot of information so that we can get to know each applicant and family.


2) What is the biggest pitfall you see for parents or students (older) in the admission process?

Instead of a pitfall, I think older children have the benefit of being active participants in the search for their next school. They have an academic record and they know what interests them both inside and outside of school. Young children’s parents select a school  whereas older applicants can be an active part of the process and they will know when the vibe feels right as they visit schools themselves.


3) The competition is tough, how can parents & students best stand out?

BE YOURSELF! We love meeting parents who are comfortable with themselves and are going through this process to find the right school for their child AND their family. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as looking for a school means that you are looking for a place that you and your child will be comfortable as a family. Sometimes I meet parents who have specific questions about diversity and I introduce them to our Diversity Director as he is able to directly address how our school views diversity. Sometimes a prospective parent may ask to connect with current parent. We can make that happen as well. Our goal is engage with each family in an open conversation about their hopes and dreams for their child and how our school may fit what they are looking for.


4)  What is the best way for a preK/K, Middle School, or Upper School applicant to prepare for admissions testing? 

At our school (pre-k-8), we are not using the ERB or any standardized test for Nursery , Kindergarten, or 1st grade  applicants. We have always stated that children should not be prepped for admissions tests. Ultimately you want your child to be successful in a school and so we want to see who your child really is. There are over 80 independent schools in NYC so parents should look for schools that are the right fit for their children. Testing, for the schools that use it, is just one component of the process.


Linda B. Shuffman

Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management

The Town School


*Disclaimer: Admissions Now! Quick Tips and it’s content offered by admissions, parents, and consultants are designed to guide the admissions journey and in no way guarantees admission/enrollment. 

Related Posts:

Admissions Now! Quick Post – #2

Admissions Now! Quick Post – #1

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