Still Waiting to Exhale



For those who’ve been traveling the long road of independent school admissions have now have arrived at one of three destinations, each having a distinctly different feel to it.

Note: even those just beginning the journey can consider this quick a trip advisor and plan accordingly.

  1. You’re on point, you have arrived at the correct address and you’re thrilled. Congratulations. You might even have a few addresses to choose from, which is a rather good dilemma. Remember to ultimately go with your gut. You will be spending a considerable amount of time, and money, over the next several years experiencing your new school home. Send off a thank you note with that signed contract and deposit :).

  2. Your GPS has taken you on a circuitous route. You wonder if you put in the right address. You question if you should have taken the trip at all. You received a rejection letter feeling dejected and exhausted having to move ahead with plan B. You are to be commended for going through the process and must maintain the same determination to provide your child with a great educational experience. No matter the school, it starts with you as a parent advocate (two resources: PAL Workshops & Let’s Talk Schools). If you are early enough in your educational journey and an independent school still makes sense, get feedback, readjust the route with a new map, go for it, and re-apply!
  3. You have arrived just short of the right address, apparently there’s a traffic jam. You can’t exhale just yet. You too are to be commended. The fact is, you are on the “Wait List” – recognized, but in a state of limbo. Emotionally, a yes or no can be less stressful than a maybe which leads to anxiety and many questions. What does it take to climb that list? How long is the list? How long should we wait? How long can we wait? What do we do if we don’t come off the list? (see #2) Is there really a “Wait List”? (interesting article: Stuck In NYC Private School Wait List Hell)

If you question whether a “Wait-List” really exists, Andrew Hume, Director of Enrollment at Calhoun assures that wait-lists are real and consist of families they’re genuinely interested in. Unfortunately, the list is longer than the number of seats that will actually become available.

For those who remain hopeful about the “Wait List” we sought to gain some insight from Janet Barrett Director of Admissions at RIISE member school, Léman Manhattan Preparatory School. Note, just like the application process, there are no guarantees with “Wait Lists”.
Janet’s thoughts are interpreted below on spaces opening up… 

  • Every year is different. Some years the class sizes are just bursting at the seams and the wait-list is long. If a family bows out, not accepting their seat, you should have a thoughtful letter waiting in admissions that expresses why you desire the seat
  • Anything can happen over the summer too…like, an accepted family has to back out because of a move. Again, having a letter in and checking in over the summer is reasonable. But, if you have already signed a contract with one school you can not consider another
  • If you are wait-listed for your first choice school, but have letter(s) of acceptance from others, you can respectfully express need to learn where you are on wait-list in an effort to meet the deadlines of other offer(s). In the end, families are very happy with the schools that have chosen them!
  • If you don’t come off the wait-list, and your still interested in an independent school, by all means re-apply!

…thanks Andrew & Janet.

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