by Emily Glickman

These days, it ain’t easy getting into kindergarten. At New York’s most elite private schools, a child’s chances of being accepted can be as low as 10%. The New York Observer recently estimated that 60-150 kids from private nursery schools didn’t land a kindergarten spot at all.

Scary, right? To calm you down, remember: many parents, unlike you, didn’t do their homework. And with all this pent-up demand, the schools are bound to expand their kindergarten places. (In fact, several new schools have recently opened.) Meanwhile:

  1. Be realistic. The name-brand schools only have so many spots. Your child, no matter what his gifts or your connections, may not get into any one particular school. Research more schools by starting with Abacus Guide Privatge Schools Directory. (See link to Abacus below.) Don’t buy into the designer-label theory of primary education; if your child is destined to go to Harvard, he’ll get there. The point now is to find a place where he’ll be happy and enjoy learning.
  2. Consider applying earlier. Even if your child’s a toddler, it’s not too early to research schools. Many desirable schools begin in nursery. Sometimes, it’s easier to get in at this level. Since every nursery child is admitted to the school’s kindergarten, she’ll be set.
  3. Consider applying later. The city has many good public elementary schools. Your child can go to public school for a few years, and then transfer to private. Some schools expand at the middle school and high school levels. Ask admissions directors, and also keep in touch about openings that arise through pupil attrition.
  4. Do your homework. Every admissions director likes to see a well-prepared parent. For your child’s sake and for the interview, make sure you know about the school and why you believe your child will thrive there.

Emily Glickman is the founder and president of Abacus Guide Educational Consulting, experts in admission and achievement at New York City and greater New York area schools. She has worked with private and corporate clients since 1999. Emily has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, and other publications. For more information about how she can help your family with private school admission, you can call her office at 212-712-2228 or go to her website, .