- Wendy Levy is an educational consultant in Manhattan.
- While admission to a private school in New York is always competitive, it becomes more difficult as the child gets older.
- Her picks for the city’s most prestigious include The Hewitt and Allen-Stevenson School.
Parents in New York City face an extremely challenging and competitive private school admissions process that begins in preschool. And the stakes get higher as kids get older, Wendy Levy, an education consultant in Manhattan, told Insider.
Getting your child into what Levy called some of the “toughest and strongest” middle schools and high schools in New York depends on many factors, some of which are beyond a parent’s control, such as the dropout rate when the school decides to close. extended grade and what the school’s priorities are at the time the student applies.
“It could be an athlete, it could be diversity, it could be a kid with strong theater interests, it could be a kid who is already interested and excelling in robotics,” Levy said. She added that some private co-educational schools may seek to equalize the ratio of boys to girls or take applicants’ postcodes into account to build diversity.
Regardless of your child’s talents and interests, Levy said it’s important to have a solid transcript. “Is there anything on your child’s transcript that is a red flag — like always being late to class or missing a lot of tests?” Leavy said. “It will affect your child’s chances of getting into the best schools.”
Teacher evaluations are another important component of New York private school admissions. Most schools Levy has worked with have a staff member from the math department and the language arts department meet with the applicant.
“How a kid interviews is important,” Levy said. “Do they connect with the interviewer? Have they practiced answering questions like “What is your favorite book?” “What has been a challenge for you in school or outside?” “What can you tell me about yourself that I wouldn’t see on your transcript?” Do they look the interviewer in the eye?” And, she added, a post-interview thank-you note — from both the parents and the child — is highly recommended.
Above all, Levy said, New York City schools want families who are aligned with their mission.
“Check the school’s website and Instagram so you know what’s going on at the school and you can talk about that too,” she said. “Don’t rely too much on what one set of parents tells you because it may be specific to their child or their involvement in school. Get a lot of perspective.”
Below is Levey’s ranking of the 10 most prestigious private middle and high schools for girls, boys and co-educational schools in New York City. In making this list, Leavy considered a number of factors, including academic rigor, the curriculum offered, whether the school prepares its students for college and the workplace, whether the school truly reflects its stated mission, and college acceptance rates. She especially took note of the school’s values of social justice, kindness and joy. Levy told Insider that he visits almost all the schools every year to stay up-to-date.
“I looked at many aspects of schools, not just college placement or a roster number,” Leavy said. “I listened to what the parents I work with had to say, as well as friends and personal observations. It’s never about brand, it’s always about fit, choice and preparation for the next part of the journey.”
She added that it is important for parents to find the right fit for their child socially, educationally and in terms of their own values. “When they do that, their child soars and their opportunities are diverse, purposeful and abundant,” Levy said.