Tips for Tackling the Private School Admissions Process


The beginning of the new school year also signals the beginning of the private school admissions process; it may sound crazy, but as any New York parent can attest, finding the right independent school program in the city can be as overwhelming as getting your child into a top college.

Paige Murphy, the Head of Admissions at Léman Manhattan Preparatory School — a Pre-K – 12th grade independent school located in the Financial District — is an expert in the admissions process and has a number of tips to share with parents to help make the journey less overwhelming.  The following are her top 5 tips for parents to keep in mind during admissions season:


Take advantage of resources in the city to learn about private schools and their admissions processes and narrow down the school selection list based on the criteria that are most important to you and your child.  A good place to start is The Parents League of New York, which offers an admissions timeline to keep track of deadlines.


When you visit schools, look– and ask– for specific examples of how the school delivers on its missions and values in the classroom and beyond. A few questions you may want to ask include:

– What kind of physical education and activities does your school offer?

– How do you encourage your teachers to continue their own development and training?

– What are some examples of ways your school fulfills its mission   statement?


A number of schools now offer an early admissions process, so take the time to understand the requirements and timeframes for your preferred schools. You don’t want to miss any key deadlines!


For younger children, the school visit is typically a play date, which you cannot really prepare your child for. You want your child to feel comfortable in the school and to have a positive experience, so we recommend telling kids they are just going to meet some new friends to keep them at ease and encourage them to act naturally and have fun.


It is helpful to think of the school interview as more of a conversation and an opportunity to get to know the school just as much as the admissions team is trying to learn more about your family. By listening carefully to the questions asked in the interview, parents can learn just as much about the school as the school is learning about them.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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Scott Johnson
8 years ago

I remember when my wife and I enrolled our daughter in a private elementary school for a few years, the application process was always a nightmare. I really like that one of your biggest suggestions is to apply early; I don’t think some people realize how important that is. When we were signing our daughter up, we hesitated for too long and ended up on a wait list for months. Fortunately one of the kids dropped out right before school started and our daughter was admitted.