When February rolls around, it’s finally time: you’ll hear back from the schools you applied to and have to make a choice about the best fit for your family. Many parents see application deadlines as the finish line and assume that the decision-making process is the easy part, but be prepared: making your final choice is often the most difficult part of the admissions journey! \
To help get you ready for this final stage of the admissions cycle, we’ve put together some basic guidance on what to expect when you hear back from independent (private) schools, and how to move forward based on the results you receive.
You’ll hear back at some point in February, depending on the school’s specific admissions timeline. All schools that are members of ISAAGNY operate on a standardized timeline that can be found on the ISAAGNY website here.
In general, kindergarten students hear back first in early February. Then, elementary, middle and high school students hear back over the course of the following weeks. And, finally, nursery/pre-K hear back last at the end of February.
Virtually every school will send you an email letting you know that admissions decisions are now available. Some schools may tell you your decision right within this email; other schools may direct you to log in to your application portal (Ravenna, or a school-specific portal) to look up your decision. \
Independent schools offer three options for an admissions decision:
Learning that you were waitlisted by one of your favorite schools can feel like a defeat, but don’t despair too much: you still have a chance of gaining admission. A waitlist offer means that the admissions team would love to have your child in their school community, but there just wasn’t quite enough room at this point in time.
Most movement on the waitlist will happen in the weeks immediately following the initial decision notification, because some families will give up their spots when they decide to go with other schools. Because this process moves quickly, you need to move through the following steps just as quickly:
We have fuller blog posts like this one that expand on the various factors to consider when choosing the perfect school for your family. In short, take the time to review all of the interactions you’ve had with all of the schools and carefully weigh everything you’ve learned. Though it sounds simple, it can often be really helpful to make a simple pro/con list!
You can also use re-visit opportunities to further assess a school’s fit. The opportunity to sign up for re-visit days is typically offered alongside your acceptance offer or shortly thereafter, so it won’t be long before you get another chance to tour the school, ask more questions, and really visualize whether your child would fit there.
The final decision-making process can feel very overwhelming. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember that it’s a privilege: you usually only have a hard decision to make if you have a number of excellent schools to choose between, which is a very good problem to have. While this decision will undoubtedly have a major influence on your child’s life in the short term, remember that kids are resilient, and their long-term success and happiness almost definitely do not rest upon this single decision alone. They will be just fine - you and your family will be just fine - and soon you can enjoy the bliss of being wrapped up with the admissions process!
If you need additional support when choosing a school, consider Admit NY’s Admissions Decision Package. We offer a short-term consultative option that is proven to be effective in getting you from offers to matriculation with less stress and more confidence. Learn more here.