2021 New York Independent Schools Back-to-School Guide

Independent Schools are private schools each having an ‘independent’ philosophy and unique mission that are managed by a board of governors or trustees. They can be co-ed or single-sex, day schools or boarding schools, religious or not religiously affiliated.

Each school has it’s own COVID-19 safety and vaccination policy so be sure to check what your specific schools policy is.

Many New York independent schools are members of The Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY), a not-for-profit organization whose members agree to adhere to it’s admissions practices and procedures.

Not all independent schools are ISAAGNY members so be sure to check each school’s affiliation when applying. Applying to an independent school is a multi-step process that involves completing written or online applications, screening tests, school tours, parent and/or child meetings/interviews and financial documentation (if requesting financial assistance). For safety reasons, most schools have instituted a virtual application process during the pandemic.

Refer to the ISAAGNY website for their Principles of Good Practice that all member schools abide by and notification and reply dates of applications for 2022/2023 school year.

Let’s Talk School is hosting our 11th Annual Virtual Independent School Kindergarten Admissions Panel and School Fair on Monday & Tuesday, August 30-31. You’ll be able to meet and engage directly with school admission directors who’ll provide information about their schools and this fall’s application process.

To learn about boarding schools, consult The Association of Boarding Schools.

2021 Private School Kindergarten Admissions Panel and School Fair

After a tumultuous 2020 school year, we are looking forward to our kids going back to in-person school this fall. However, the COVID-19 delta variant is making that prospect more uncertain. Families are worried about the safety of their children in school buildings, about their students' mental health and what changes are being made to procedures at schools that will keep children learning throughout the year.

For over a decade, at the end of summer, we have gathered a diverse group of independent schools to talk about their plans and admissions process for the coming year. This enables families to get a head start on their applications. Kindergarten is the largest entry point for private schools and one of only two times students can gain admission to Hunter. 

This year, we’ll be hosting a virtual version of our kindergarten admissions panel and school fair on Monday & Tuesday, August 30-31. The schools below will be participating, with new schools signing up each day. The fair is free for families to attend. Register today!

NYC Public And Private Schools In “Hotspot” Zip Codes Will Stop all In-Person Learning on Tuesday, Oct. 6

© Can Stock Photo / Yakobchuk

NY Governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced today that school in zip codes with recent spikes of COVID-19 infections will transition from in-person or hybrid learning to 100% remote learning on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, for an undetermined amount of time.

The affected neighborhoods and zip codes are Borough Park (11219), Gravesend (11223), Midwood (11230), Bensonhurst (11204), Flatlands (11210), Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay (11229) in Brooklyn; and Far Rockaway (11691), Kew Gardens (11415), Kew Gardens Hills (11367) in Queens.

NYC Mayor DeBlasio's school reopening plan calls for at least a two-week shutdown with schools reopening after a community has less than a 3% positivity rate for 7 straight days, but Governor Cuomo stated that the criteria for reopening these school have not been determined yet.

Our 2020 Independent School Fair is Virtual

Let’s Talk Schools is celebrating ten years of presenting a NYC independent private school fair and panel discussion on the admissions process – a unique opportunity to meet admission decision-makers from top New York schools.

Every one of us is experiencing the stress of the coronavirus pandemic and, with schools set to reopen across the USA, we are about to enter a new phase of uncertainty of how this will affect the spread of the virus. For families considering independent schools that set their own missions and curriculum, kindergarten is the largest entry point and one of only two times that kids can enter the Hunter School, the other being 7th grade.

Applying to independent schools is complicated by lots of choices and a multi-step process completed a year in advance of when your child will attend. This year, the process of applying for the 2021/2022 school year will be all virtual.

We’re here to help!

Our program is going virtual too and it’s free of charge for families to attend.

Join us to learn about:

  • Kindergarten, middle and high school applications for 2021/2022 and possible openings for September 2020;
  • What to look for on virtual tours and what to expect;
  • Accessing financial aid;
  • How admission decisions are made – some schools have created their own individual process while others are using a new online standardized test for kindergarten;
  • A workshop on admission tests! - Join this dynamic workshop to learn about the admission tests used for middle and high schools (SHSAT, SSAT, ISEE). Test prep expert, Akil Bello, will discuss what’s on the test and how to maximize your performance.

And as always, we’re offering “words of wisdom” from the decision makers. Our panel of admission professionals will discuss navigating the process, including when to start, what to look for and what to expect.

This is a virtual event but capacity is limited so please register early. Individual school fair presentations are August 24-25 from 10am-6pm each day.  The admission panel is August 24, 6:30pm and testing workshop is Tuesday, August 25 @ 6:00pm. Please register in advance for the sessions you’d like to attend and your unique access codes will be sent prior to the event.

2020 Camp Fairs

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Serrnovik

***3/12/2020 Update*** Due to concerns of the Covid-19 pandemic in New York City, we have canceled the Upper West Side Fair on March 15. Register now for our Harlem Fair to be held April 26, 2020.
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This year marks the 6th anniversary of our Summer Opportunities, Activities & Resources (SOAR) fairs, featuring summer camps and programs for families with kids in pre-k through 12th grade.

Sure, you can look for summer programs online. Still, nothing beats a face-to-face conversation directly with camp directors who want nothing more than to answer your questions and provide information. SOAR fairs bring together multiple programs and parents all under one roof in a fun, easily accessible environment. We’re your one-stop-shop for summer fun.

Register now to attend our 2020 Upper West Side Fair or 2020 Harlem fair. If you're a vendor interested in participating, 2020 Camp registration

Participating camps:
92Y Camps
ACT at the Cathedral of St. John Divine
Bank Street Summer Camp
Berkshire Hills Eisenberg Camp / Berkshire Hills Culinary Camp
Brooklyn Game Lab
Camp Max - Family Camp
Columbia University Little Lions Camp
Deer Mountain Day Camp
Harlem YMCA
JCC Camp Settoga
Kids in the Game Summer Camp
Ma-He-Tu
Maker State Summer STEM
Play On! Studios
Pocono Springs Camp
Riverside Park Conservancy Multi Sport Camp
Robofun
Summer Rock Camp at New York City Guitar School
Super Soccer Stars
TADA! Youth Theater
The Nature Place Day Camp
Writopia Lab

9th Annual Independent School Fair and Admissions Panel Discussion

A unique opportunity to meet directors from top New York schools. Reserve your spot now!

Summer is drawing to a close so it's time to think about school admissions for the 2020 school year. In New York City, school choice programs provide alternatives to parents who want to opt out of sending their children to the local  schools to which they are assigned. The day after Labor day is the traditional start to admission season, that time of year when parents exercise their school choice rights in a chaotic ritual of applications, school tours, open houses and interviews.

For families considering independent schools (those that independently set their own missions and curriculum), kindergarten is the largest entry point and one of only two times that kids can enter Hunter College Elementary School, the other being 7th grade.  If you have a four year old (born in 2015), this fall is the time to apply for kindergarten. For those entering 6th grade in the fall, this is the ONLY year you'll be eligible to take the test for entrance to Hunter High School.

The independent school application process is complicated. Before getting started with an application to any individual school there are many factors to consider - school type (co-ed, single sex), location, size, educational philosophy, community, faculty, facilities - to name a few. There is also the multi-step application process which involves tours, financial forms (if requesting tuition assistance), testing and meetings for both parents and children.

Summer is a great time to review and research school websites to determine what may be a good fit for your family. The Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY) is a terrific resource for learning about independent schools and their application process. On Monday, August 19, 2019 from 6-8:30 pm we'll be hosting our 9th Annual Independent School Fair and Admissions Panel. This is a unique opportunity to meet admission decision makers from Hunter and many private schools and to receive tools to help you conquer the application process.

Participating Schools:
Archdiocese of NY Catholic Schools Representing St. Ann School, St. Paul School, Corpus Christi School, Our Lady of Lourdes School, Ascension School
Blue School
Collegiate School
Garden School
Horace Mann School
Hunter College Campus Schools
International Academy of New York
Pine Street School
Riverdale Country School
Saint David's School
Speyer School
St. Bernard's School
St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's
The Allen-Stevenson School
The Brearley School
The Buckley School
The Calhoun School
The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine
The Chapin School
The Elisabeth Morrow School
The Nightingale-Bamford School
The Town School

2019 Summer Fairs

This year marks the 5thanniversary of our Summer Opportunities, Activities & Resources (SOAR) fairs, featuring summer camps and programs for families with kids in pre-k through 12th grade.

Sure, you can look for summer programs online, but nothing beats a face-to-face conversation directly with camp directors who want nothing more than to answer your questions and provide information about their programs. SOAR fairs bring together multiple programs and parents all under one roof in fun, easily accessible environment. We’re your one-stop-shop for summer fun.

 Register now to attend our Upper West Side or Harlem fair. If you're a vendor interested in participating, register here 

Attending camps include:
92Y Camps
ACT Programs at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Bank Street Summer Camp
Breezemont Day Camp
Brooklyn Game Lab
Camp Twelve Trails
The Cathedral School Summer STEAM Camp
Cooper Hewitt Design Camp
Columbia Little Lions
Day Camp in the Park
Deer Mountain Day Camp
The Fresh Air Fund
Gate Hill Day Camp
Harlem YMCA Summer Day Camp
HYPOTHEkids Summer STEAM
Camp Settoga + JCC Manhattan Day Camps
MakerState Summer Camp
Parkour Adventure Camp
Play On! Studios
Pocono Springs Camp
Riverside Park Conservancy Multi-Sport Summer Camp
Robofun
The Nature Place
Writopia Lab

Not all camps will be at every fair.

 

The 2019 Admissions Season Begins

A unique opportunity to meet directors from top New York schools. Reserve your spot now!

Summer is drawing to a close so it's time to think about school admissions for the 2019 school year. In New York City, school choice programs provide alternatives to parents who want to opt out of sending their children to the local  schools to which they are assigned. The day after Labor day is the traditional start to admission season, that time of year when parents exercise their school choice rights in a chaotic ritual of applications, school tours, open houses and interviews.

For families considering independent schools (those that independently set their own missions and curriculum), kindergarten is the largest entry point and one of only two times that kids can enter Hunter College Elementary School, the other being 7th grade.  If you have a four year old (born in 2014), this fall is the time to apply for kindergarten. For those entering 6th grade in the fall, this is the ONLY year you'll be eligible to take the test for entrance to Hunter High School.

The independent school application process is complicated. Before getting started with an application to any individual school there are many factors to consider - school type (co-ed, single sex), location, size, educational philosophy, community, faculty, facilities - to name a few. There is also the multi-step application process which involves tours, financial forms (if requesting tuition assistance), testing and meetings for both parents and children.

Summer is a great time to review and research school websites to determine what may be a good fit for your family. The Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY) is a terrific resource for learning about independent schools and their application process. On Tuesday, August 21, 2018 from 6-8:30 pm we'll be hosting our 8th Annual Independent School Admissions Panel and School Fair. This is a unique opportunity to meet admission decision makers from Hunter and many private schools and to receive tools to help you conquer the application process.

Participating Schools:
Bank Street School for Children
Collegiate School
Harlem Academy
Hunter College Campus Schools
International Academy of New York
Riverdale Country School
Convent of the Sacred Heart
Speyer School
St. Bernard's School
St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's
The Allen-Stevenson School
The Brearley School
The Buckley School
The Calhoun School
The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine
The Dalton School
The Hewitt School
The Nightingale-Bamford School
The Town School
The Workshop School

Getting started with 2018 Hunter & independent schools admissions

As the end of summer 2017 draws near it's time to think about school admission for the 2018 school year. In New York City, school choice programs provide alternatives to parents who do not wish to send their children to the local public schools to which they are assigned. The day after Labor day is the traditional start to admission season, the time of year when parents exercise their school choice rights in a chaotic ritual of applications, school tours, open houses and interviews.

For families considering independent schools (those that independently set their own missions and curriculum), kindergarten is the largest entry point and one of only two times that kids can enter Hunter College Elementary School. If you have a four year old (born in 2013) this fall is the time to apply for kindergarten.

The independent school application process is no walk in the park. Before even getting started with an application to any individual school there are many factors to consider - school type (co-ed, single sex), location, size, educational philosophy, community, faculty, facilities - to name a few. Then there's the multi-step application process which involves tours, financial forms (if requesting tuition assistance), testing and meetings for both parents and children.

Summer is a great time to review and research school websites to determine ones that might be a good fit for your family. The Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY) is a terrific resource for learning about independent schools and their application process. On Tuesday, August 29, 2017 from 6-8:30 pm we'll be hosting our 7th Annual Independent School Admission Panel and School Fair. This is a unique opportunity to meet admission decision makers from many schools and receive tools to help you conquer the application process.

Participating Schools include:
Bank Street School for Children
Basis Independent School
The Brearley School
The Browning School
The Buckley School
The Calhoun School
The Cathedral School
The Chapin School
Collegiate School
Convent of the Sacred Heart
Corlears School
The Hewitt School
Hunter College Elementary School
Marymount School
Metropolitan Montessori School
Riverdale Country School
Spence Schooll
St. Bernard's School
St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's
The Elisabeth Morrow School
The Nightingale-Bamford School
The Town School
Trevor Day School
Trinity School

Gearing up for the new school year? August is the new September.

We’re still in the dog days of summer and summer vacation is in full swing – kids are in camp, summer hours are in effect at the office and it’s hot -- real hot. If school starts after Labor Day there is still one month left of summer for the kids. So why am I seeing first day of school photos all over my social media accounts already? It seems like school starts in August ,or even July, in many parts of the country. Here in the northeast public school starts September 8th but most charter schools kids have either started school this week or will be headed back in the next week or so.

It's back to school time for some but not for others. When it comes to independent schools most, if not all, begin after Labor Day, the official end of summer fun. For the thousands of kids in pre-k this year who’s parents are considering private school for kindergarten the time to consider applications is now.

Applying to one of these schools is a multi-step process that involves completing written or online applications, screening tests, school tours, separate parent and child in-person interviews and financial documentation (if requesting financial assistance).

Consider these facts:

  1. Most people apply to 8-10 schools
  1. Between parent tours, parent interviews and child playdates, there will be 24-30 visits to schools during a roughly three-month period
  1. Including a modest 30 minute travel time, working parents will miss 56-65 hours of work during this time (not including time to complete applications and other required paperwork)

Our annual kindergarten admissions panel & school fair is a one-stop shop where you can meet admission directors and gather all of the information you need for a successful application. Some schools stop accepting applications early once they’ve reached a maximum number so getting an early start puts you ahead of the masses. The event takes place Monday, August 29, 2016, 6pm at Ephesus Church, 101 W 123rd Street. You don't want to miss this!

List of school fair participants:

Allen-Stevenson School

Bank Street

Brearley School

Browning School

Buckley School

Calhoun School

Collegiate School

Convent of the Sacred Heart

Dalton School

Elizabeth Morrow

Harlem Academy

Hewitt School

Hunter College Elementary

Manhattan Country School

Pono

Spence School

St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's

Town School