In New York City, families have many options for educating their children in both the public and private school sectors. Either choice offers students the chance for a wonderful academic experience. The challenge for many families is in navigating their options to find a good match for your child and family. For Nursery School or Kindergarten, your school list would be based on your own educational preferences along with what you know of the learning style of your child. For Middle or High School, your child has an academic record, along with preferences, and should be an active participant in the research and decision process. Families should take the time to explore all of their options in making a considered decision, keeping in mind that the “right” school is the one that is best for your student and your family.


While the Middle School entry point for public and private high schools is generally 6th grade, a few schools will consider 5th grade as an application year (and some won’t have a Middle School application point at all, focusing the admissions process on High School). In any case, you would be submitting applications in the Fall a year before your child will begin Middle School. Begin your research well in advance, compiling a list of schools based on your family’s priorities, which might include location, size of school, educational philosophy, curriculum and facilities. Typically, we recommend anywhere from 6 to 10 schools. Contact the schools you are interested in to see if they will be conducting Spring Tours. Attend Information Nights on Independent Schools that may be offered by your current school or offsite organizations. Meet with your guidance counselor, exmissions director or an educational consultant regarding the admissions process and your preliminary list. Begin preparing for testing, which might include the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) and/or the Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT) for private schools, and/or internal assessments for selective public schools.




If you schedule a one-on-one session with a Smart City Kids Advisor, one of the first things we'll help you do is narrow your focus. Before we meet, we'll send you a questionnaire to complete that will help you think through and decide on qualities in a school that matter most to you. During our meeting, we will spend time with you in advance of meeting your child and talk further about your goals. A detailed discussion of your child and your priorities will help us assess schools that would be a good match. The first step towards improving your child's chance to be accepted at the schools you want is to apply to schools where the fit is right. Schools will be assessing fit as carefully as you will be, so if you get that right, you are already one step ahead.

We'll talk with you about why we think the fit is right, what the environment and culture are like at these schools, and how competitive each school is. If, after you visit the recommended schools, you feel the need for more choices, we can suggest other options. But our goal is to point you to the right options immediately so you don't waste time or feel overwhelmed with possibilities.

If you decide to work through the full admissions process with Smart City Kids, we will meet your child, provide our assessment of your child’s academic skills and presentation, recommend tutoring resources as appropriate, revisit your school list in context, work with both parent and student on essays and interviews, and strategize as you prioritize your list and make choices from the offers you receive.

For more information, call Smart City Kids at (212) 249-4066 or e-mail us at info@smartcitykids.com