The Scramble for Places in Primary Schools

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The Scramble for Places in Primary Schools
It is almost as tough getting your child into a good Manhattan or Bay area primary school as it is getting them into an Ivy League university.

If you live in New York or San Francisco, you probably know how difficult it is to get your toddler into a good primary school. You almost have to register for a place before she is born. The problem is that places in most major metropolitan area primary schools are extremely limited. Consequently parents will do almost anything to get their children into a desirable school. How do you position your child so that she stands the best chance of getting in?

1. Make sure your child attends a good preschool.

It helps to have your child attend a well-regarded preschool.The network of Pre-K school directors and primary school directors is active in any city. These professionals know each other. They also know each other's work and the standards achieved at each school. So, if a primary school director calls your pre-school director and asks about your child, your director's comments will count for a whole lot.

2. Be involved.

If you are involved in school activities and support the school in a positive manner,it won't hurt your child's chances. Schools look at parents as much as they look at your child. If you offer to chaperone a field trip, help throw a party for your child's class or raise money to buy new playground equipment, you will ingratiate yourself with the school. actions always speak louder than words.

3. Don't get a reputation as a difficult parent.

If you have developed a reputation as a contankerous or, even worse, a difficult parent, that information could kill your child's chances for admission to a good school. No school wants another difficult parent lurking about.

4. Don't try to bribe your way in.

You may have the financial resources of the Sultan of Brunei, but that means nothing to most primary school directors. The Grubman affair tainted those waters for most Manhattan admissions directors. What matters are the usual things: your child's readiness for the school's work and how the school sees you supporting both your child's school work and the school's objectives.

5. Play your choices carefully.

Telling the admissions director at one school that you really prefer that other school is perhaps not the best thing to do. All you are going to do by confiding such information is to get your child removed from the school's list of places offered.

The only sure way to put your child at the head of the list is to have other siblings at the school. Schools generally look kindly - all else being equal - at brothers and sisters as well as legacies. If you attended the school, your child would be considered a legacy. 

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