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theschoolboards
09-06-2011, 07:41 AM
From the N.Y. Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/nyregion/at-elite-new-york-schools-admissions-policies-are-evolving.html) by Jenny Anderson:
Here’s a back-to-school math problem: There are 62 kindergarten seats at the Trinity School this fall, and 756 children wanted them. What percentage made the cut?

The answer seems straightforward: 8.2 percent. But private-school admissions are hardly straightforward.

Of those 62 spots at Trinity, one of New York’s most competitive schools, 33 were taken first by qualified siblings of Trinity students. An additional 11 went to children of alumni, who also get a leg up in the process, and one more belongs to the child of a staff member. That left 17 spaces for families with no ties to Trinity, giving those without connections a 2.4 percent shot at the prize.

Never has getting into Harvard — acceptance rate: 6.2 percent — seemed so easy.

Now, amid soaring demand and a weak economy, Trinity and other elite New York schools are beginning to change longstanding admissions practices as they try to balance often incongruous priorities, including institutional loyalty and a diverse student body.

Trinity, which is on the Upper West Side and took the rare step of sharing its admission figures, has relaxed its application deadline and enlarged its capacity for open houses in recent years. Ethical Culture Fieldston and Riverdale Country no longer do siblings the favor of early notification of admissions, according to those schools. The same is true at Horace Mann, according to preschool directors and one parent at the school (Horace Mann did not respond to repeated calls and e-mails). Some families fear that the insiders’ advantage they were counting on may soon disappear.

“The thing no one wants to talk about is development,” said one head of school, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “You get more money from five families than two families with five children.”

At Trinity, open houses used to be in the lower-school library, where attendance was limited to about 80. Last year, officials used the upper school’s chapel, but still limited capacity to 300, for two events. This year, the director of admissions, Jennifer Levine, said she would let in everyone who showed up.

Trinity used to consider only the first 400 applications it received, because officials had time to conduct only that many interviews.

Now, Ms. Levine and her staff promise to consider all applications until they have selected 400 for interviews (free hint: most likely the end of October).

read more>> (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/nyregion/at-elite-new-york-schools-admissions-policies-are-evolving.html)