View Full Version : All NYC Dalton School's Admissions Director, Babby, Inspires Endless Opinion

12-19-2011, 09:35 AM
From N.Y. Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/19/education/dalton-schools-admissions-director-babby-inspires-endless-opinion.html) by Jenny Anderson:

Ms. Krents, called Babby by intimates and hopeful applicants alike, is a singularly powerful New Yorker whose name inspires endless opinion — some informed, much unsubstantiated.

As admissions director since 1996 at the Dalton School on the Upper East Side, Ms. Krents decides each year which of the city’s supply of high-achieving 4-year-olds get the privilege of attending one of the nation’s best-regarded kindergartens, which costs $36,970 a year. Because many people believe admission to be a golden ticket leading to the Ivy League and a successful life beyond, and because of the increasingly bad math of private-school admissions in Manhattan, a kind of Babby Krents mythology has developed in certain precincts.

Admissions directors are a feared lot in a city where 10 children often apply for a single seat. Ms. Krents is, to some extent, the queen bee, if only because she has been doing it longer than most and is doing it at Dalton. The school is among the most selective in the city, in part because many parents believe it has perfected the balance between progressive education (learning matters) and results (graduates get into top colleges).

Conventional wisdom has it that not scoring a face-to-face meeting with Ms. Krents is tantamount to rejection. (Not true, she said in a recent interview; it is merely a matter of scheduling.)

Some posit that calling her “Elisabeth” in the parent or child interview will alienate her. (Nonsense, she said, though only her mother, now deceased, called her that.) Summer birthdays need not apply. (“No!” she said excitedly. “The school is filled with summer birthdays!”) Being rich helps. (“We look at the full pie, and that’s not part of the decision.”)

Ms. Krents turns out to be warm and easy to talk to; “she was perfectly lovely” is how the aforementioned fearful mother put it. She loves meeting people and hearing their stories, and she does not seem burned out from the drone of similar questions, anxieties and attempted bribes. (Recalling a vat of fudge offered by one parent, she said, “I had to turn that away with tears in my eyes.”)

For her part, Ms. Krents said of applicants, “I feel it’s my role to hold their hand.” Her goal in interviewing parents, as she asks them to describe their precious little ones, is to see them settle back in their seats and relax their hunched shoulders. “That’s what I’m about,” she said. “I want to know as much as I can about their child.”

Perhaps it is her affability that feeds the “Babby” divide. Those who meet her like her. But most of their children will inevitably be rejected, so the warmth is often clouded, if not replaced, by feelings of resentment — hence the not-nice things that proliferate on the Web and in certain kaffeeklatsches.

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