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The Do’s and Don’ts of nursery school interviews

Now that the absurdity of getting (or not getting) nursery school applications is behind us, it’s time to fill out the piles of paperwork and prep for the interviews. To that end, we asked two of New York’s top admissions consultants to share their Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to charming your way into the City’s private Pre-K institutions.

As the former Director of Admissions at Claremont Preparatory School and the Associate Director of Admissions at Horace Mann, Dana Haddad, knows a thing or two about the NYC admissions process. Now, as the “Admissions Guru,” Haddad offers  private advisory services to New York families. Here, a few of her insider tips:

1. Label everything you send along with the application (essays, photos, drawings)—attachments can fall out of files.

2. Take advantage of “optional parent statements.” This is your chance to brag and to highlight the things you want a school to know about your child and your family.

3. Don’t send the same essay to every school.

4. Be flexible
when scheduling the interviews, and do your best to keep the appointments.
5. Keep your sick child home. Reschedule a playgroup/interview if he or she is sick.

6. Remember there is no “best” school. Look for the school that is the best fit for your child and family.
As for the interviews themselves, Smart City Kids Director Roxana Reid, suggests keeping these things in mind:
1. Be nice. Your main job is to make the Admissions/Nursery School Director like you.

2. Make it clear that you are proud to be your child’s parent. But don’t imply that your child is a genius. And certainly don’t force him to perform his ABC’s.

3. Keep your questions non-confrontational
, and refrain from following up with your own opinions.

4. Show that your focus is on the program. Don’t get caught up asking questions about admissions or ex-missions.

5. Curb your honesty
. When asked about a weakness, remember this is like a job interview: any weakness you give should be immediately spun to a positive.

6. No matter what, don’t ask, “Why should we choose your school?” Keep in mind that during the admissions season you aren’t choosing the schools, they are choosing you.