Resources for Parents
On this page you’ll find a host of great resources and information we’ve pulled together for parents of school age children. Click each link below to go to the section that most interests you or browse this page and you’ll discover some great information on your own.
Entrance Exams for Independent Schools
What was once thought of as a rite of passage to gain admittance to a college or university has now trickled down to students as young as four years old. Children this young have parents who are hoping to enroll their children in an independent school. This post will share information about the entrance exams for independent schools at the varying levels. Schools require that all test results be submitted by January so scheduling them early is a must. Students who qualify for extended time or other accommodations must provide documentation to the testing companies ahead of time. Information about required documents is found on the websites for the exams.
While very important, the entrance exams comprise only one piece of the application. Grades, recommendations, work samples, and interviews are all valuable to admissions teams.
Continue scrolling down to learn more…
While there used to be an entrance exam given to four year olds applying to independent schools, this is no longer the case. All schools do, however, require that applicants visit for a ‘play date’ in a small group setting so the school can observe them and get to know them. A small, select group of schools will administer the SRT, School Readiness Task, while the children visit, but this is a five-minute task checklist that does not require any preparation. Schools that give the SRT require parents to sign permission before a play date will be scheduled.
Most independents schools require the results of either the Early Child Admission Assessment (ECAA) or the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) to be included in a child’s application. The Education Records Bureau administers these tests and information can be found here:
Some schools will also administer their own placement test as an additional tool for identifying children who would be good matches for their programs. Be sure to check each school’s website for information about which test to take.
Children at this level will take the either the lower level or middle level Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE). The scores from the exam will be sent to the receiving school and added to a child’s applicant file.
It is important to note that most schools will not accept a student for 12th grade except in extreme, extenuating circumstances. Students who wish to apply for grades 9-11 may take either the upper level ISEE or the SSAT.
Parents must make sure to check the website for each school for testing requirements and deadlines.
The five boroughs of New York City have many exceptional Catholic high schools. Some of these schools operate as parish schools, some as diocesan, and some as independent. The parish and diocesan schools can be much more affordable than an independent school and tuitions vary from school to school. It is imperative to look at each school’s website to determine which test it requires for admission.
The Test for Admission into Catholic High School (TACHS) is given once year in November. Most Catholic High Schools require the TACHS as part of their application process.
Most of the independent Catholic High Schools require either the SSAT or the ISEE and one, Regis, an all boys’ high school, requires the HSPT.
If you need help understanding which test you will need to apply to a Catholic school and/or you need a recommendation on test prep options, please contact us.
SHSAT Specialized High School Admissions Test
The SHSAT is a standardized test given once every fall for current 8th and 9th graders in NYC. This test is the only requirement needed to get into one of the following 8 New York City Public schools:
• Bronx High School of Science
• Brooklyn Latin School
• Brooklyn Technical High School
• High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College
• High School for American Studies at Lehman College
• Queens High School for Sciences at York College
• Staten Island Technical High School
• Stuyvesant High School
Students in public, parochial, or K-8 independent schools can usually register to take the SHSAT through their middle schools. If your child requires accommodations, they will need to be submitted online and this is usually handled by your child’s middle school. Make sure all paperwork is up to date and follow through with your current school to make sure everything is turned in.
According to the NYC Department of Education website, “the SHSAT assesses knowledge and skills. These skills consist of the ability to comprehend English prose, to demonstrate understanding of revising and editing skills central to writing in English, and to use problem-solving skills in mathematics. The test measures knowledge and skills students have gained over the course of their education. Keeping up with schoolwork throughout the year is the best possible preparation.”
That last sentence, “Keeping up with schoolwork throughout the year is the best possible preparation” is misleading. Most students who take the SHSAT have spent a large number of hours in test prep, either in a class or with a private tutor.
More information about the SHSAT can be found here:
Many families never truly consider an independent school as an option due to the cost of tuition. The truth is that the majority, if not all, schools offer some type of financial aid to students who are qualified but need monetary assistance to make an independent education a reality.
Applying for financial aid is a separate process that must be done when a family is applying for admission to a school. Each school will have information on its website about how to apply for financial aid. Some schools will also offer a discounted admission application fee if you are applying for financial aid. Schools use outside companies to help determine the amount of aid a family might need. Some of these are SSS (School and Student Services) solutionsbysss.com and TADS tads.com
Independent schools are non-profit private schools that are independent in philosophy: each is driven by a unique mission. They are also independent in the way they are managed and financed: each is governed by an independent board of trustees and each is primarily supported through tuition payments and charitable contributions. They are accountable to their communities and are accredited by state-approved accrediting bodies.
A parochial education is offered institutionally by a religious group. In the United States, parochial education refers to the schooling obtained in elementary and secondary schools that are maintained by Roman Catholic parishes, Protestant churches, or Jewish organizations; that are separate from the public school systems, and that provide instruction based on sectarian principles. (https://www.britannica.com/topic/parochial-education)
A school that is maintained at public expense for the education of the children of a community or district and that constitutes a part of a system of free public education commonly including primary and secondary schools.
The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) is a nonprofit membership association that provides services to more than 1,800 schools and associations of schools in the United States and abroad, including more than 1,500 independent private K-12 schools in the U.S. Visit: www.nais.org
The New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) is a voluntary association of 196 independent nursery, elementary, and secondary schools enrolling over 83,000 students. It is affiliated with the National Association of Independent Schools and the New York State Coalition for Independent and Religious Schools. Founded in 1947, the Association is chartered by the New York State Board of Regents and is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Visit: www.nysais.org
The New York City Department of Education is the largest school district in the U.S., serving 1.1 million students in over 1,800 schools. New York City schools serve students in grades Pre-K through 12. (www.schools.nyc.gov)
We believe that getting to know your family is crucial to finding the right school.