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The Admissions Process

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

You’ve selected your favorite schools, and now it’s time to apply! This process varies quite a bit based on school type (public, charter, private); but regardless, the most helpful thing you can do for yourself is to stay organized so you can best prepare for each step, and avoid getting unnecessarily overwhelmed. (Trust us, it’s easier said than done!)

Who should apply, and when?

For private school, your student(s) most often need to be 5 years old on September 1st to start kindergarten that year. If this applies to you, the private school process will start 12-18 months before they even step foot inside the door of their new school.

For NYC public and charter school, your student(s) will turn 5 at any point in the calendar year that they begin kindergarten (i.e. they were born in 2017 to start kindergarten in September 2022) -- so some students will be over five and a half, while other classmates will still be 4 when they start. It’s pretty rare for a student to be held back (a term often referred to as “redshirting”), but that can be discussed with a school principal on a case-by-case basis. However, for the most part, you should expect your child(ren) to start school with all of the kids who were born in the same birth year. The admissions process for kindergarten at an NYC public/charter school begins in the winter prior to starting school.

How do you apply?

Public school:

  • In December/January* prior to beginning kindergarten, you’ll apply on the website: This is also the website you’ll use to find out about your placement(s), and possibly your spot on waitlists if you don’t get your first choice.

  • A nobel-winning lottery system is used to determine placements.

  • You can rank up to 12 schools, though you don’t have to rank that many. However, if you only rank a couple of schools and end up with a bad lottery number, the DOE can place you in a nearby school that has availability.

*Official enrollment date TBD.

Charter school:

  • Please look at every school’s website for details on how and when to apply.

  • Many charter schools now manage their admissions process on the website

  • Applications usually open in January-February prior to the start of kindergarten, with decisions being announced in early April, though they will often have a rolling admissions process in case they have open seats.

Private school:

  • Please look at every school’s website for details on how and when to apply.

  • Many ISAAGNY*-affiliated schools now manage their admissions process on the Ravenna website,

*ISAAGNY stands for the Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York.

What does the application process entail?

The process differs significantly for the different types of school; however, you’ll experience similar steps along the way.

Here’s a more detailed monthly breakdown, to help offer some added clarity:

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