There is no question that the NYC Private School Admission process can be grueling for both parents and children. Finding the right private school match for your child’s educational and personal needs is the first challenge, and that does not even include admissions, interviews, testing and the general anxiety that comes with waiting, waiting to be accepted.
For some students, the admission process to NYC Schools has an added element of competition and skill that goes beyond the academic. For the thousands of students enrolled in Arts and Sports programs in NYC Schools, their academic and personal abilities are only part of their admissions. Their skill and natural talent in Arts and Sports is also judged and weighed in order to find the right school for them to develop their minds and bodies.
The NY Times recently carried a story about children fighting to be admitted to Arts programs in NYC schools.
The high school admission process in New York City is notoriously dizzying, with each eighth grader asked to rank up to a dozen choices, and the most competitive schools requiring tests, essays or interviews. But for hundreds of students who sing, dance, act or play an instrument, trying out for the ninth grade is now an all-consuming routine.
A generation ago, there was just one high school for aspiring artists — Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts. Over the years, dozens of high schools have created programs focusing on the performing and visual arts as a way to attract motivated students. More than two dozen now require auditions.
For those who have worked their entire short but accomplished lives to develop a specific set of skills that goes beyond those tested on paper, auditioning and admissions are one and the same in a fight for the right spot at the right school. Many of NYC’s top schools offer advanced Dance and Arts training led by professionals dedicated to developing talent in their students.
Admissions officers in every school that requires auditions are real people who have a real understanding of just how much their choices weigh on young applicants.
“We see a combination of kids who heard that Alicia Keys went here and want to be like her and then we will see kids who live, eat, sleep and breathe performing,” said Chuck Vasallo, an assistant principal of Professional Performing Arts High School. “Every application represents a person with a dream, and it’s in our hands if they’re accepted. If not, your life might go in another direction. That’s something we take very seriously. It’s a little scary, even for us.”
Admission to any NYC school can be competitive, especially with the added factor of specialized programs.