With NYC high school round 1 results in and round 2 applications submitted, thousands of middle school families are now licking their wounds and asking themselves, “Why didn’t we get matched to one of our preferred round 1 choices, or even get a match at all?”
Take note, 6th and 7th grade families. I’ve seen countless cases like this, and I can tell you that probably 90% of them fit into one or more of these 6 categories of applications – often because families didn’t start early enough, fully understand how the process works, or get the right support throughout the process:
1. Not enough choices on the application. Generally speaking, fewer choices will reduce your chances of a match.
2. Not enough variety. This means variety in terms of program admissions methods, i.e. screened, Ed Opt, limited unscreened, etc.
3. Lack of understanding of admissions priorities. Families may choose many programs, but if they fall into lower admissions priority groups for many of those programs, there may be trouble.
4. Misunderstood choices. By this I mean choices that were made haphazardly without really conducting research, fully understanding the program or school, eligibility for that school, selection criteria (what the program is looking for in its applicants), or even its location.
5. Missing the easy stuff. Did you fulfill all the selection criteria the program asked for? Did you attend the required audition? Did you sign in at the information session and get priority? Many families will miss the easy stuff that can make a big difference in the end.
6. Poor advice or strategy. Most families avoid getting help and insist they understand the process completely on the basis of what they’ve heard from friends and neighbors. Unfortunately, they are often missing or misunderstanding key pieces of information. And most families do not employ a comprehensive strategy that looks at the entire selection of choices in totality, rather than just individual schools one by one. Think college admissions.
Unfortunately at this stage in the game, because of the perceived lack of choice in round 2, some students will be left without a match to one of their (few) round 2 choices. And many families will have made the same mistakes they made in round 1, through no fault of their own. At the end of round 2, every student will have a high school – whether they chose it or not. Then, the appeals process begins.
So what’s the message here for 6th and 7th grade families?
Start early, have a plan, prepare, do your research, and get help now.