Based on my preschool admissions research, I’ve learned that there are unofficial tiers of schools, just like in college or law school. Apparently, certain preschools are feeder schools to exclusive private schools, which are, of course, feeder schools for elite universities, which, I imagine, are feeder schools to certain high paying jobs and country clubs. An entirely appropriate question on some of these tours was, “What’s your acceptance rate to [insert highly sought after/expensive private school here]?” Acceptance rate? To an elementary school? I was in over my head.
However, these schools were conveniently located (and, to their credit, their programs are really impressive), so we scoped them out for our daughter. In the end, we didn’t get accepted to any of them, and I’ve no doubt it’s partly because they could see right through my answers to their questions. How many times can one write “enriching” in an application? I’m sure I pushed the limit.
Here’s what I really wanted to say.
Tell us a little bit about your child.
I’m really not sure how to answer this because I’m assuming all parents use lots of superlative adjectives to describe how utterly charming their precious snowflakes are, so how should I make my daughter stand out? Lately, she’s been playing with two imaginary friends, Dooby and Sarah. They pop up at the strangest times, and it creeps me out. She also recently told me that a man named Damond with pointy ears and a long nose was living in our bushes. I was pretty sure this was her imagination again, but I was ready to whack the hell out of the bushes with a golf club just to be safe. Then she told me that it was just Dooby in disguise. . . That still didn’t make me feel better.
I have no idea how she’ll act around you because she’s never spent an extended period of time outside of my care or with a large group of children her age. Actually, I’m really hoping you’ll be able to tell me about my child (and also whether the imaginary friend thing is getting little freaky).
Please tell us a little bit about your family.
From what I hear, you want to know what my husband and I do for a living and whether it can benefit the school in some way. It probably won’t. Or, you want to know if we have a unique situation that boosts your school’s diversity in some way. It probably doesn’t, so what else can I tell you? We are a loving family. We also annoy each other sometimes. We all spend way more time on electronics than we’re supposed to. Our kids think burping is hilarious and toots are even funnier. We let them jump on the couch, and we always eat dinner as a family. We will participate in your school events, but we’re never going to be the parents who lead the fundraising committee. Although, you can count on us for a donation.
Please explain why this preschool is a good choice for your child.
Let’s see. . . it’s accepting applications, it’s in walking distance from our house, and you look like a trustworthy bunch.
What are your hopes and dreams for your child’s early childhood education?
Seriously? I’m supposed to have hopes and dreams about this? Okay. I hope she gets to play with kids her own age and do the kinds of messy crafts that I hate to do. I dream of a little peace and quiet around the house while she’s at school, so I can get a break from her asking for a snack every two minutes.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your child?
No, there really isn’t. Are we done now? I have, like, five more of these applications to fill out for other schools.
In the end, we actually found a small, low key school that is a perfect fit for our family. They didn’t even require an application like the one above, which was our first clue that we had found the right place. The program is great, the staff is caring and experienced, and the other families are friendly and down to earth. Because we feel comfortable there, it makes me want to be a part of the community and do things to help the school, rather than feeling peer pressured into it. There’s a place for everyone, and we found ours, but only after flat out rejection from lots of other places. Here’s to hoping you find yours more easily than we did!