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Elementary/Lower Schools


  • There are over 100 independent private schools in NYC and thousands of parochial schools.
  • Private schools offer programs in Nursery, N-5th grade, JrK- 5th grade, K-8, or K-12.
  • Classrooms in private schools vary in size however are typically smaller than classrooms found in public school settings.
  • Independent private schools manage their own budgets, admissions process, and have the independence to create their own curriculum and articulate a unique educational vision and philosophy.
  • Many private schools provide students with enriched opportunities to explore the sciences, arts, sports, music, community service and a wide array of curricular options.
  • School tuition varies from $15K to $40K. Needs based scholarships are available at all private schools; a single application and assessment form determines need.

The Application Process

  • The majority of NYC’s private independent schools are members of ISAAGNY, the Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York, a non-profit organization that establishes a consistent set of admission timelines, practices, and guidelines.
  • The application process for all private independent schools begins the year before admission is sought, with applications typically available on-line the day after Labor Day.
  • All schools require a written application, tour or open house, parent and child interviews.
  • Most of the schools require that student applicants (K-12) be assessed with a standard assessment test offered by the Education Records Bureau (ERB). Fee reductions for the ERB tests are available through a partnership of the ERB and ISAAGNY.
  • Some schools will accept an alternate test, the Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT) for students entering in Grade 5-11. Be sure to check with the schools to which you are applying.
  • All application materials must be completed as early as November and as late as December. It is important to keep track of all deadlines.
  • Decisions are typically mailed to families between mid-February and early March. Exact dates are available on the websites of individual schools and ISAAGNY.


  • The birthday cutoff for placement purposes is August 31 for most private schools. Therefore, a child must be 5 years old on or before August 31 of the year they enroll to be eligible for Kindergarten.
  • Families seeking admission to a private school admission are strongly encouraged to visit and register their child for public school [link: to come] and participate in the public school choice programs [link: to come], as appropriate or desired.

Determining School Options

  • ISAAGNY (described above) includes quick links to all of its member schools.
  • The Parent’s League of New York, a membership organization that works on behalf of NYC private independent schools and parents, offers parent education programs, school fairs, an advisory service, and publications on NYC schools and enrichment offerings.
  • Early Steps supports families of color who are seeking private school placement for their children seeking enrollment in Kindergarten and First Grade. See the Resource List for organizations that work to identify and support middle and high school students.
  • Several organizations work to identify and support private school admissions for middle and high school students of color.