It’s been years since I had to apply to colleges, but the pain from the experience still haunts me. The SAT prep, the school visits, the application torture — I still recall the relief I felt when I got into college and swore I’d never forget how the misery of the entire process drove me to the brink of insanity.
A bunch of kids in New York are going through a similar hell at the moment. Only it’s for kindergarten. And unlike me who was lucky enough to be accepted to my first-choice college by early decision, 3,100 of the preschool tots have been waitlisted for the kindergarten of their choice. That’s almost 1,000 more than were waitlisted last year.
Of course it wasn’t as if these kids applied and were rejected because their extracurricular activities weren’t sophisticated or diverse enough (that’s reserved for private school kindergarten). These waitlists are for public school, and part of the problem is overcrowding in some neighborhoods like Corona, Queens, as well and the upper East side, West Side, and Brownstone, Brooklyn. And for families who are spending more money they can afford to live in areas with top notch public schools, getting waitlisted is that much more painful.
“We were completely blindsided,” said mom Jennifer Barrett to the New York Daily News. Her son Zachary, 4, is number 43 of 48 kindergartners waitlisted in Park Slope, Brooklyn. “What’s very frustrating is that we moved to this neighborhood and scraped our money together for this school.”
Some of the waitlists will shrink as kids get into charter schools, but a lot of the movement won’t be until parents register closer to the start of school in the fall, which means they’ll have to spend their summers fretting, wondering and, yes, waiting.
“We understand parents are anxious, but this is only the beginning of the admissions process and every single year we see waitlists shrink or disappear completely throughout the spring and summer,” said a spokesman for the Education Department.
Are your kids on a waitlist for school?