- Business Insider interviewed two insiders in the elite preschool world to hear their experience helping the wealthy and famous land their kids a spot at a top institution.
- One key part of the process involves passing the preschool interview – meaning parents invest heavily in training their children to behave properly in front of the admissions committee.
- Dozens of tutoring companies that prep children for their “interview” teach them how to walk, introduce themselves, and talk about a well-respected hobby.
- The interview isn’t the only touchpoint parents have to think about. The two consultants shared the disasters they have witnessed and the extreme lengths they have seen parents go to help their kids reach success. You can read the full story here.
- Do you have a story about the cutthroat preschool admissions process? Email reporter Robin Madell at [email protected].
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Alina Adams, author of “Getting Into NYC Kindergarten,” works with parents with kids as young as six months old – years before they need to even think about preschool. But her clients know that it can take up to two years to prepare for the cutthroat kindergarten application process in New York City, and preschool’s their chance to get their child a foot in the door early.
“In New York City, where it is believed the right preschool leads to the right kindergarten, which in turn leads to the right high school, which in turn leads to the right college, and then just the right investment banking job, parents go above and beyond when it comes to securing admission,” Adams said.
Adams said that parents who are serious about their quest invest heavily in training the youngest of toddlers for preschool interviews.
“Can you imagine interviewing a two year old?” Adams said. “What if they say something inappropriate? What if they burst into tears and try to leave? Worse, what if they do nothing at all?”
And she’s heard plenty of horror stories.
“I’ve had parents tell me stories of toddlers who locked themselves in the closet and refused to come out,” she said. “Of ones who would only answer by mewing like a cat. Or one who crawled under a table and insisted she was napping, so don’t bother her.”
She said that there are dozens of tutoring companies that prep children for their “interview,” focusing on the “proper behaviour of a preschool ‘playdate’.”
In this training, children are taught to walk in, shake hands, look the interviewer in the eye, and then launch into a discussion regarding their latest favourite hobby – whether it be piano or violin, modern dance, literature, physics, abstract art.
“Kids are prepped on how to whiz through the IQ test tasks administered to them, such as sequencing cards in the order of events, copying patterns with blocks and tiles, and drawing family portraits where, afterwards, every eyelash and toenail will be counted, so the more detailed the better!” Adams said.
The interview, of course, isn’t the only thing parents have to focus on when it comes to nabbing a coveted spot at an elite preschool. Adams and Cindy Chanin, the founder of Rainbow EDU Consulting & Tutoring who’s helped Emmy award-winning actresses, Broadway performers, inventors, and athletes get their kids into top schools, walked Business Insider through the many more extreme moves – including offering up big-ticket donations and gifts and networking in Mummy and Me groups – they have seen parents make in the chase to get their kid on top.
Do you have a story about the cutthroat preschool admissions process? Email reporter Robin Madell at [email protected].