By Lee Cioppa, Associate Dean for Admissions
I’m borrowing the title for this blog from a book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. Not because the topic of the book is relevant (though it is a good book), but because I’m applying to nursery schools for my daughter, who is 2 ½, and I now have an entirely different perspective on what all of our applicants and their families are going through!
The blog title should really be “All I really need to know about college applications I learned by applying to nursery schools.” I had been told that applying to nursery schools in New York City is like applying to colleges, and I definitely believe it now. You have to apply to a lot (we’re applying to six, which I’m worried is too few), they all have limited openings because classes for children have a very small student to teacher ratio, and the whole selection process seems very mysterious (you have to take your child to “playdates” at each nursery school – it’s hard to figure out what they’re evaluating in 2 ½ year olds!).
It was difficult to remember my own advice when dealing with applications for my own child. I’ve been doing conservatory admissions for over 10 years, and I really thought that nursery school applications would be a piece of cake for an admissions professional! But I, too, got overwhelmed with the paperwork, the different deadlines, different application fees, different procedures, and different tuitions for each school. Some you apply to, then visit – others, you schedule a visit first, then apply if you liked the visit. Most require a return visit with the child for a playdate (think audition) if you do submit an application. But I finally made my chart with all of the variables for each nursery school, so I could compare things side-by-side and keep on top of deadlines. I am also holding fast to my own recommendation to simply apply to all the schools that we are interested in for my daughter, and to worry about cost and other issues (such as drop-off times and whether she has to bring her own lunch) after we know where she was accepted.
I just put the final paperwork in the mail this morning, and today is our last day in the office until January 2nd (Juilliard closes completely during that time – we won’t be sending you any notifications, emails or letters until the new year!). I am looking forward to the holidays to rest, to be with my family, and to not think about nursery school applications.
My holiday wish for you is that you do the same. Don’t think about your college applications. You’ve done your part – you’ve mailed or submitted your applications online, sent recordings to wherever they’re needed, asked your recommenders for their letters – there’s not anything more to do. Soon enough, you’ll need to be getting ready for your auditions – doing another chart with all of the dates and times and repertoire requirements, planning flights and booking hotels, contacting accompanists, finding comfortable audition shoes…. Now is the time to rest, to rejuvenate, to let your mind and body clear of stress, and to remember why you love to dance, to act, to make music – because that love and passion for your art is what will carry you through these next few months.
Happy Holidays from all of us at The Juilliard School!