Summer 2009 – A special series

It’s amazing that we’ve gotten through another admissions season here at Juilliard – and a particularly tough one at that! With two application deadlines, and two audition periods, it was definitely double the work! Let’s hope the New York Philharmonic never goes on tour in March ever again….

Now, onward to next year.

I am going to begin our summer series of blogs with a brief explanation of what I have to look forward to next year myself. Very brief, actually – two words:

Kindergarten applications.

You may laugh. You may say – how can this in any way be relevant to an admissions blog for The Juilliard School? Trust me – applying to kindergarten in New York City is just like applying to colleges! For example – I’ve already started the process of researching schools, and my daughter has another year before she’ll start school. So, just like I advise families that the application process (or at least, thinking about it) should start in the junior year, here I am, one year out, starting my own process.

I attended a session last night on how to apply to public kindergartens – it’s an astonishingly complex process that really does require at the very least a two-hour information session on how it all works (though I’m still pretty baffled, and the wonderful woman who ran the session reassured all of us (not!) by saying that everything could change again next year – apparently the Department of Education (DOE) likes to shake things up on a regular basis).

It was interesting to me to be on the other side – usually I’m the one running the information session! But my biggest “aha” moment was when the presenter started talking about Hunter College Elementary School – a public school on the Upper East Side that is run by the City University of New York system, rather than the DOE. It’s a school for “gifted” children (is this starting to sound familiar?), and has its own application process, separate from the general public school process.

After the rather dire statement that only kids in the 98th percentile and above on an IQ test are considered for admission, the presenter related that last year there were over 2,000 applications for the Hunter kindergarten, 200 made the test cutoff, and 48 kids were admitted.

You could hear a pin drop in the room.

You could practically hear hearts plummeting.

I felt it too – and that’s when my mental light bulb went on.

That’s how you all feel, isn’t it? When I talk about numbers for Juilliard?

The shock. The stomach sinking. The immediate sense of impossibility.

But it’s not. It’s not impossible. We have 765 students here who are proof. You could be one of them.

We started writing this blog is to try to help applicants and their families navigate the application and audition process – this year, we’ll do it together.