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Ask Judy: How do 8th graders get HS news?

Dear Judy,

Can you tell me when the high school placement results will come out? How does the school tell the kids the news?

8th grade Mom

Dear 8th grade Mom,

Results of the high school applications are due out March 15 (alas, for some parents, that date is later than when private schools let their applicants know.) The placement results, in sealed envelopes, are picked up by each middle school from their local enrollment office. Along with the letters comes a list of all applicants and, in some cases, the schools use this list to determine how the letters are distributed.

Schools vary in the way they distribute the letters and the news, so you'll need to ask your 8th grade guidance counselor how your school handles it.

Here's what I found out after talking to guidance counselors in every borough. The advisor at a high-performing Brooklyn school first looks for the names of students who did not get accepted anywhere. About 10% of students get no match in the first round, no matter what their grade point average, test scores or attendance. Sensitive to the emotions that might be expressed, he talks to the families to give them a chance to decide how to deal with this outcome. Only then do the other kids get their letters. A parent coordinator in the Bronx described a similar procedure.

One guidance counselor in Queens told me that they send the letters home by mail rather than hand them out at school, because it is such a stressful situation

A school in Manhattan keeps the letters until the following Friday, no matter which day of the week they arrive. (This year March 15 is a Friday). After school that day each student receives a call from their advisor with their match, or matches, in the case that the student was accepted by a specialized school (s). In that call, the advisor assures students that he will help with any disappointment. According to the parent coordinator, this gives the students the weekend to deal with the results. “The students that get their choices have time to calm down and those who do not, have time to come to terms with it, making the Monday returning to school easier on everyone,”  she said.

Some schools are late in picking up the letters and may not distribute them until the next day.

Schools tell the kids to take the letters home unopened, but most kids can’t wait and congregate on the playground to compare .

Kids’ response to the news is unpredictable. With all the choices, pressure to get into this school or that, it is an emotionally fraught day. Our High School Hustle blogger, Liz Willens, makes the case that results should not be given out at school.

Parents: How does your school handle it? How did your older kids, now in high school, react when they got the news?

Good luck to all – remember, there will be a second round. No match? Do not like your match? You’ll have a chance to re-start. Keep an eye on the high school admissions calendar for notice of the next steps.


Last modified on Tuesday, 29 January 2013 15:49

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