Little Madison is only 4 years old, but this summer won’t be limited to ice cream cones and trips to the beach with grandma. She’s got a resume to build.
The goal? Admission into kindergarten at Riverdale’s elite private school Horace Mann for fall 2024.
Her mom, Jennifer — a 37-year-old Upper East Sider, who asked The Post to use pseudonyms for herself and Madison — says her daughter will take lessons in dance, gymnastics, tennis and taekwondo in the coming months, as well as a musical theater workshop.
The little girl will also be working with a tutor once a week to go over basic math and language skills in preparation for the Horace Mann assessment, which is administered at the end of the year and in early January.
It’s just one part of the multistep admission process, which also includes an in-person interview this coming fall
“It’s literally training just for this test, I’d rather do it sooner rather than later,” said Jennifer, who works in marketing.
School may soon be out for the summer, but the work continues for the kids, and their parents, vying to get into ultracompetitive New York private schools, including, in addition to Horace Mann, Dalton and Fieldston. Consultants say summer is a key time for the elementary school set to build their resumes and make themselves appear more well-rounded.
“Gone are the days where school ends and it’s riding your bike around the neighborhood playing stickball and having that true no-stress, no-intention time of year,” Jake Schwartzwald, director at Everything Summer, a New York City-based consultancy that helps place kids into summer camps and pre-college and college educational experiences, told The Post.
“New York City is a competitive place to be as a child, and a parent. Parents have been looking for ways to give their kids options to explore their interests and become more skilled that’s everything from coding camp to extra piano lessons and sports camps.”
Emily Glickman, a New York City private school consultant and educational advisor who heads Abacus Guide Educational Consulting, told Town & Country that summer should be a springboard for bulking up on extracurriculars and volunteering.
Kids between fourth and eighth grade should be working on their resumes “two summers before they are applying to a new school,” Glickman told the magazine.
Simply excelling in reading, writing and math will not cut it, she said, explaining that kids as young as 9 years old should be parlaying their hobbies into niche expertise.
“Private schools are looking to see how you can add to the community. You may already like chess and have been in some competitions. You may already have gone to debate camp. You can start actually having areas of interest and expertise,” she told.
Schwartzwald advises that his clients play to their child’s strengths and passions — the average kid’s eyes won’t light up talking about something they loathe in an admissions interview.
“For lot of these private schools, an interview is a typical part of the application process. If you ask a 10-year-old what they like about chess, they’re not going to be able to lie and pull it off and pretend they have this interest if they don’t.”
While private schools value avid readers, they want reading lists with rigor that align with a child’s interests — whether that’s in women’s rights, biology or the Revolutionary War.
“If you’re reading Harry Potter over the summer, you’re not getting any points,” Glickman said.
The same goes for going to sleepaway camp. While it’s a time-honored tradition that many consider some of the most memorable moments of their lives, it doesn’t do much for one’s C.V., according to Glickman.
“It’s a really beautiful experience to give your child,” she said, but “you may want to balance that with resume development.”
Some families ultimately opt out of putting so much pressure on their children so young.
“I know so many parents who are just going public because they can’t take the stress,” Glickman said.
And, an impressive resume isn’t always a guarantee.
“My son was in Russian math, but he didn’t get into St. Anne’s,” an anonymous Brooklyn mother told The Post. “Either the school wants you or they don’t.”
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