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Tips for Surviving TC
Students with Children
Teachers College appreciates the fact that many of its students have family members, including children. The Office of Residential Services has limited family housing available, and TC provides information and services for parents with school-age children.
Tips and Advice
When preparing to bring any dependent minor children, please keep in mind the following tips and advice:
1) If you have preschool or school-age children, be sure to bring their birth certificates (with an official English translation), and medical/immunization records with you to the U.S., as they are required for school enrollment.
2) The school year for elementary and high school is usually similar to Teachers College school year. Classes can begin in September and can end in May or June. There is usually a winter vacation for approximately one month between mid-December and mid-January.
• Barnard College, affiliated with Columbia University, has a babysitting agency for hiring Barnard students
• The Center for Children’s Initiatives (CCI) has information about choosing different types of childcare
• Columbia University’s Office of Work/Life provides a central location for current related policies, programs and services available at Columbia University. This includes information on Child Care and Schooling.
New York Public schools
NYC Department of Education Website
Prekindergarten: Acceptance is based on standardized admissions profiles. Applications are not accepted by mail.
Kindergarten: The admission’s period is school based. Families must submit an application to the school even if it is their zoned school. Bring the child’s birth certificate or passport and proof of U.S. address. Check the website for acceptable documents. Children receding in their school zone will be given priority.
Elementary School: Grades 1-8. Register at the zoned school. You must bring the child with you. There is also a list of documents. Check the website for acceptable documents. http://schools.nyc.gov/ParentsFamilies/default.htm. If you are planning to move to New York City you do not need to apply for non-residence enrollment, you can register the child when you have proof of a U.S. address.
Middle School: Grades 6-8. Most schools range from grade 1 to grade 8. But there are some schools where the child will need to change to a different school after grade 5. The enrollment for middle school is similar to the enrollment for elementary school.
High School: Grade 9-12. New students must register at the Borough Enrollment Office of the borough in which they reside. The student has the option to apply for specialized high schools in which there is a specialized high school admissions test. The student is not eligible for this test until they are a New York resident. There are videos and publications that can help students and parents choose a high school. There are also summer workshops.
Gifted and Talented: All grades. Testing takes place in the beginning of the calendar year for following school year (September). Children from all boroughs are welcome to apply. Note that you have to be a New York resident to apply. For more information you can download the handbook and check the school calendars. You can also contact Gifted and Talented Admissions via the New York City Department of Education at (718)-935-2009.
Charter Schools: All grades. Charter schools are open to all students in New York City. They are governed by non-profit organizations that may also design the educational programs of the charter schools. Charter schools were founded to provide high-quality school choices. If applications exceed available seats, an admissions lottery takes place to decide acceptance.
Public School Resources:
• For application deadlines and registration requirements for all grades and schools, please visit
• To search for schools in your area visit the New York City Department of Education
• You can research Clara Hemphill’s books: New York City’s Best Public Elementary Schools, New York City’s Best Public Middle Schools, New York City’s Best Public High Schools.
New York Private Schools
Private schools are independent. They each have their own educational philosophy in which they are free to follow. Private schools choose their students through an application process. They are non-profit organizations and get their funding through tuition, fees and contributions. Private schools can either be religious or non-religious. The member organization, New York State Association of Independent School’s (NYSAIS) can provide more information.
NYSAIS does not recommend schools. You can choose between public schools, religious schools, proprietary schools, home instruction, and independent schools (either day or boarding).
The First step is to do your research and narrow down your school options. You can do your research online, attend the school’s open house, walk around the school’s neighborhood, talk to people that attend or work at the school and ask other parents questions. Standard questions to ask include but are not limited to:
- Parent Involvement
Each private school has its own application process, deadlines, test requirements, financial aid, and age cut off dates. Private schools generally state their tuition. Private school tuition can range from $15,000 to $30,000 and can sometimes cost even more.
Many school deadlines are in January or February for the next academic year. Standardized admissions tests are generally used. It is always good to abide by their deadlines and to communicate with the school of your choice.
Private schools will choose whether they want to accept an applicant or not. Many different factors are considered for a private school application. New York private schools are often very competitive and it can be difficult to gain acceptance, so it is always good to apply to multiple schools.
Private School Resources:
• To see reviews on certain private schools you can visit Private School Review
• For more information for parents you can visit The Parents League of New York
• For a guide to independent private schools you can visit the National Association of Independent Schools
• New York State Association of Independent Schools
• You can research Victoria Goldman’s book: The Manhattan Family Guide to Private Schools and Selective Public Schools
• For Catholic education you can visit Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of New York