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NYC Parents Sound Off on 2021 Kindergarten Admissions: Your Most Commonly Asked Questions… Answered!

Early on the morning of April 8, families began emailing me to report that New York City’s parent portal was acting funny. General Ed Kindergarten results were appearing in the waitlisted section, then promptly disappearing.

This is good news, I told them. Based on previous years, when results arrived via blank and garbled documents, this is the Department of Education’s efficient and not at all stressful way of letting parents know that they were about to find out where their child had been placed for public school Kindergarten 2021.

Sure enough, the official results became available a little bit after noon.

Like every year, some parents were happier than others with where they’d been assigned. Below, is a round up of reactions to how the results were delivered, first choices, waitlists, opting out, and answers to your most commonly asked questions about what you can still do to improve your chances of getting into your first choice school for September 2021!

Getting Your Results:

Meredith: We can see ours via Myschools but weirdly are not on any waitlists. I added them all back into the form but unlike last year cannot see where we are on the waitlists. (2 minutes later) Sorry — we can see position if we log out & log back in! Ok. Phew. 

Ranked Choices:

Cathleen: We got our number 1 (public school) choice. She was also accepted at Girls Prep and Manhattan Charter School! I am hoping for Success Academies Un Sq but for now am so relieved that we have so many high-quality choices. We are a family returning to NYC after a year Upstate and are very happy.

Ana: Got our first option placement! (zoned). Thanks!

Oleg: We received our acceptance letter to the zoned school downtown. We will still add a school we like slightly better to the waitlist. We have remained in NYC throughout the pandemic and remain optimistic that there is no substitute for the dynamic life and education a child can receive while living here – an invaluable “bundle”. 

Rose: We got into our top choice, The Children’s School. We are in District 15, but we were not attending Pre-K there and had no siblings attending, so I thought it was a pretty long shot. We haven’t heard back from the ASD NEST program or the private 2e school we applied to, but I’m feeling pretty good about our current placement. We will probably turn down the other two, if offered, and stick with The Children’s School. I love that both my kids could go there, unlike NEST or the 2e program, where my daughter would have to go to a different school than her older brother. I thought the process was pretty easy, especially compared to the process to get into the private school or even the NEST program, which both had far more hoops to jump through. I am disappointed that we did not get to tour the schools in person. But I’ve never even stepped foot in my son’s Pre-K school, so that’s just par for the course. 

Jen: We are in Chelsea, zoned for PS33 and got into our first choice, PS11! This is unheard of. School enrollment must be wayyyyyyyy down. We are thrilled to not have so much riding on G&T, which was how we were aiming to get our daughter into PS11. Pandemic silver lining, I suppose. (Ed. note: Kindergarten applications are down 12%. But whether the DOE will let parents transfer is questionable.)

TS: We are excited that we got our top choice at PS 145 russian dual language program (out of zone, but in D3). No changes of plans for the fall, hoping that school will be back to normal. 

Erin: We got our first choice kindergarten (unzoned). I saw an article that said 75% of children got one of their first 3 choices? I find that hard to believe based on what I heard from friends.


Katie: We got our third choice. It is in district but out of our zone. Our two waitlist schools are both out of district, but we are relatively high on those waitlists, I think–55 and 30.

EE: We are zoned for PS 166 in district 3.  We ranked it 3rd, after PS 9 and PS 87 Spanish Dual Language.  We were offered a seat at PS 166 and were 51st and 15th on the waitlists at PS 9 and PS 87 Spanish DL respectively. We have now moved up to 14th on the waitlist at PS 87 Spanish DL.  

Opting Out:

CK: We got into PS 198, our zoned school, and waitlisted everywhere else we applied, as expected. Our daughter is in the District 2 French Dual Language UPK program which the principal of PS 290 wanted to continue K-5 at her school, but the DOE killed that. We applied to a bunch of French and Spanish dual language programs, but they are all in other districts, and as a non-ELL out-of-district applicant we knew there was little chance we would get in. PS 198 seems like a nice school community but this will probably cause us to move to private.

Patricia: As we expected, our son got into PS 132 in Williamsburg–our zoned school. We toured it last year and loved it, so we put it third on our list. But since submitting the application, we’ve learned that (as of now) 132 is the only school in the district (14) that does NOT plan to be open 5 days a week in September. If I had known this was the case, I would have left it off the list entirely! We’d be thrilled with our zoned school if they would just open up. But since they’re only planning to offer max 2 days a week, we will pull him and send to private if necessary. 

LP: We got into our zoned school which was our 7th choice and only included because you have to include your zoned school.  (Ed Note: You do not have to include your zoned school, but you can still be placed there even if you didn’t rank it on the form.) We got waitlisted for others on our list. We are waiting to hear from Hunter and G&T, but looks like private school is most likely unless we get Hunter as I am even less optimistic about G&T placements. 

HM: We got into our zoned school, which we don’t love. We were waitlisted everywhere else. Our zoned school has a foriegn language track and we were even waitlisted for that! (A very low number on that waitlist.) We’ll choose private over our zoned.  

Read about how private schools are managing five day a week, in person learning, here.

Commonly Asked Questions:

Rachel: If we are still waiting on G&T results, should we accept the Gen Ed offer? 

NYST: Accepting your General Ed offer does not preclude you from being offered a G&T seat down the road. Accept your General Ed offer if you will go there if G&T does not work out.

STZ: Got my zoned school. If you decline the offer, do you still stay on the rest of the WL?

NYST: Yes. Turning down your placement does not take you off any other waitlists.

CC:  I have now decided that my second choice school is my first choice. If I get my first choice school will I still be on the waitlist for my second choice?  Is there any way to indicate to my second choice that I would like my child to go there?

NYST: You are only initially waitlisted at the schools you ranked ahead of the one where you were placed. You can, however, add yourself to other waitlists after results are announced. In all likelihood, you will end up behind all of the families who ranked your second choice (now first choice) during the initial placement period, unless you are in a higher priority group.

Ross: Why would the waitlist number increase on some schools?  We’ve checked a few times this afternoon and there’s been some shifts up.  Shouldn’t they only go down?  We’ve seen a couple go down as well.

NYST: Your waitlist number increases if a family in a higher priority group than yours (in zone, in district, English Language Learner, Free Lunch, etc…) added themselves to the waitlist after placements were distributed. The same thing happened last year. Click here for more information

Sarah: Do you know if the admission offers for Special Music School posted on My dashboard is also final? From what I understood only 50 kids made it to the second round audition and my daughter is one of them, so I don’t understand how my daughter can be applicant #124 on the waitlist unless they subsequently increased the number of kids making it to the second round audition. 

Inessa: What does the waitlist number for SMS on DOE page mean, is it a valid waitlist number?  How many kids pass to the second evaluation round?

NYST: In past years, many more than 50 children qualified for Second Round. There was also a “Third Round” for the top scoring 25 children with parents, as described here. Some have told me they’ve been invited for the parent round this year, as well. Special Music School usually reaches out to those whom they’ve accepted directly.

Inna: So what’s next? Do i accept (3rd choice offer) or am I supposed to be working the waitlist somehow?

NYST: You can accept your current placement AND “work the waitlist.” See below!

Good luck, everyone, and keep us posted on your progress!

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