THE BLOG
04/10/2014 01:51 pm ET Updated Jun 09, 2014

Do I Carry My Birkin?

Now that the weather is finally showing signs of spring, it is time to start thinking about applying to NYC private schools. Whether your child is starting school for the first time, or applying out of his/her current school, here are some tips to make sure the process goes smoothly!

Spring Tours, Nursery through High School, are offered to give parents the chance to see their options early, allowing them to look at schools before they actually have to apply. These tours give parents the opportunity to see many schools, with many different approaches to learning. They will be able to rule out certain schools, while falling in love with others. There is no better way to get a feel for a school than to actually be inside of it and see its teachers and students in action. We like to tell our clients, "If it feels right and you can envision your child there; it is a good option!"

The Spring Tour is also a time when the schools are meeting you for the first time and first impressions stick!

Schools are small communities where everyone is valued equally. This means everyone! From the security guard at the front, to the parent giving the tour, to the admission staff, all must be treated with kindness and respect. Even if you are having a bad day, or your child is not being cooperative, or you are fighting with your spouse, or you couldn't get a cab, when you walk into the school, take a deep breath and put a smile on your face. Remember to say please and thank you and be genuinely excited to be there. This is a great opportunity to start acquiring knowledge for your child's future. It is also the day the school community will be meeting you and have a window into your family for the first time -- first impressions stick-good and bad!

Dress appropriately for the tour. It is important to look presentable and dress as if you are taking this tour seriously. Best rule of thumb, if you do not know anything about the school, a casual dress or slacks and a top, or think business casual for women. For men, khakis and a button up or, once again, think business casual. Also, please wear comfortable shoes!

Remember it is a tour and you will be walking, climbing stairs, and standing. We are asked by our clients all the time if they should carry certain pocketbooks -- this is not a joke -- we really do get asked this all the time! Please be yourself on a tour, carry the bag you like, but remember less is more until you really get to know a school.

The Spring Tour is a great time to gather information and really learn about a school. Jotting down a few notes to help you remember some things is a good idea, so bring a small pad and pen. BUT please keep your phone away. Turn off all phones and keep them out of sight the entire time you are present in the school. If this is impossible, please put your phone on vibrate mode and only answer for a true emergency. Remember, schools are a small community... a parent tour guide who thinks you are rude is just as bad as the director of admissions thinking the same!

Ask genuine questions if you have them. Keep your questions to a minimum, however, and know that you will have time to get into your personal questions later, once you apply. The Spring Tour is a time to learn and then go home and reflect on what you have learned, NOT the time to have a one on one interview with the tour guide.

Keep an open mind towards all schools and take in all the information you can. You might be surprised at the type of school that speaks to you and your family!