Karen Quinn

Ivy’s Hints

“The Ivy Chronicles is wicked and delightful. The world of New York City private school admissions provides Karen Quinn with a cast of characters and ripped from the headline scenarios that will have insiders squirming and readers enthralled. Comparisons to The Nanny Diaries are inevitable, but The Ivy Chronicles is much funnier and darker and introduces Karen Quinn as a delightful chronicler of our age.”
—Katharine Weber,
author of The Little Women

Ivy’s Hints for Private Kindergarten Admissions Success

• The parent essay will be the school’s first impression of your family. A professional writer can make you sound more appealing than you really are.

• You want your nursery school director to gush about your family in her recommendation. Do something gush-worthy when your kid is in nursery school. Need ideas? Major donation. Major donation. Or, alternatively, major donation.

• Wax your daughter’s mustache before her first visit. Private schools take cute kids exclusively.

• Do not take your babysitter to a private school interview to answer the questions you don’t know. Just make something up. During your parent interview, do not talk about the lessons you learned in drug rehab or how jail made you a better parent.

• Do not put on a power point presentation extolling your child and family at the parent interview unless you can do it in a way that seems spontaneous.

• During your interview, don’t tell the admissions director that it really doesn’t matter what she thinks; you’re best friends with someone on the board. This can backfire. Don’t ask the admissions director how her school accommodates children with ADHD or whether there is a nurse to dispense Ritalin.

• Ladies, if your husband can’t make a parent interview due to a last minute conflict, an emergency replacement can be found at Saks or Barneys men’s departments. Any sales associates will be dressed appropriately. Just tell him to smile and keep his mouth shut. You do the talking. For the diversity advantage, consider choosing a sales associate of a different ethnicity.

• Try not to insult the secretary in the admissions office. She will make your file incomplete faster than you can say, “where the hell is that butt-ugly admissions director; doesn’t she know how valuable my time is?”

• Dress your child in fancy party clothes for traditional or single-sex school interviews and casual play clothes for progressive school visits. If your child is interviewing at a school requiring a uniform, dress her in the school’s uniform. Subconsciously, the admissions director will think there’s a fit. Also, it is never appropriate to dress your child in a Halloween costume, even in October.

• Under no circumstances should your child bring live birds to his interview, even if they are in a cage.

• If your child still uses a pacifier, carries a security blanket, or picks her nose, find a look-alike kid to interview on her behalf. When you send your kid to school in the fall, say the habit developed over the summer.

• Ask friends who are already in the school to tell the Admissions Director how wealthy and philanthropic you are even if you’re not. Once you’re in, pretend you’re one of those miserly rich people.

• If your child either clams up or falls apart at his interview, call the school and tell them he came down with an ear infection,103 degree fever, and projectile vomiting that very night. Ask for another chance. You have nothing to lose. He has already been rejected.

• If you happen to be pregnant now and your child is due in September, ask your doctor to induce labor in August. Otherwise, your kid won’t make the age six September 1 cut-off. You’ll be looking at an extra year of nursery school tuition.

• Don’t let anyone tell you that this process is about your child and her intellectual potential. It is about you and your donor potential.