Not Accepted at the Preschools We Applied To

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Rejection letters from the 3 preschools we applied to

March 2009

My second child just rec'd rejection letters from the three schools to which we applied. We went through this with our first child, too, who didn't ''get into'' any of the preschools to which we applied (so we kept him home). We are somewhat limited by financial constraints, etc., and we chose more popular schools, I assume, but really, what is it? Is the demand too great? Are there more kids than there are schools?? What are other parents doing? Are you forming playgroups or coop schools of your own? Any tips from others on how to get in, as much as I hate to utter those words?
At a loss...

I would suggest you apply to more schools much as this may be a chore. Most pre- schools don't enroll more than 20 to 30 new students a year and many of those spaces are filled by siblings, the rest are then distributed according to a gender, age and personality mix. When we went through this 2 years ago we applied to six schools. It was a lot of work, cost plenty of money and was basically a second job. But of the six, 3 were filled with siblings, 1 was not interested for whatever reason? and the other 2 accepted us. I say us because pre-school is definitely a family affair.

So I think you should stay positive and continue to search. Here are a couple of suggestions: Berkeley Montessori is starting a new program and will be admitting more and younger children to their ECC campus. Berkeley Hills nursery school is always worth a call too. They often have openings at odd times of the year. keep plugging!

I guess we got lucky, 2 years ago we only applied to two preschools and got into one and not the other. I figured if they both didn't work out, I would just pretend like I had just moved here and deal with it in the summer. I suggest that's what you do. Are you waitlisted at the schools that rejected you? The waitlists do move, since so many people apply to so many schools. Also try at different schools that you didn't consider before. Their waitlists will also move. You only need one spot and you have until the fall to find it. anon

Not sure where you live but most communities have co-ops or church based programs that provide socialization for not that much money and almost always have an opening or two. Popular pre-schools have tons of applicants. Our pre-school took applications for about a week in January and after that you couldn't even apply. They were pretty specific about culling kids who would work together in their group or in some instances simply balance their dynamic(equal boys & girls) an ''alpha of each'' etc. Trying a lesser known facility might be the answer? mom to many

Our experience was initial rejection to all 3 preschool we applied, and then all ended up calling back. The funny thing was when one of the private schools called well into the summer to offer a spot. When pressed for more info, I told the person in the phone we weren't interested b/c our son had already been accepted into another preschool of our choice, and we took that placement b/c their preschool (one calling) had told us (in what I though was a pretty rude way, but I didn't share this part with the person in the phone) that they had no spots for our son. The person on the phone almost got offended and told me we should have waited, that my son was on the wait list and they accept children as the openings come up (!).

Anyways, we weren't the most organized parents and our son got to the school of our choice, so I think it eventually will happen, but it's also good to have a plan b-c-d... Good luck, EP

I am glad I am not the only one. The Renaissance School just rejected my 2 year old, even though his older sister attended the school for the last three years. I have been on the TPA Board for the last two years, volunteering my time through pregnancy and caring for the infant, we donated money and participated in the activities etc. We cannot keep our oldest in the school any longer due to various reasons, one of which is a financial one. However we were really hoping to get the little one in for the next three years. The school office told me that because the oldest sibling in being taken out, it is the school policy to reject all other siblings! What a way to built loyalty and reputation! I had a good cry after receiving the message, mostly feeling hurt by the unfairness. Parent

Preschool rejection blues

Jan 2009

So we just got our 3rd preschool rejection notice, and I had only applied for 4 schools for our daughter for next fall. I am still holding out a little hope for the last one, although I'm pretty sure it's a stretch because of who we are as a family, and although I applied early in their process, I know I wasn't the eagerest of beavers.

Our daughter has a lovely placement 2 days a week with a woman who had taught montessori preschool for 20 years before starting her home based daycare. Out of the 5 kids, she is the youngest at the daycare, only having just turned 2. My daycare has recommended she stay for another year, which of course would ease the stress immensely of what to do next year.

I need reassurance though that it's OK to leave her in daycare for another year. All my daughter's peers are going to preschool next fall. My daughter is bright, very verbal, and social, and seems to get along with the older kids fine, which makes me wonder if she will be as happy if she's one of the oldest at daycare next year.

People offer such great sage advice on here. Anyone have some for me? I do appreciate any kind words.

Trying not to stress too much, but failing

I would leave your child exactly where she is right now. It sounds perfect. Jan M

My daughter was also the youngest in her daycare and all of her friends went to preschool this fall. She had only turned 2 in July so we weren't necessarily into sending her to preschool. We ended up leaving her in her wonderful daycare. Now she is the oldest and all of the others look up to her. She is also learning to be gentle and kind with the little ones. We feel we made a great decision. She is now 2 1/2, potty-trained, sleeping in a big girl bed and doing great. She will have plenty of time in preschool (2years) when she starts this fall and now she's had the opportunity to be the ''BIG'' kid. happy mom

Hi there, it's great that you were able to arrange a small setting care for your daughter. I am from Russia, and had no idea how to go about daycare when I had my son, 8 years ago. So, I let my husband enroll him in a very large daycare/preschool at 5 months old, where he stayed until he was 4. He was sick so often, and ended up losing part of his hearing due to frequent colds(thankfully, we were able to recover his hearing with doctor's help). Of course, you know your child best. One thing I can say that hopefully will put your mind at ease is that either way will work out for both her and you. Sure, it's more exciting in a bigger setting, so it's great if she ends up there. But, she'll definitely get sick more often (more kids, more germs). And, she'll get less attention from adults (again, more kids), which she may not like. Then again, all that should be fine, kids get used to everything in the end.

If she stays in the current daycare, she'll have a continued bond with the adults that take care of her, which is I think is more important at that age than the relatioship with other kids. Again, coming from Russia, I am used to forming strong bonds with teachers (we had the same teacher for 5 to 8 years, and yes, I still keep in touch with several them). And, she will be exposed to fewer bugs and will continue getting more attention than compared to a larger daycare. As for her being one of the oldest there, that could be a good thing. It will help her realize that she is getting older, and who knows, maybe she will feel like taking on more responsibility. My son loves both younger and older kids, and I often see him helping out the little ones. It makes him feel stronger and yes, older. Kids like that.

Anyway, whatever happens, will work out fine. Good luck! Anya

Don't stress-keep your kid in her current placement-start over next year with applications. Spend the $ on classes like tumbling/art etc if you are worried about ''enrichment. One of mine started at 3.5 (a birthday thing) one started at 2. Both are academically strong in their schools 1st & 3rd grade.
pre-school teacher

I'm so sorry about this! I cannot imagine either of my kids being ''rejected'' from preschool. I am guessing you must have applied to preschools in Berkeley or Oakland. I looked at many preschools in El Cerrito and Richmond for my son. It seems like many try to balance according to gender and sometimes age, but I don't think they reject kids outright. If it's full, kids get put on a waitlist.

My son goes to a wonderful preschool called Noah's Ark in Richmond. I can't say enough good things about it.
love our preschool

2.5 is pretty young to start preschool! She will be fine in daycare for another year and she will not be too old to start preschool at 3.5. This may be the reason she was rejected from the preschools. Did they tell you why? Are you on the waiting list? Since preschool applications have become like college applications (applying to many schools but can only go to one) there should be some movement on the waiting lists. anon

First of all, don't stress too much! Your daughter will be ok in her daycare for another year (or half a year--some preschools have openings mid-year in January that you should be on the lookout for). However, I don't think you should give up on preschool just yet. There are many great preschools in this area, and the four you applied to aren't the only ones that will be good places for your daughter. Like you, we got rejected or waitlisted from the four preschools we applied to (even though we applied early and there was nothing wrong with your kid). We ended up applying to another preschool that we had not considered in the first round, mostly because of incorrect assumptions we had made without visiting it. When we visited, we realized that it would be a great place for our son, and indeed, he was accepted and thrived in a preschool that we would never have discovered if he hadn't been rejected from our first four choices.

Once rejected, now happy

You didn't mention where you live, but I know that Albany Preschool is having their open enrollment for next Fall at the end of this month. their openings are granted on a first come, first served basis, so people line up really early (like 4am!) but then are pretty confident that they are getting in. It is one way to ''be in control of your preschool openings destiny'' so to speak, as long as you are willing to get up early.

My older child went through Albany Preschool, we did both morning and afternoon sessions, and loved both (you do not participate as a parent teacher in the afternoon program). It's a great school!

Worth checking out...Good Luck! Past Preschool parent

In a similar situation, my daughter just turned 3 but she won't start preschool until the summer (she will be 3 1/2). We have no regrets-- she is thriving in her home-based daycare and seems to be developing and learning in a loving environment. Yes, people ask about when she is starting preschool, but she is happy and so are we. Best of all, she has had time to get used to the idea of preschool and is excited about it.

If you need reassurance, you definitely have it from me. If your daughter is in the setting you describe, it sounds like she is being nurtured the way my daughter has been, and another year will probably only help her do well when she enters school. Marie

My daughter was at a home based day care until she was just 2 months shy of 4. She was there for 2 years. Now she is in a larger day care, but it did take some time for her to adjust to the larger class and longer day...and that was when she was almost 4. I think you should absolutely keep her in the smaller, home based care for another question. Let her be 2, for goodness sake...she doesn't need preschool yet. Could she go to the daycare more than 2 days a week? Maybe that would be the next step. Our daughter was also very bright and very verbal...I am still very happy we kept her where she was as long as we did. Don't worry about it....keeping her where she is sounds like the best place for her to be. Mom of 2

Rejection letter from our first choice preschool

March 2008

Please tell me I'm being ridiculous. Or that everything will be ok. We just received a rejection letter for our first choice of preschool. At their initial orientation, they said that we were already ahead of the game by starting so early. I just figured I had to jump through the hoops. Which I did--two more visits to the school,one with my daughter in tow. She did great-- happy, social, played with their toys, didn't mind being away from Mom, etc. I didn't mention at the time that she is also multilingual, biracial, bicultural, and is practically reading at 2 1/2. Nobody asked, and why would I talk about such things, it's preschool, why would that matter. Oh, I'm also a well-paid professional, an easy-going parent, a community volunteer, and pay my bills on time. I also forked up hundreds of dollars to review the school, counting the time I had to take off work and forfeit income to go to the school, the gas, the application fee.... I am a single Mom--maybe that was a problem to them. So why did we get a rejection letter? I don't get it. Of course there is the vague explanation of the citeria: ''mostly'' age, gender, and availability and there just wasn't a spot for your child. I'm on wait lists, but otherwise don't have any options for my kid at this point. I really feel like I've let my daughter down terribly. Can anyone tell me about their preschool that they like that didn't require such judgment and hoop-jumping?
--''Selective'' isn't a compliment in my world.

You wouldn't think getting into nursery school would be like getting into a top college, would you? But that's what it felt like to us when my son was rejected at one of the preschools we applied to and waitlisted at the other three! We hadn't thought we'd need to apply to more than four! Like you, we were diligent in researching and applying, and there's nothing wrong with our kid. Some of the schools didn't take him because they had too many boys that year; one of them filled most of its class with younger siblings. We ended up applying to, and being accepted at, a preschool we hadn't considered originally, mostly because it required kids to be potty-trained when they started and our son hadn't shown a lot of promise in that arena. (As it turned out, having a deadline to get him trained was the best thing that could have happened--it was much faster and easier than we'd expected!) We ended up loving that preschool and being so glad that he didn't get into our original choices!

Anyway, don't give up hope. There are lots of good preschools in the Berkeley area, and not all of them are oversubscribed. I really don't think being a single mom would count against you (and if it did, would you want to be part of that school community anyway?). Good luck! Glad my son was a ''reject''

Everything will be okay.

It's been quite a while (7 years) since we went through the preschool process and the landscape may have changed, but for what it's worth:

When it came time to find a preschool for my daughter, I refused to even look at any ''selective'' schools. I ruled out schools that wanted me to pay for a tour, or tell me what kind of diapers I'd have to use if my kid was still in diapers when she started, etc.

We ended up placing our daughter at Beth El preschool in Berkeley. We're not Jewish, and it wouldn't have occurred to me to consider it if a Jewish friend who had her kids there hadn't urged me to. Our daughter (and her parents) had three _wonderful_ years there in the classroom, on the playground, and the many birthday parties and holiday celebrations where the whole community came together. Now our daughter sees many of her preschool friends every summer at Camp Kee Tov and we still have friends we met there. The Jewish education part of the curriculum was wonderfully enriching even though it wasn't our faith. (I came to look forward to the weekly Friday Shabbat, where we sang and shared challah made by the kids.) There was also great extended day care which we used four days a week.

I can't speak to the current situation at Beth El. I know preference is given to synagogue members, and I'm sure that _some_ sizing up of the parents and kids goes on, but ''applying'' there didn't feel at all like being judged or jumping through hoops. There were single-parent families, gay families, adoptive families, bi-racial kids, bi- (and tri-) lingual families. If it makes geographical sense, check them out. Or look at other community schools.

Don't despair. There are lots of wonderful preschool communities out there that would welcome you and your daughter. Good luck! Rosemary

If your child is under 3, try Berkeley Hills Nursery School. There were opening last week in the younger childrens program. Our son has been going for 2 1/2 plus years. We love this school and the community is great. I don't think you will get the attitude I have seen at other preschools and that you just encountered. Good luck. Jennifer

Everything will be ok. Don't take it so personally that your child was rejected. Preschools in the Bay Area are very hard to get into. Almost all of them have waitlist. They all use various methods to decide which child gets into their school. Often it's just a lottery system. And even if you try to get in under ''diversity'' catagory, they still have to do a lottery because there are so many diverse/interesting families in the Bay Area.

All parents have to take time off work, pay non-refundable appl. fees and jump through all the hoops just to apply to preschools. You have to expect to get rejected. It's just the way it is. That's why families apply to multiple schools just in case.

Keep going and don't let it get you so down! It's really not that big of a deal. Leslie

I would recommend you apply to a couple of other pre-schools and get on wait-lists. I suspect that you applied to a pre- school that has an elementary school component, which is a bit different than a pre-school that has no such component. My son got into a great pre-school without an elementary school component, but only by sheer determination and flexibility on my part. I kept calling regularly, and took a spot as soon as it was offered. With regard to the selection process of some pre-schools/private elementary schools: who really knows what goes through their minds, when the selection committee does their evaluation. I certainly hope that no inappropriate considerations are put into the mix! My son was put on a wait- list for a private school with a pre-school/elementary school component, and I have filed it away - my son's first rejection letter! Yipee!

I would suggest you just keep plugging away and keep positive. There are a bunch of great pre-schools out there that have great administrators, parents, and kids. I would also suggest you head over to 1515 Clay Street, 11th Floor, Oakland, and check the licensing files of any pre-school you are thinking of sending your daughter to, since pretty veneers don't always equate to safe environments.

We applied to 4 preschools, weren't accepted to any

April 2004

We applied to four Berkeley preschools in (we thought) plenty of time for admission next September, when my son will be three. (We applied to our top choice a year ago, when he was only 1-1/2!) We have now gotten one rejection letter, two wait lists, and one has not replied but we gather we are not on the ''A'' list.

We are very disheartened and not sure what to do next. I will keep calling the wait-listed schools, and hopefully we'll get into one of them, but I guess we need to look for alternatives. Does anyone have any useful suggestions on what to say to them? ''My son didn't get into any of the preschools we applied to, so we're hoping you'll be our safety school, although of course we'll abandon you if one of our top choices lets us in'' doesn't strike quite the right note.

Specific suggestions of Berkeley preschools that offer the option of full days (9:30-5) and that are looking for boys would be welcome, as well as general strategic advice. Rejected and dejected

Because of the minimal compensation, long hours, and lack of respect for grownups who work with kids, there are never enough high quality places to serve all the kids that need/want care, particularly in more urban areas. Please remember too that this is your opportunity to practice skills you will need later--patience, humility, and a sense of humor about the whole process. After this comes getting a spot in a kindergarten, middle school, high school, and then college so it's best not to obsess about where your kid will be, which teacher they will get, etc. I've seen parents really go nuts about this.

Try not to be discouraged and please don't take it personally. When we were looking in Berkeley for infant care many years ago, this happened to me. I knew which date I needed to return to work and I was starting to panic about not having a place for my son because we were wait listed several places.

Also, caregivers can spot an obsessive/compulsive parent a mile away so try not to call to often to see where you are on the list. Think of it as a job search. It's a numbers game and the more places you apply to, the more chance you have of getting in somewhere. You are also beginning to cultivate a positive relationship with the 3-4 places where your child may attend so be respectful and courteous to the people who work there (but don't grovel).

There are a lot of nurturing, kind people who work with kids and many fine preschools. Trust me, no place is perfect. They all have good and bad points (even the ones everyone is dying to get into).

BTW, we did eventually get a spot just before I had to go back to work and it worked out fine but it was stressful playing the waiting game. anon

We were in the same position last year--except that we got rejected or wait-listed at six preschools! It was so very frustrating. How old is your son? you say he'll be 3 in September--is that the month of his birthday, or will he have turned 3 earlier in the year? I ask because in my experience, preschools first fill up with kids who turn 3 earlier in the year. If he is just turning 3 in Sept., you may need to widen your search and include schools that have toddler programs, or even consider a 2- year-old program.

Next, take heart. Lots of changes occur over the summer. Lots. People move away, change their minds, get into their first choice schools. So places do crop up over the summer. Keep calling, keep friendly, and don't give up.

Finally, we ended up in a school I had not looked into on my first round of preschool searching, and we absolutely love it! It was almost accidental how we ended up there, but it could not be a better place for my son. He is blooming. What I mean to say is that your first choice may be great, but there are lots of great schools in Berkeley, and it's worth looking into some that were originally furtherr down your list. You may find a great match where you did not expect to find it. Good luck to you. Carolyn

Last year I didn't get my son into any of the preschools that I wanted. I was a bit frantic over the summer. I called all the wait-list places about every 3 weeks, and applied late to as many places as I could. I even applied to some I had not toured - I got on wait lists with the understanding that I would tour and decide if I was called. Most places didn't charge an application fee in that situation. The strategy worked, I got into a great school that I hadn't applied to in the first round. I also expanded my geographic area in the process. I received FIVE offers of spots in the two weeks before school started -- including my first choice which I rejected! I'm sure you'll find a program. Good luck. Been there

Have you tried Beth El Nursery School at Vine and Arch? I know they have openings in the 4 yr old class, but I'm not sure about the 3 year old class (and the 2 year old class is definitely full). It's a great school, my daughter is in her 3rd year and we love the teachers and curriculum. Good luck!