Dear Abacus Mom,

Which NYC private schools are the best?  Please tell me which schools are in the top-tier in your rankings.

Whether it’s parents reading my blog or my educational consulting clients, almost everyone wants to know which NYC private schools are the “best”.  They want to know my Manhattan, Brooklyn, Riverdale, and Westchester private school ranking.

Here’s the problem: best is subjective.  How do you define it?

In my experience, rightly or wrongly, many parents define best as tops in graduate admission to Ivy League colleges.

The problem with this definition, in my view, is that Ivy League admissions stats tell you more about the students (and their parents) than about NYC private schools.  As I commented in The Wall Street Journal after the publication of their high school rankings based upon admission to top colleges:

As an educational consultant, I help families get into the New York-area high schools on your list.  Every school cited is either elite private (taking only smart, top-performing students, often from well-connected, wealthy families), selective public (admitting only the highest achievers on standardized tests), or suburban public (accepting teens whose affluent, ambitious families can afford the high school taxes).  Of course these students will come out ahead in the college admissions race.

However, I do concede that top NYC private schools often have excellent college counseling, which certainly is an important factor in Ivy League college admissions.

I do rank Manhattan, Brooklyn, Riverdale, and Westchester private schools based upon their selectivity.  After twelve years in practice, with many of my clients admitted, I am well aware of what kinds of students–including ERB score, grades, and extracurricular activities–and what kinds of parents the most competitive schools, like Dalton, Collegiate, Trinity, and Brearley seek.  There is a strong correlation between private school selectivity, overall offerings and college admissions stats.  This is the information that I share with my private clients, as I help them present themselves to private schools in the best possible light. For help in 2011-2012, eglickman(at) or 212-712-2228, and hurry please as my schedule will be filled.