The Cycle | December 11, 2012
>>> so you just heard how the u.s. continues to fall behind china and according to new numbers out today that goes for education, as well. unsurprisingly. eighth graders in the u.s. now rank ninth in math and tenth in science, well behind south korea and singapore. as many of you know, i have a daughter. she's about to start kindergarten and i'm worried about a decent school and a place to get her started on the right path and navigating application process, it is absolutely insane. we have essays, interviews, meetings. lots and lots of paperwork and keep in mind i'm doing this with a 4-year-old. for kindergarten.
>> i can't even imagine what it's like for her getting in to college so the idea of a tv show is to help you with the problems and me with my problems, too.
>> that's the idea?
>> why not.
>> okay. so we booked kim vilasio, former applications director and author of "from preschool to grad school , strategies for success at any level of competitive admissions." so, kim , what are sort of the top keys for getting in to a school , really, at any level?
>> well, the top advice is to find a school that's a great fit. i think that most parents and most students if they're aplaying to grad school focused on getting in to the school with the best rankings they think gives them the best chance of success but what's likely to give a student the best chance at success is finding a school that aligns with their interests, a place where they can find friends who they will love spending time with and faculty who they'll love, a place to really thrive. that's what students should be looking for.
>> okay. so for grade school in particular, what should we be looking for as we're looking at schools, a bit more specifically, and once our child is in a school , how do we know it's a good fit?
>> well, during the application process, one thing that you should be looking for is a teaching style and a culture where your child can thrive. if your child is enjoying being up and experiencing things and very active, probably a bad idea to send your child to a school focusing at sitting at a desk all day but if your child sits stills and a school emphasizes that, that might be a great fit for your child . when you're looking at the younger ages, the other thing is a great fit for the family so as a family do your family values align with the cultural values of the school ? do you meet other parent who is you think you would get along well with?
>> yeah, kim , let's talk about the lower grade levels . i have a 5-year-old and a 3 1/2-year-old and one of the things we saw as he sort of play date admissions sort of deals where you just throw the kids in a room and they play with the other kids and the admissions director and teachers roaming around and my wife and i are like, what are they looking for? what are they testing on here? like, what should we be trying to look for and get out of in these situations?
>> well, it's difficult for the schools to assess where children are at ages that young. you know, at ages 3 and 4, your child is really still a toddler. some kids at home with mom and grand mom their live and other children in day care since they were very young so part of what the schools are looking for is to determine how well does the child separate from the parents? does the child play nicely with other kids? can the child sit in structured activities like circle time and get a sense of how ready the child is for the classroom environment offered at that school .
>> kim , maybe this is just something that new englanders have grown up hearing but there is this idea that, you know, getting in to the right preschool means you then get in to the right prep school and then get in to the right college. please, for krystal 's sake, debunk this mythology for us.
>> and then you have the right life.
>> yes, of course. of course, of course. it is all toward having the right life.
>> unfortunately, there's some truth to that.
>> here's why. it's because the very best schools don't have very many spots and what happens is, you know, if you have a kindergarten, for example, to admit 30 students, well, if they had a preschool, chances are 70% to 90% of the students admitted in to that kindergarten went to the preschool beforehand.
>> there may be very few spaces for kids just applying out of the blue and siblings. a lot of times getting a school starting potentially at ninth grade and potentially half of those spots could already be gone or already be earmarked for the siblings of children at that school .
>> krystal , earmarked your unborn.
>> we're host all the way around.
>> you know, kim , i don't have any kids but i care about toure's and krystal 's.
>> that's nice.
>> thinking about what you said and identified there's a squeeze just in terms of, you know, okay, you're in the right kindergarten. you need the right grade school and high school and something else that jumps out at me and all the stories of people with wealth and people with family connections. the story that always jumps out is donald trump 's son-in-law. he used to be my boss i guess. but this is a story that --
>> nothing to do with the story.
>> always bothered me. there was a chapter in a book written about how he got in harvard and basically they said academically unqualified and the father gave money to harvard and gets in to harvard and thinking of whether it east krystal 's kid or toure's kid but does the right things growing up to position themselves in to harvard , how big of a problem is it buying a way in or legacies, you know, the children of alumni and maybe not that qualified, how many spots are they eating up from people who should be taking them?
>> well, i don't think it's a huge problem because, frankly, i don't think most people have millions and millions of dollars to contribute to top schools. the truth is schools do survive based on, you know, how large their endowments are. schools can't improve their programs, private schools can't, without the funds to be able to, you know, create state of the art facilities, to hire top-notch teacher talent and in that way they care about whether alumni are contributing the school . i won't say that that hasn't made a difference in some cases but overall i think schools need to maintain the integrity of the academic rigor of the classes because they need their alumni to do well.
>> all right. kim , thanks for helping me out.
>> thank you.
>>> up next, the close talker. the drunk. the angry spouse. the liquor-fueled love festive. how not to act at an office party.