This Day, Last Year: How I Survived Nursery Admissions In Delhi-NCR As A Mom

How it all beganComing from another part of the country where the admission process starts a little later and the procedure is entirely different, I was totally blank whenever my family started talking about school admissions in general. One fine day, when the Chief Minister made a startling announcement, much to the relief of parents, that no more personal interviews would be conducted for Nursery Admissions and the process would start on January 1- it hit me hard and I realised I needed to do my homework before D-day. It did help immensely that my child’s playschool principal had sent us all a handwritten list of various schools in our area with contact details with her recommendations. Some schools have an online submission process, so make sure starting from the address and id proof to an affidavit claiming your girl child is your first born, you need to have soft copies ready for all the documents. How I survived the 22-day admission windowThe admission window was open for 22 days, so I made sure I spaced it out properly between various schools. Peer pressureI also had a group of mommy friends and was a part of parents’ forum, where we used to discuss the admission process every day at my child’s playschool.
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January 2nd is here! The big rat race for getting your little kids into the Nursery classes of prestigious schools begins today officially! Delhi parents, get used to DoE, circulars, affidavit and other weird terms becoming a part of your lingo for the next few months! As I sit here on a Monday morning, relaxing with a cuppa coffee as my child enjoys her winter break from school, my mind quickly rewinds, a year back! A year ago, on January 1st, when the admission process started, it meant everything to me. Similar to this year, the dates and schedule were announced before and the points and other criterion were uploaded a day or two before the commencement. The get, set were already done. It was time for GO!

How it all began

Coming from another part of the country where the admission process starts a little later and the procedure is entirely different, I was totally blank whenever my family started talking about school admissions in general. Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I was telling myself that I will know from the news channels and other friends when the mayhem would start. Ignorance, as they say, was not much of a bliss! One fine day, when the Chief Minister made a startling announcement, much to the relief of parents, that no more personal interviews would be conducted for Nursery Admissions and the process would start on January 1- it hit me hard and I realised I needed to do my homework before D-day.

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Project Admissions

I did what a typical millennial parent would do. Take out a new diary and name it Project Admission with my child's name on it! I started reading more about the nursery admission procedures in the city and realised that it required a consolidated and dedicated effort.

I had made sure I had a list of schools, neatly categorised. I had four columns – Schools that I hope to get admission into, schools that may accept my daughter (meaning the chances are a good 50%), schools that I will consider only as a last option and schools that I will not be applying to. It did help immensely that my child's playschool principal had sent us all a handwritten list of various schools in our area with contact details with her recommendations. That, helped me narrow down the various schools under the four categories.

Location- the ultimate decider

The location of your residence decides everything.  Your chances of getting a call from a school in your neighbourhood were supremely higher than your dream school that was far away. Make a list of the schools in your area and put them into the 4 categories as mentioned above. In my hurry- I literally missed out a school that was right opposite home until my friend subtly pointed out!

The next thing I did was to familiarise myself with the procedure for each school. Some schools have an online submission process, so make sure starting from the address and id proof to an affidavit claiming your girl child is your first born, you need to have soft copies ready for all the documents. I made sure I had a desktop folder with soft copies of every document. Some schools have the online process where after clicking the submit button, you would have to take a print out, paste the necessary photographs and then submit the forms in the school counter. And some schools have a complete offline application procedure. Also, there is also registration fee that some schools demand- it is only Rs. 25 but the modes of payment differ. Make sure you read the offer documents carefully before investing!

How I survived the 22-day admission window

The admission window was open for 22 days, so I made sure I spaced it out properly between various schools. I did not want to hurry up nor delay things till the last minute. I first applied to those schools that needed me to personally hand over the completed form- and this I covered area wise, to reduce the travel overlap. One thing that helped me immensely was a journal I maintained to keep a track of how I was faring with regard to the admission! The points system put up by various schools gave us an idea how we fared even before we clicked 'submit'! The experts say, for example, if you score 65+ points, you are assured of a call. And the bulk of this is given to location, alumni and siblings. Girl child was an extra preference and I thanked my lucky stars every time I got extra 5 points in all the schools! Also steer clear from the wrong information that tends to circulate within the parents' circle. Your educational background or your husband's educational background or your salaries are not taken into account according to the DoE notices. But sadly, there are a couple of famous schools that do not reveal much about their points criterion and instead rely on the family background. Do not pin your hopes solely on these schools and keep your options open.

Peer pressure

I also had a group of mommy friends and was a part of parents' forum, where we used to discuss the admission process every day at my child's playschool. It helps you keep a track of what school is in the news and what's not. But the number that some parents mention can also get intimidating at times! When the number of schools you apply to is a confident 6, you wouldn't want to know that your friend has applied to over 20 schools, to keep all their options open! I made sure, the numbers are different for each of us and the last thing I would want is for additional stress!

Don't forget your child amidst all the tension

In addition to everything said above- one crucial aspect of the admission process is to handle your child effectively during the entire period. The little play schoolers have no idea what's going on- ad when things get little stressed out- we need to make sure we don't show it to them! Hopping between schools with a child is difficult, which is why I chose most of the school visits on days she was away at her playschool. My child's principal also beautifully stated how kids have no orientation about time- and how they misinterpret it. If you start talking to them about the new school, right from January, they are bound to lose interest in their current playschool or get confused, thinking it is the very next day! Just prepare your child a few days before, about how they are growing big and they would soon go to a 'big school'!

The final conquer!

As a parent, it amuses me to now realise how the very small things give us a lot of happiness. Seeing our child's name in the draw of lots and subsequently in the final list was like a mission successfully accomplished! The husband and I exchanged glances of victory, glee and satisfaction that did justice to the tension we endured in the last three months while applying to a more than a dozen schools in the city.

Stay calm, stay focused and remember- that the school admission is not the end of life!

Image source: Hindustan Times

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