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How do you manage conflicting time lines of private school acceptance and gifted program acceptance? Can I hold a spot at a private school while I wait to hear from the gifted programs?

In New York City, all of the private schools send out their acceptances on the same day making it easy to commit because they all have the same deadline.  However, the public gifted and talented programs send out their acceptances much later.  In other cities, private schools do not necessarily mail acceptances on the same day, but they do tend to make their decisions before the public schools.

Let’s say your child gets into a private school, but you’d rather see her go to your local TAG program if accepted.  First, check the private school’s contract to learn your rights and responsibilities.  These contracts differ but most require a non-refundable deposit to hold a space.  Go ahead and make the deposit.  In most cases (but not all, so read the contract), there is first deadline by which you’ll owe half the tuition if you don’t tell the private school that your child isn’t going to attend.  Then, there is a second deadline by which you’ll owe the entire tuition if you don’t give notice that your child isn’t coming.  Hopefully, you’ll find out that your child was accepted to the TAG program before that first deadline and only lose your initial deposit.  That will hurt, but may be worth it since your child will get a free public school education at an excellent school.  If the public school doesn’t tell you until after the first or second deadline, you’ll have to decide if it’s worth paying the tuition to take advantage of that free TAG spot.

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