West Side Rag » More siblings will get priority for college admissions — but is it fair for only children?

Posted April 22, 2022 12:54 PM by West Side Rag

MS 54, Booker T Washington, 103 W 107th St, via NYC DOE.

By Julia Stern

During a District 3 Community Education Committee (CEC3) meeting earlier this month on Zoom, Department of Education (DOE) officials outlined plans to expand sibling priority in college admissions to keep families together.

Attending the meeting were Superintendent Christine Loughlin, Director of Enrollment Sarah Kleinhandler, Executive Director Amy Basile and Senior Director of College Admissions Matthew Broggini.

Mr Broggini explained that before this new expansion, only applicants who were siblings of current sixth-graders would receive sibling priority. Now, in schools where the senior year is eighth grade, the DOE has expanded the priority to college applicants with siblings in sixth or seventh grade.

For schools continuing through twelfth grade, college applicants with siblings in grades six through eleven are now given priority.

Priority applies to full siblings, half-siblings, step-siblings and adoptive siblings residing in the same household as the applicant.

The new policy covers the current admissions cycle for the 2022-2023 school year.

During the Q&A portion of a meeting, one parent asked, “Are there any ideas about how prioritizing retention of college siblings affects diversity and equity ?”

Broggini said exact data isn’t currently available, but the elimination of selection criteria and reliance on the lottery system has allowed schools to better reflect the diversity of the district. He said the DOE remains committed to fair practices, but did not provide data on whether expanding sibling priorities would limit diversity.

Another parent worried that the new sibling priority expansion would put children without siblings at a disadvantage and jokingly asked to start a support group for her only child navigating the admissions process. This parent also expressed frustration with the change in policy after college applications closed, as he was unaware of the new expansion during the application process.

The meeting ended with another parent describing how demoralizing this year of college admissions was. “It feels like The Hunger Games,” she said.

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