This is from a personal experience and incremental learning which we underwent while trying to get our little daughter admitted to a school in Noida. Initially we were not panicky over the whole situations but after the some what initial unpleasant interactions, listening to fellow parents who were as pained, getting frustrated over the opaqueness of the whole process, we had to put our head down for a while and we started to think beyond the normal.
Both of us work at very reputed organization, at socially impressive steps of the rat-race corporate ladder (if anyone really cares), are young and honest, our offices are in Noida, we stay closer to Noida and so on. It seemed to us and our well-wishers that we would sail through but as you could imagine that it was definitely not very smooth.
So, cutting the crap, here’s my personal 10 point guide for fellow parents. This is just out of my head and there is no data but if we all collaborate and share our information (write a comment) then we can refine the points over time, making it more effective.
10 Point Guide
1. Plan early. Read blogs. Join discussion forums,www.nurseryadmissions.com is really good, collect information about dates/names of school/criteria etc. Having this information would help you to do those extra things like getting a lease-agreement etc.
2. Make a list of 10 schools and put them in order of your preference. I would suggest that you must try 10 and probably that is enough.
3. Working Parents + Day Care (Creche) doesn’t work. So if you can find a way to have your baby go to grand-parents then have it. If you can’t then plan for it and when you fill the form, mention that they go to grand-parents.
4. Parents’ educational qualifications count a lot. So if you have done a PG Diploma in HR while you were not doing much in life and are now a creative head of an Advt. Organization and think that writing PGDBM in HR is low-class then dump the thought and flaunt it. Schools love these things, probably because they are in education business, so mention all those courses esp if they are PG courses.
5. Schools do not understand corporates. So work-at-home is a sort of new-age thing for them, so be a little careful when you claim that you are mostly at home or at beach. Its always better to be a conformist and say that your work timing is 8 to 5.
6. Some professions do not work well. So if you are a lawyer, a media professional, a cop then you are not one of those good people around. Find a way to hide it. For example, an environmental civil lawyer is still a better one than a criminal lawyer. A safe way to portray would be to show your job as a dull-back office-insignificant one by adding necessary designations. So if you are a cop, say that you are posted at Head-Quarter’s PF Wing or some such crap. I know cops dont read blogs but you get the idea. If you are a business-man, then probably you can say that you are a consultant and so on.
7. Some Job functions doesn’t work well. One such job is Sales and Marketing. Somehow I have a sense that anyone who is into ‘Sales’ or into ‘Marketing’ is perceived as ‘Miss Chamko’ of ‘Chasme-baddur’ fame. In simpler words, if you are in ‘Marketing’, you might be looked down, more so from folks in Academia. Hide it. One advice would be to change your Job Designation, add something academic to it. For example, add ‘Research’ or ‘Analysis’ or some such crap. Try reading ‘Head of Marketing – North’ and then read ‘Head of Marketing Research – All regions’, somehow the later sounds more academic.
8. Stay in Noida. If you dont or can’t then get into a Rent-Lease agreement and claim that you are in Noida. Except Somerville which insists on interacting with you through ‘courier’, everyone else would need a proof only at the time of admission. They would accept ‘Rent Least Agreement’ as a valid proof.
9. This is a little tricky but dont behave with school as equals. You are not as equal as them and thats the reason they dont treat you one being equal. Always go with the assumption that anyone with whom you interact (more true for big brothers like DPS, Apeejay, Amity, Cambridge etc then the newer ones like Khaitaan which is really polite) is your school principal. Even the nursery teachers who would take your interview (yeah, I know it sucks when they ask you those big questions about parenting) would love you, if you bow a bit and wish them. Be submissive, Yes Mam Yes Sir. They love it.
10. It would be harsh to be know-all so I leave the last to you.
I know some of the schools are not going to like this list and I would really encourage them to being some open-ness to the whole system. Its really a painful exercise for a Kid and parents and one thing with which we can all benefit is getting some transparency.
All the best and good luck !!!