Prepping for the Playdate Test

Shelly Banjo:

Good eye contact, a firm handshake and self confidence can pave the way to a good interview. Turns out, that’s the case even if the applicant is 4 or 5 years old.
In the frenzy to get kindergarteners into the top private schools, parents are now hiring consultants to coach their children on the art of the interview.
For years, such preparations have been the norm for the standardized tests children must take to get into private schools, the so-called ERBs, which measure IQ and are administered by the Educational Records Bureau. But after a cottage industry devoted to test-prep materials and classes developed, parents say scoring in the top percentile or two became the norm rather than the exception; schools such as Horace Mann, Dalton and Collegiate began placing more emphasis on the interview and getting more granular in their assessments.
Since New York parents have a tendency to exaggerate their sons’ and daughters’ piano or French skills, admissions directors say they like to see any special talents with their own eyes.