Admission Process FAQs
Is an application required to take a tour of Riverdale?
No. You may attend a Lower School Parent Group Tour or a Middle or Upper School Open House prior to completing an application. These tours and visits are optional.
When are Tours/Open Houses held?
Lower School Tours are held in the fall (for Pre-Kindergarten through Grade Five). Please note that tours are not available on the day of the student's interview at the Lower School.
Middle and Upper School The Middle and Upper School Admission Office offers Open Houses in October and November. Open Houses include a campus tour, brief presentations by the Head of School and Division Heads, and a student/faculty panel.
What can we expect on the day of the interview?
Lower School The Lower School holds interviews from mid-October through early January. We schedule a 45-minute period for each candidate entering Kindergarten through Grade 5. This visit is designed as a one-on-one to get to know your child. During this time, your child will have approximately 30 minutes with a member of our Admission team. We also meet with the parents or guardians who accompany the child to the interview. This is an opportunity for the adults to ask questions and/or share information about their child. We have a comfortable, supervised waiting room for the children while the parents meet with the interviewer. The visit for applicants entering PreKindergarten is scheduled for 1 hour and 15 minutes and combines both a group experience with the one-on-one interview. The Lower School Parent Group Tours are available in the fall on separate days from the candidate's interview.
Middle and Upper School The Middle and Upper School Admission Office offers interview appointments from the beginning of October through mid-January. We schedule a 45-minute period for each candidate entering Grades 7-12. During this time, your child will have approximately 30 minutes with a member of our Admission team. We also spend 15 minutes with the parents or guardians who accompany the child to the interview. This is an opportunity for the adults to ask questions and/or share information about their child. When prospective families are on campus for their interview appointments, they may take a student-led tour of the Middle and Upper School campus. The visit for applicants entering Grade 6 is scheduled for 2 hours and 45 minutes, as it involves a group assessment process (1 hour and 30 minutes) and an optional tour (1 hour and 15 minutes).
What are the typical entry grade levels?
Lower School Entry points in the Lower School are Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten. Entry to grades one through five is based on attrition, but we encourage all interested families to submit an application.
Middle and Upper School The major entry points in the Middle and Upper Schools are at grade six and grade nine. In grade six, we add 18-20 new students, and in grade 9, we enroll 40 new students. We also admit 8-10 students in grade 7. Admission into all other grades is based on attrition, but we encourage all interested families to submit an application.
Is there a birthdate cut-off for applicants to the Lower School?
Riverdale carefully considers the many dimensions of a balanced elementary classroom when creating a class, including gender, personality, diversity, ability, and age range. The birthdate range of September 1st to September 1st typically works well for our program. However, we pay close attention to each child's development and we are happy to discuss your child's placement at the time of the student interview. We encourage open and honest dialogue between prospective families and the Admission team.
Please refer to the chart below for appropriate grade level/date of birth placement:
Birthdate Range for 2017-2018 Academic Year
Does Riverdale offer financial aid?
Yes. Need-based financial aid is available to students in Pre Kindergarten through grade twelve.
What is Riverdale looking for?
Through the admission process, we try to create an interesting and diverse group of students who come from a variety of backgrounds and each bring their own unique set of skills and talents. We hope to enroll students who will excel in the academic work, but more importantly, we want the members of our community to contribute something else to our school. They should be eager to learn and should appreciate the opportunity to develop as part of a community or team, rather than just on their own.
What is the application process for international applicants?
Our application process for international students is the same as it is for all other applicants. We do not require the TOEFL but do require that students take the appropriate testing for the grade they wish to enter. Please note that we do require all applicants to come to campus for a one-on-one interview with a member of the Admission team or a faculty interviewer. We are not able to conduct interviews on Skype.
Prospective families should complete the application process on their own. We do not require that you work with an agency. However, we are able to write I-20 visas. This will be done once a student has enrolled at the school.
Please note that Riverdale is a day school. We are not able to provide housing for any of our students. We certainly encourage international students who are planning to move to the New York metropolitan area with their families or who have secured their own housing through relatives or friends to apply to the school.