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The Fab Mom: Advice For Parents On Los Angeles Private School Admissions

Private-school admission and rejection letters are typically distributed mid-March for Los Angeles area schools. According to Private School Review, there are almost 2,000 private schools in the L.A. area, with approximately 200,000 total students attending.

Private School Review also cites that admission rates hover around 80 percent. However, these numbers can be misleading and falsely encouraging to parents, simply because of the inclusion of Catholic and other religious schools included in these numbers, as religious-based schools often have higher acceptance rates.

Christina Simon, author of "Beyond the Brochure: An Insider's Guide to Private Elementary Schools in Los Angeles" provides Southern California parents with ongoing, detailed information for navigating the competitive private-school application and admissions process. According to Simon, about 15 percent of families send their children to private schools; this includes Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Pasadena. For Beverly Hills, the percentage jumps to 25 percent of children attending private schools.

Independent schools are private, nonprofit schools. In the L.A. area, there are 61 independent and about 10 for-profit schools. In the Pasadena area, there are about 40 independent schools. These numbers are from LA Area Association of Independent Schools at

What does all of this mean? Being admitted into a private school not affiliated with religious teachings is extremely competitive. The process can often be stressful for parents and children. Simon's advice rarely veers away from "stay calm."

Should certain acceptance letters not happen, here are a few tips for parents:

  • Do not get angry and depressed. This is easier said than done, but your child will notice and mirror your feelings.
  • Do not harass school admissions. It will not benefit your child or influence a change in any way.
  • Do ... celebrate! No matter what school admits your child, even if it's not a first or second choice, find something positive about and congratulate your child so he/she can feel proud and excited.

What if you're wait-listed?

"If you get a letter saying you're wait-listed, call the admissions director immediately and tell them you are ready to send a deposit and enroll should a spot open immediately," Simon advises. She also cautions parents to not get angry, frustrated or send any kind of hostile emails to admissions staff, demanding a valid explanation for why your child might have been wait-listed. Simon also encourages a followup two to three weeks later. A detailed to-do list for handling wait-listed admissions can be found here.

Jill Simonian is a Parenting Lifestyle Contributor, appearing on CBS Los Angeles every Wednesday on News at 5pm and Friday mornings at 6:45am. Her personal blog is Follow Jill on Twitter @jillsimonian and connect with her on Facebook.

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