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Hackley or Rye Country Day?

happydance22happydance22 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
What are your thoughts about Hackley vs Rye Country Day? Our daughter will be starting kindergarten at one or the other this fall. If we are lucky enough to be accepted at both (we will know in a few weeks and I have been told by many sources that she could be accepted to both) which would you recommend and why? We love both schools and have visited both several times. We feel that either will give her an excellent education but would love any candid insider or local perspectives. We are not from the area originally so we only know the schools from what we have seen in person and from speaking to faculty and staff, who have left us with nothing but strong impressions about both schools. We don’t want to have to go through the trouble of switching our kids to another school later on so we would love to choose a school that we will hopefully be happy with all the way through high school graduation. What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of each school. What sets each school apart? What is the local reputation for each? Are there any stereotypes? I want to hear it all, good or bad. We would also consider writing a “first choice” letter if that makes a difference. I’m not sure it would be wise in our case though since at the moment we feel both are excellent options. I also hear that neither are as competitive as the New York City schools for kindergarten acceptance and that these letters are not the norm outside of the city, but please correct me if anyone thinks otherwise. Thanks!
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Replies to: Hackley or Rye Country Day?

  • rukthecookrukthecook Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    I've personally visited RCDS, and while the facilities are great, it seems to me that the diversity is lacking. Compared to the other schools that I've visited this admissions season (Trinity, Dalton, HM, etc.), RCDS has been the school with the least diverse community. I believe the school has a 24% minority rate, which is definitely subpar compared to many other schools in NYC.
    You are right when you say that it isn't as competitive as some of the NYC schools, but from what I've heard, Kindergarten admission at those schools are crazy and just overall very stressful, but again, this is just word of mouth so please take it with a grain of salt.
    Good luck to your daughter, and I hope you have a great 2018!
  • GMC2918GMC2918 Registered User Posts: 912 Member
    I don't know much about RCDS, but Hackley is a "hot" school now for NYC kids applying for high school. I also have two friends with kids there, both in MS though, and they're very happy with it.
  • happydance22happydance22 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    edited January 14
    Thanks for this feedback, rukthecook! Yes the whole kindergarten application process has been much more involved than when I applied to colleges! I do think that Hackley seems more diverse and diversity is extremely important to us. That said, we spoke with the director of diversity at RCDS and they are definitely making an effort to change the numbers there. One of the two kindergarten teachers there is African American and that was great to see. That said, the diverse student body at Hackley made a tremendous impression on us. The classrooms we visited included children of families from every part of the world. Beautiful.
  • happydance22happydance22 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    Thanks for your input, GMC2918. I suspected exactly what you said. There were a lot of families from the city at the open house and I keep hearing about how brutal the application process is for the NYC schools so this makes perfect sense. My husband and I both work in the city so we do like that Hackley seems to have more of a connection to the city than RCDS, not only through it’s students but also through things like their charity work (food donations to places in NYC) RCDS seems more connected to the Rye area. We actually live closer to RCDS so that’s a plus for RCDS but I’m beginning to think that there are other things that might put Hackley ahead for us.
  • judbeeskijudbeeski Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    edited January 14
    I am familiar with both schools based on comments from friends looking at day schools in that part of the world. Their kids ended up going away to boarding schools, so I have nothing specific to share about being a student at either Hackley or RCD b ut am happy to share what I do know. Here goes: Both schools have fine reputations and are academically sound. Both have lovely campuses. Hackley is near the more artsy, upbeat Tarrytown and RCD has a more affluent Westchester/Fairfield County, CT vibe to it. Both have good exmissions. I know that Hackley has students who come up from the city. Hackney also has (or at least used to have a few yrs ago when my friends were looking at the schools) a program where kids who live kind of far to commute can actually live on campus during the week as well so is a bit of boarding school lite. Look at the social media of both schools and the writings of the Admissions offices. That is where you get a real feel for the difference btw them both. Hackley just *seems* to take itself a tad less seriously (which some people like and others may not). The two two schools are fine places to get an education. Best of luck!
  • happydance22happydance22 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    edited January 14
    Thanks for your reply, judbeeski. I hadn't thought to take a closer look at the social media of each school to get a better "feel" for each school so I especially appreciate that bit of advice and will certainly do so. They still have the 5-day boarding option.
  • melvin123melvin123 Registered User Posts: 1,139 Senior Member
    I don't have anything to add about these two schools, just wanted to say that back in the day I did a 5 day boarding program and I think it's the best of all worlds. You cut out all the wasted commuting time, get to know your teachers better, have more organized study time, and yet you only have a 5 day week and get to go home for the weekends.
  • happydance22happydance22 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    Thanks, melvin124. I’m intrigued by the 5 day boarding program... how is it that you have more organized study time? I’ve always wondered about that with boarding schools in general. When you live at home, some parents are very involved in getting their children to study or helping with homework or even provide tutors, and some parents are very hands off and let the children be completely self directed... how is there more structure to your study time after school when you live at school?
  • melvin123melvin123 Registered User Posts: 1,139 Senior Member
    At my school we had dinner from 5:30-6 and then mandatory library from 6-9. You could study more back in your room if you wanted/needed to. It was also easier to be peer-tutored because other kids were around for more hours so more availability. Also our dorm mother was one of the teachers and was able to help us, and it was easier to arrange study help with the other teachers in the morning before school started.
  • happydance22happydance22 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    edited January 15
    Thanks! That's all very interesting and I understand better now what you were saying. Good to know!
  • happydance22happydance22 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    This is an old thread but in case anyone stumbles upon it, just FYI we are reapplying this year for kindergarten again. We were told our daughter was on the young side and would have been the youngest in the class. The director of admissions was kind enough to explain this to us and has encouraged us to reapply this coming fall.
  • privateschool21privateschool21 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    I think you should pick the one closest to your house for social purposes for your child. RCDS is amazing anyway!
  • letsgonowletsgonow Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Honestly, before we left Hackley, my child would tell me it was not uncommon to see a student asleep in class.Maybe the buildings were just hot and the material was presented in a dry manner, but might expand your search a bit.
  • owlfoxmama9owlfoxmama9 Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    They are both good schools, and since you're applying for kindergarten you have plenty of time to see how it goes and change to another if you feel your daughter's experience is not what you want. I recommend re-assessing at the end of elementary and the end of middle school. Good luck!
  • happydance22happydance22 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    edited May 14
    Letsgonow- This is the first I’ve heard of this regarding Hackley but I certainly appreciate an insider’s perspective. Where are your kids now (if you are comfortable answering) You suggested I expand my search but we are trying to stay within a 20 min drive since she is so young and only just starting kindergarten. Are there other schools in Westchester County that you recommend for kindergarten? I know some parents put their 5 year olds on a bus to go from the city to Hackley but I just can’t see myself doing that for any school at her age so city schools are out for us.
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