The Dalton School » NYC Private School Offer

Hello all! In February, I was offered admission at The Dalton School in Manhattan. I live in New Jersey, so my best options here were two magnet high schools, where I was accepted into recently. I applied to Dalton after hearing about it, I basically applied for fun to see whether I would be accepted or not, and being the only private school I applied to, I was accepted! Currently, I am debating between the local magnet high school and Dalton. I’m curious to know what attracts some of you to Dalton? What is so special about Dalton? What have you heard about it? The social life, kids, culture, etc.?

are you going to commute??? It will be hard. Also, the upper east side scene might be a bit out of your comfort zone.

Yes, I will commute, although commute isn’t that difficult from where I live in NJ. It’s actually very close to Manhattan.

I would say if you have a strong personality and you don’t care about what other people think about you, you should go. The resource Dalton can give u is much better than any public schools. It is just the culture which might shock you. If you can survive socially, it is a great choice.

What do you mean? Do you mind explaining how the culture?

Waze the drive when you would leave int he morning and do the same on google maps the time you would go home, on a regular week. I don’t think that Dalton has a bus to NJ but with traffic the drive can take much longer than you would think.

it might be from Jersey city that part or fort lee… which is just cross the bridge.

it means most of children are lifers and from the same social circle. You are will be an outsider. They might have a social circle which you will never get in. To them, you are invisible. Their parents won’t even bother to talk to your parents. You might have to hang out few kids who are all outsiders. Are you ok with that? Long story short: you might have a hard time to find your own social niche and hate to be ignored by a lot of people there.

Getting to and over the bridge and down the east side to the 80s can take an hour, and the traffic has been increasing over the past few weeks. This is why most kids from bergen go to the hill schools or DE

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Any personal stories and things you’ve heard about Dalton? How about the academic culture?

not really. if from jersey city and fort lee, the commute is nothing. Path from jersey to Manhattan is like 15-20 mins, then take subway to dalton, not bad.

I don’t go there, but my kids were at a similar school with the same culture. comparing to dalton, all boarding schools (even the most prestigious ones ) are relatively diverse and inclusive. Schools like dalton, trinity, collegiate, spence etc are concentrated by rich/ultra rich people from upper east side. Schools like deerfield, hotchkiss groton are just upper middle class schools compared to them. Once you have a high concentration of wealth. What do you expect??

I do the commute from an area near Ft Lee on a daily basis, I wish it was a 15 minute ride. Jersey City may be different.

OP, I know kids who go to both Dalton and to the Bergen county magnet schools. All work hard and have varying experiences. They all have long days and long commutes. If your parents can afford Dalton and you don’t mind the commute it is an exceptional experience with small classes and excellent resources you won’t have anywhere else. There are many kids from upper middle class families in NYC that now attend due to the changes in NYC public schools and kids on scholarships so it is no longer only super rich upper east side kids. It sounds like you have two excellent choices.


Parent of two kids who recently graduated from Dalton. Great experience for both. Please DM if you’d like.


yes, I was talking about jersey city

upper middle class in NYC is a pre tax income of 1-2 million lol

Dalton’s college matriculation list might be worth viewing. It appears to be among the most impressive anywhere (with good representation at Ivies, NESCACs and Claremonts, for example), while still being sufficiently varied (Carleton, U Puget Sound) to be interesting.

Dalton is a very strong school but it’s matriculation data “benefits” significantly from leveraging the legacy status of parents. Kids are pushed to apply ED to schools where they have legacy status. This effect is magnified by the SOS of the parents and the NYC professions of the parents which historically recruited from elites.

The impact of this phenomenon works against students who don’t have legacy status as they get “squeezed out” by those that do.

A NJ magnet school like Bergen Academies may on its face have slightly worse absolute stats (based on class size) but afford the unhooked candidate a better “merit” based opportunity at no cost.

In practical terms either school can provide a path to any and all elite colleges. I think the decision should be based on fit.

I will grossly over generalize but at Dalton you will have kids jetting off to Aspen on winter weekends to ski while at a place like Bergen Academy kids will be working jobs at their first generation parents stores or restaurants. While clearly not every kid falls into these buckets the cultural distinctions between the schools are this dramatic. A significant proportion of Dalton kids are the children of C suite, I bankers, corporate lawyers, etc while BA draws an extremely diverse, first gen lower sos, highly competitive student body.

I would consider how you will feel in either community when making your decision.


Private schools in NYC offer incredible resources, and overall experience, to their students. My kid is at a similar private school in NYC, and the level of education, the involvement from teachers, and the support is just very impressive. My kid commutes daily and imo it’s worthwhile for the education. My child sees all the “money” around him in school, but is not bothered - so this particular issue will really depend on you, and whether you’ll be affected by money or not.

I knew a very advanced math kid who went to Dalton and was accepted to Harvard a few years ago. Anecdotal and sample of one, but thought I’d share (given your username).

Without knowing what your local magnet schools are, it’s hard to compare. E.g. is it Bergen Academy or is it McNair?

Good luck to you!

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