Process, Important Dates, and Policies

Thank you for your interest in the Ethical Culture Fieldston School! While we acknowledge the challenging circumstances that we continue to experience, we are all the same excited to begin this journey with you and look forward to sharing what makes ECFS such a special school and community.

We place each of our applicants, from Pre-K through 12th Grade, at the center of our process, which informs all of the careful considerations we make when meeting and getting to know our prospective students and families. Please rest assured that — although this year's admissions cycle will unfold differently — we are deeply committed to maintaining our highest level of care in supporting you through the process and ensuring your experience is a meaningful one for you and your child, should you choose to apply.

Below, you will find the admissions requirements for each of our four divisions, including information about adjustments we've made to this year's process with the well being of our prospective students and families in mind.

If you have any questions, please contact us: Ethical Culture: (718) 329-7574/admissions-ethical@ecfs.org Fieldston Lower: (718) 329-7313/admissions-fieldston-lower@ecfs.org Fieldston Middle/Upper: (718) 329-7306/admissions-fieldston@ecfs.org

Click here to apply! Our application deadline for the 2021–2022 school year is Friday 11/20.

Click below to register for one of our fall information sessions!

Ethical Culture: Wednesday 10/7, 6:30–8:00pm & Wednesday 10/14, 6:30–8:00pm Fieldston Lower: Tuesday 10/13, 6:00–7:30pm & Tuesday 10/20, 6:00–7:30pm Fieldston Middle: Monday 10/5, 6:00–7:30pm Fieldston Upper: Tuesday 10/6, 6:00–7:30pm & Thursday 10/15, 6:00–7:30pm


Ethical Culture Fieldston School Admissions Process

Our formal admissions process begins with your application. Once you submit an application to ECFS, we will contact you about the next steps of your admissions process. See below for details on what to expect. 

Admissions decisions are communicated via email in February based on the ISAAGNY notification date schedule. For more information on ISAAGNY and why we are a proud member, please click here.


COVID-19 Updates for the 2021–2022 Application Cycle

COVID-19 has affected us all in a number of ways, and the admissions process is no exception, adding additional stress and uncertainty to an already complex process. The Admissions team here at ECFS has implemented the following changes that we hope will support our applicant families during this extraordinary time and help mitigate some of the challenges they may face:

  1. ECFS will adopt a test-blind policy for the ISEE and SSAT for the 2021–2022 admissions cycle. In light of the challenges regarding access to and availability of standardized testing due to COVID-19, ECFS is waiving our testing requirements for the 2021–2022 school year. Some of our families may not have the ability to or feel comfortable enough to take standardized tests at home, and others may not have access to testing sites or may be concerned about the safety of testing in person.  Equity in our process and the health and safety of our applicant families is of primary importance to us. We will revisit this policy for the 2022–2023 school year.

  2. We will require a graded writing sample for our applicants to Fieldston Middle and Fieldston Upper. For the 2021–2022 application cycle, we will require a graded English or history essay, preferably with teacher comments and the corresponding grading rubric.

  3. Virtual play assessments for our Pre-K and Kindergarten applicants. In lieu of our traditional playgroup assessments, we will conduct one-on-one virtual assessments with our Pre-K and Kindergarten applicants using Google Meet. These assessments will range from 20–40 minutes (depending on the grade to which you are applying) and should be low stress (and likely fun!) for your child.

  4. All admissions events will be virtual this year. We are proud of our beautiful campuses and school facilities and love welcoming prospective families to visit. However, to ensure the safety of our current students, faculty, and staff, we are unable to host in-person events this year. We look forward to the time we can welcome families back onto campus in the future. Our hope is to bring all admitted families to campus, conditions permitting. 


Ethical Culture Fieldston School Divisions

Ethical Culture Fieldston School is comprised of four divisions: Our two elementary divisions, Ethical Culture, located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and Fieldston Lower, located on the Fieldston campus in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, serve students in Pre-K through 5th Grade. The two elementary divisions feed into Fieldston Middle, serving students in 6th through 8th Grade, and Fieldston Upper, serving students in 9th through 12th Grade, which are both located on our Fieldston campus in the Bronx.


Regular Entry Points for Admission to ECFS

Pre-K—1st Grade

Ages requirements

Applicants for Pre-K must be four years old by September 1, 2021. Kindergarten applicants must be five years old by September 1, 2021. 1st Grade applicants must be six years old by September 1, 2021. 

Things You'll Need to Submit: Pre-K–1st Grade

  • Application

  • $100 application fee or fee waiver

  • School report form for Pre-K

  • School report form for Kindergarten and 1st Grade

Note: School reports and teacher recommendation requests can be initiated using our online application portal. If you require a PDF of a school report or teacher recommendation form, please contact our office. 

We do not require or accept standardized testing for Pre-K, K, and 1st Grade applicants.

Your Virtual Play Assessment: Pre-K–1st Grade

Regardless of which elementary division you’re applying to, all Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade* applicants will be scheduled for a virtual play assessment where they will engage in age-appropriate activities with one of our early childhood admissions assessors. Applicants are assessed one-on-one for 20–40 minutes (depending on grade) via Google Meet. Once you have submitted your application, we will reach out via email to schedule your child’s assessment and a parent interview.

*1st Grade applicants applying only to our Ethical Culture division will not be scheduled for a virtual play assessment as 1st Grade is an attrition-based entry point for that division. Families applying to 1st Grade who indicate on their application that they would like to be considered at both elementary divisions will be scheduled for a virtual play assessment. 


6th Grade and 9th Grade

Things You’ll Need to Submit: 6th Grade and 9th Grade

  • Application

  • $100 Application fee or fee waiver

  • School report form

  • Official school transcript

  • Graded English or history paper, preferably with teacher’s comments and corresponding grading rubric

  • Academic recommendations

  • One from a current teacher (6th Grade)

  • One from a current math teacher and one from a current English teacher (9th Grade)

Your Visit: 6th Grade and 9th Grade

Families applying to 6th Grade through 11th Grade will be invited to attend a required online interview conversation with a member of our admissions staff or faculty via Google Meet. We will reach out to schedule the interview conversation once your submitted application has been processed.

Note: School reports and teacher recommendation requests can be initiated using our online application portal. If you require a PDF of a school report or teacher recommendation form, please contact our office. We recognize the unusual nature of both this school year and last; if you would like to submit additional teacher recommendations for previous school years in addition to the required recommendations, we would welcome them.


Attrition-based Admission to ECFS

2nd–5th Grade

Things You’ll Need to Submit: 2nd Grade–5th Grade

  • Application

  • $100 application fee or fee waiver

  • School Report Form

  • Teacher Recommendation Form 

  • Official School transcript

Note: School reports and teacher recommendation requests can be initiated using our online application portal. If you require a PDF of a school report or teacher recommendation form, please contact our office. We recognize the unusual nature of both this school year and last; if you would like to submit additional teacher recommendations for previous school years in addition to the required recommendations, we would welcome them.

Your Visit: 2nd–5th Grade  

Parents/guardians of students applying to 2nd Grade through 5th Grade at Ethical Culture Fieldston School will be invited to attend a virtual event using Google Meet specifically for families applying to an attrition-based grade. During this event, families will learn more about the division to which they have applied, learn more about the attrition-based application process, and they will have the opportunity to virtually meet with lower school administrators, teachers, and members of the admissions team. If we anticipate a possible opening in the grade to which you are applying, we will schedule a virtual parent interview and your child will be invited to schedule a one-on-one assessment via Google Meet. 


7th–8th Grade, 10th–12th Grade

Things You’ll Need to Submit: 7th–8th Grade, 10th–12th Grade

  • Application

  • $100 application fee or fee waiver

  • School Report Form

  • Official School Transcript

  • Graded English or history paper, preferably with teacher’s comments and corresponding grading rubric

  • Academic recommendations, one each from a current math teacher and a current English teacher

Note: School reports and teacher recommendation requests can be initiated using our online application portal. We recognize the unusual nature of both this school year and last; if you would like to submit additional teacher recommendations for previous school years in addition to the required recommendations, we would welcome them.

Your Visit: 7th–8th Grade, 10th–12th Grade

Families applying to 7th and 8th Grade and 10th–12th Grade will be contacted to schedule an interview via Google Meet if we anticipate openings in the grade to which they are applying. 


Sibling, Alumni, and Faculty/Staff Applicants

Sibling, alumni, and faculty/staff applicants are given special consideration during the admissions process. We strive to keep families together at ECFS. However, due to the sheer quantity of applications we receive, admission is not automatic nor guaranteed. All applicants (regardless of prior family connection to the school) are evaluated according to the same criteria, and all admission decisions consider the best interest of each individual child. It is wonderful that the number of sibling, alumni, and faculty/staff families applying to ECFS continues to increase. While we value ECFS’s community of siblings, alumni, and faculty/staff, we are also committed to providing access to new families whose values and goals reflect the school’s mission.

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