Process, Important Dates, and Policies

Choosing a school for your child can be a daunting challenge, so we want to make it as easy and streamlined for you as possible. If there is any point during this process when we can answer any question, alleviate any worries, or illuminate any part of our program, please do not hesitate to reach out.

We may not be the right school for every child or every family, but we hope that during this process you’ll discover if our focus on ethical education and our commitment to progressive pedagogy is a good fit for your child and your family. We look forward to meeting you soon.

If you have any questions, please contact us:

Ethical Culture: (718) 329-7574/ Fieldston Lower: (718) 329-7313/ Fieldston Middle/Upper: (718) 329-7306/


Our formal admissions process begins with your application. Once you submit an application, we will contact you to schedule a campus visit. See below for details on what to expect during your visit for each grade.

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.

Our Divisions

ECFS 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 grades, and Fieldston Upper, serving students in 9th through 12th grades, which are both located on our Fieldston campus in the Bronx.

Regular Entry Points

Things You’ll Need to Submit: Pre-K—1st Grade

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

Download a PDF of the process for Pre-K and Kindergarten

Your Visit: Pre-K–1st Grade

Regardless of which elementary division you’re applying to, all Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade* applicants will visit the Bronx campus for their playgroup. Applicants are assessed for an hour and twenty minutes in a small and friendly peer setting. They interact with each other and will engage in age-appropriate activities led by our early childhood admissions associates. Parents and caregivers are given a tour of the campus during this time so you can learn a bit more about our experience. Once you have submitted your application, we will reach out via email with a scheduled playgroup date, tour date, and a link to sign up for a parent interview.

*1st Grade applicants applying only to our Ethical Culture division will not be scheduled for a playgroup 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 attend a playgroup.

Ages for Those Applying to Pre-K and Kindergarten

Applicants for Pre-K must be four years old by September 1, 2020. Kindergarten applicants must be five years old by September 1, 2020.

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

Download a PDF of the process for 6th Grade and 9th Grade

Your Visit: 6th Grade and 9th Grade

Families applying to 6th Grade through 12th Grade attend a two-hour visit to our Bronx campus, which includes a student-led tour and an interview conversation with a member of our admissions staff or faculty. We will reach out to you to schedule your campus visit once you have submitted your online application.

Attrition-based Admission

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

Your Visit: 2nd Grade–5th Grade

Parents/guardians of students applying to 2nd Grade through 5th Grade will be invited to attend a breakfast specifically for families applying to an attrition-based grade. They will be given a tour of the lower division to which they applied, and they will have the opportunity to meet with lower school administrators, teachers, and members of the admissions team. If a space in the grade to which you are applying becomes available, your child will be invited to spend time in a classroom to meet peers and teachers. During their visit, they will also have a one-on-one assessment with the Principal or Assistant Principal.

Things You’ll Need to Submit: Grades 7-8, 10-12

Your Visit: Grades 7-8, 10-12

Families applying to Grades 7, 8, and 10-12 will be contacted to schedule an interview and tour 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. 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.