When I applied to West Virginia University 15 years ago, I took a tour of the campus and sent in the required paperwork. Not long afterward, I got a big, fat envelope in the mail with the contents detailing my acceptance into Mountaineer country.
My application process to a large university was relatively painless back then so why is it so hard now to get my kid into school? I’m not talking about a college. I mean preschool.
Several months ago, I knew nothing of the enrollment process so I asked an acquaintance to give me a referral. I took my kids to the school for a tour and my son seemed to like it.
The actual enrollment process was a bit of a nightmare. Because spots are highly coveted, the church that hosts the school hosts two days of sign-ups. Alumni and church members would get to turn in their applications on the first day while us new folk would go on the second day.
My acquaintance told me that the first person in line on the opening day of registration was there at 4 a.m. for a 9:15 a.m. sign-up. This information freaked me out so I dragged my kids there on the second day to wait in line at 7:45 a.m.
We had to choose our top three class choices and the director would give a child one of the three. My son is not old enough for the four-year-old programs so I chose all three-year-old classes.
The letters notifying parents of their child’s class would be mailed out the next day.
Well, this event took place on Jan. 19. I’m still waiting for that letter. Actually, I am waiting for two letters.
After two weeks of not hearing, I called the school. They said they didn’t know where the letter was but that my son had been placed in a fours class.
I politely told them that he did not qualify and to please move him to a three-year-old class. I was told by the director that she moved him and a new letter would be sent out.
I have ripped open the mailbox door and tore through the mail every day for the past six weeks looking for the letters that have never shown up.
I called again last week asking about his enrollment. An aide said he had not been officially moved out of the fours. I left a message for the director to call me back and my phone is still not ringing.
Let me get this straight.
You all can’t read a simple registration form or a note asking for a call back to clear up the situation? Then you want me to leave my firstborn with you and expect that he is taught in a way that will lay the groundwork for his future schooling? I don’t think so.
So now the hunt is on for another school. Hopefully there will still be spots available.
I never imagined my son’s preschool enrollment process would be harder than my university’s application.
—Gina Gallucci-White writes from Frederick, Md.