Park Ave
Park Avenue Moncrief/creative commons

A father-child conversation this weekend highlights growing concerns over the increased difficulty of gaining college early admissions faced by private school children in Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Upper East Side Dad: How's Dad's rock star?

Rockstar Child: Worried, Dad. This early admission story in the Times has me freaked. It says things are getting tough for White, East-Side, private-school kids.

UES Dad: Times? Where did you get that? Are you done reading the Journal?

Rockstar Child: I skipped it.

UES Dad: You need to keep up with business, Kiddo. That's where the real rockstars are these days.

Rockstar Child: I know. But I heard about this story from Freddie's older sister at Brearley. She and five of her friends got wait-listed just this Yale! Can you believe it. There lives are so over. And they say it is getting worse all the time for private school kids from the East.

UES Dad: Really? Brearley wait-listed? I had no idea that was even possible. Surely, though there is an explanation. Were they all rockstars like you?

Rockstar Child: I'm only nine. They are older, Dad.

UES Dad: Did they all go to that Bespoke Education from first grade, like you? Did they all get straight As, have plenty of extra-curricular stuff, like you?

Rockstar Child: You name it. They are rockstars, too.

UES Dad: Well you're not going to Yale, anyway. Princeton's your game. Just like I did, and your grandpa, and his father before him.

Rockstar Child: Princeton! It says here, Of the 726 students accepted to Princeton last month, 56 percent attend public high schools, up from 50 percent five years earlier, the last time it had early admissions; and 37 percent are minorities, up from 31 percent.

UES Dad: Over half from public schools! And 37 percent minorities? Why did we send you to private school then?

Rockstar Child: New York Public Schools are terrible?

UES Dad: True. Let me see that story a moment. I can't believe we can't get you into Princeton on early admissions. There must be a way.

Rockstar Child: Well it says foreign students have a special appeal: They pay full price.

UES Dad: Is that all? Lucky for us, you were born in our country place, in Bermuda. With dual citizenship, maybe we can just have you register from there? As for the money, college don't cost any more than the private schools in this town, and we sent you to those for a dozen years already. At four years, college is a bargain.

Rockstar Child: Won't they catch on, since I went to school in Manhattan?

UES Dad: I suppose you're right. Wait a minute? It says here that, the early-applicant group is shifting; along with minorities, foreigners and public school students, it now also includes more athletes, as college coaches push recruits to enter the early round as well. Good thing you're a smashing tennis player.

Rockstar Child: I'm just learning. I'm no good at it yet.

UES Dad (hitting speed dial on his iPhone): Hello? Bespoke? We need to run a full battery of test on my child ASAP to find out what sport to train him in. Like most? He likes winning. Why on earth would you ask?