The pressure of applying to prestigious preschools

The day after Labor Day, New York City's most selective preschools -- including the 92nd Street Y, The Brick Church School, and The Episcopal School -- open their phone lines for parents to secure one of the select few opportunities to be considered for admission into the preschools' hallowed halls.

Amanda Uhry, the founder of the Manhattan Private School Advisors, guides anxious parents through the grueling process.

"It is a war and it's not a war of attrition.  It is a war to get your children into school," Uhry says.

She says the stakes are higher than a game of hide-and-go-seek.

"The top schools get a thousand calls for maybe 15, 16, 20 spots," Uhry says.  "So they take 300 applications and after that, that's it.  No more applications."

She says the stakes are high.  Where you start is where you finish in New York City, according to Uhry.

"Go to a top-tier preschool and chances are you will go to a top-tier continuing school," Uhry says.

But not every parent is getting caught up in the frenzy. For example, Liat Kletz, a parent and founder of The Playroom NYC, decided to send her children to public school and selected a preschool accordingly.  She says there is plenty of time to get her child onto a path to a top-level college.

But Uhry disagrees.  She says the perseption is that the public school system is deteriorating and, with more wealthy people and a shrinking middle class.

"Is it fair?  No," Uhry says.

If you want to work with a company like Manhattan Private School Advisors, it could cost you as much as $30,000. And if you actually get into one of these schools, you could be looking at a tuition bill of over $40,000.

So come September 6, let the games begin.