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london203london203 Posts: 710Registered User Member
edited November 2012 in Prep School Parents
My daughter wants to go to boarding school. The main issue is that while she is extremely capable in language arts, etc. but she struggles mightily in math. We moved a lot when she was small and I think it affected her math comprehension most of all.

Question: if math is her "low point", but everything esle is good (other grades, extra curriculars, good at sports etc), would that automatically get her rejected at boarding school? FYI we are not applying to the "tier 1" schools....

any recent experience out there which could guide us?
Post edited by london203 on

Replies to: math.

  • 2prepMom2prepMom Posts: 1,006Registered User Senior Member
    Math is an area where students are frequently stratified in boarding schools. My older D was hesitant and fearful in math, and placed into a basic class. She also benefitted from a tutor. It worked out fine, and did not impact her other classes or overall experience.
  • london203london203 Posts: 710Registered User Member
    Would you say it affected her chances for admission? My daughter's other grades and sports/extracurriculars are all good. She just "freaks out a little" at math! Am hoping the school can see past the actual grade to consider that this just may not be her "thing" ..... fingers crossed!
  • 2kidsnoanswers2kidsnoanswers Posts: 555Registered User Member
    London, 2prepMom gave you good advice. I know of kids who were accepted at various boarding schools with all sorts of backgrounds, everything from needing additional work in a given subject to having not started a foreign language yet, etc etc. So much comes down to what schools you decided to apply to and what else your daughter can offer the school. In some schools, yes, perhaps they would not want to deal with the math issue, but then, that would not be the right school for your DD anyway. If you chose your schools carefully, then I would say you have every reason to feel hopeful and positive. May I suggest that you consider Millbrook and Suffield? There are others that come to mind. The right boarding school can be a transformative experience. Good luck to you.
  • london203london203 Posts: 710Registered User Member
    I will take a look at those two schools. Suffield I have heard of.. not really Millbrook.

    My daughter is very keen on Portsmouth Abbey and it does seem a good fit for her.... will have her "soldier on" in the math. She managed a B this past term so it is not as dire as I paint it.... unless you compare it to the grades and scores others are posting on here! LOL

    I appreciate all the feedback. It is easy to get a wrong impression of the whole admissions process and this board is a huge help!

    PS do you put such a concern in the parent statement? or avoid all mention of it until later?
  • 2prepMom2prepMom Posts: 1,006Registered User Senior Member
    My general philosophy about the application was that it was an opportunity to show the school the strengths of the applicant. The parent statement is for supporting your child's application, so unless you wanted to phrase it as admiring her stick-to-it ness, I probably would not mention weaknesses. One school asked specifically about weaknesses and I said something like, gets overcommitted because loves learning so much, fascinated by many subjects. I did not say "You should see her room, you will scream and run in fear" which would have been accurate, full disclosure. On the other hand, maybe they would just have laughed.

    Remember, a math teacher recommendation is usually a required part of the application, so the school will have that information to work with, as well as grades and test scores - you are not hiding this.

    However, once you get in, compare your schools carefully and ask very specifically about tutoring and math support. They cannot "un-admit" you then, and having a clear plan will help your child feel more secure starting out in a new school.

    Also, individual tutors really help a great deal with a shy math student.
  • 2kidsnoanswers2kidsnoanswers Posts: 555Registered User Member
    Funny, Portsmouth Abbey is another I was thinking of, not being sure what your geographic preferences were. Blair is an outstanding school that is getting more selective, but has wonderfully warm and friendly environment where I've seen a lot of kids thrive and truly enjoy their high school experience, in addition to getting an outstanding education.

    Since her math grades and math section of the SSAT are presumably lower than the rest of her grades and scores, personally I'd offer a brief explanation in the parent statement, but be factual, not apologetic. However, a B is hardly something to fret over!

    It was said elsewhere, but I'll repeat it - most of the kids who get into boarding schools, even the ones most talked about on CC, are not posting on CC, so it is easy to get a skewed version of what kids get accepted to the various schools. Also, some young posters could be polishing the truth just a wee bit. I'd ignore the lot of it and focus on what schools best fit your daughter.
  • london203london203 Posts: 710Registered User Member
    Thanks to all of you. This has been a very helpful thread, and gives me hope that she will indeed be allowed to pursue her "dream". and HAHA 2prepMom: I would have to write the same thing about the room! Her roommate will have to sort that out! LOL

    I appreciate the thoughtful and detailed replies. Kind regards.....

    PS on the Portsmouth Abbey thing: since they are not top tier (HADES or whatever the acronym of the week is), I am hoping her chances are good. We had an hour-long meeting with the Admissions Director that went very well. My DD really repsonsed to her and vice versa... of course, she could just be very good at her job... but we choose to think the former... :-)
  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom Posts: 1,507Registered User Senior Member
    I did not say "You should see her room, you will scream and run in fear"

    Well, I WAS very forthright about DS weaknesses and put the following in my parent’s statements:
    …On the other hand, he’s a 13-year-old boy—isn’t that weakness enough? I’m not sure I need to elaborate on all his shortcomings, including, but not limited to, the state of his bedroom…
  • 2kidsnoanswers2kidsnoanswers Posts: 555Registered User Member
    LOL! Well said, ChoatieMom. I do think the admissions process could use some comic relief and, yes, a nod to reality.
  • london203london203 Posts: 710Registered User Member
    OK. I have had my good laugh for the day! Too funny... Thanks!!
  • opsops Posts: 810Registered User Member
    I dreaded math / algebra. I got extra help all through JBS & BS. My two boys are math junkies. I tell Dad that it skips a generation. Now I do word problems all day long at work so it did pay off.
    I don't think the schools want a bunch of little geniuses to educate. If math is the only downer, then the schools will know that the kid has got it in him/her. It only takes one good teacher and that is what teachers like to do, teach.
  • SharingGiftSharingGift Posts: 551Registered User Member
    I was at Andover last week... passing by a boy's dorm room during tour. To say nicely, it was a complete mess! Couldn't find the floor. But I try not to judge a person by the neatness and tidiness of his/her room or desk. There have been many accomplished geniuses whose had messy desks. Take a peek at this blog for the desks of Einstein, Jobs and Twain.

    A take-home message for me is what matters is the state of one's mind, not one's physical space.

    PS: Our tour guide graciously steered us to a much nicer room:)
  • girlgeekmomgirlgeekmom Posts: 461Registered User Member
    @Sharing, LOL! Our Andover tour included a room that had a fumigation notice (real, not a prank) tacked to it. To say our tour guide was mortified was an understatement. We, too, were graciously shown a less toxic room.

    I think ops makes a very good point. And we know of at least one student who had wildly skewed SSATs (upper 90th pctile in all verbal, upper 30th in math) and was accepted at a number of excellent schools. The student had decent math grades, but is definitely not a "mathy" kid, and was appropriately placed in math class once enrolled.
  • 24daffodils24daffodils Posts: 88Registered User Junior Member
    As girlgeekmom said, I too have seen kids who are weak in one area, such as math, be appropriately placed once at boarding school. If the rest of the application is strong, don't let that stop you.
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