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Tips To Getting Into Boarding School!?

hopeful2boardhopeful2board Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
edited December 2012 in Prep School Admissions
Hey! I'm planning on applying to a few boarding schools this year and want some tips that can help me get a better chance of making it. I'm applying to Deerfield, Exeter, Groton, and Hotchkiss and know that they are pretty competitive so if you have any tips or information that will help me, please tell! If you were accepted into one of these great schools and are attending, any information would be awsome! I really want to go to one of these schools so please help. Thank you!
Post edited by hopeful2board on

Replies to: Tips To Getting Into Boarding School!?

  • ParlabaneParlabane Registered User Posts: 596 Member
    As a first step, research this site. Use the search function. Poke around. Look at old threads. There is a treasure trove of info out there.
  • hopeful2boardhopeful2board Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    ok thanks! i've been searching around b ut i just wanted to see if theres anything that i've missed.
  • hopeful2boardhopeful2board Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    if theres anything else anyone wants to post feel free!
  • Mexstudent2013Mexstudent2013 Registered User Posts: 486 Member

  • ballerina22ballerina22 Registered User Posts: 455 Member
    I am now beginning my 2nd application round, after the result of last year (2 rejections, 3 waitlists, and 1 acceptance without enough financial aid) was not what I expected. Here is some advice.

    1. Recommendations are VERY important. Make sure you get to know the teachers who will be writing them for you. My geometry teacher this year didn't know me very well, but I got in contact with her and set up a time to meet, and I told her about myself, my interests, etc. so that she could get to know me and be better equipped to write a recommendation. I meet with my lit teacher every week to go over poems I write (I am preparing a portfolio to send with my application) and through that, she has gotten to know me very well. I'm not saying that you should kiss up to your teachers, but you have to make sure that they notice you.

    2. Your essays should reflect YOU, not what the schools want. Looking back on my essays from last year, they were very cold and robotic, if a piece of writing can be robotic. I was spitting out words that I thought schools like Deerfield would want, and it didn't sound like me. This year, I'm writing a really risky essay for Andover (I'm not going to say the topic, because it would give me away as an applicant) that could be great if I play my cards right, and for Deerfield, I'm writing about how my experience at sleepaway camp began this journey of transformation that I am going through right now (finding new, true friends, focusing on the things I love, and overall working to become a much happier, healthier individual.)

    3. I know you've probably heard this a lot, but interviews matter. A lot. So make yours count. My interview for Andover was amazing - my interviewer was a dancer, so I was able to speak passionately and animatedly about how dance has changed my life, and how I feel alive and electric and beautiful whenever I go onstage. I didn't hold back, at all. I also talked a lot about writing, and how it has affected my view on people, the world around me, and even myself. I spoke about my Ecuadorian heritage, and how I felt this past summer in Ecuador, surrounded by my family and my culture. I wasn't a robot, spitting out information about how I am on Student Council and Debate team (I am actually a member of both of those, so don't worry, I'm not disrespecting.) Instead, I showed my true character, and spoke truly and passionately about the things I love.

    4. Study for the SSATs. I know everybody says they don't matter, and that is true, to an extent. They are probably the least important part of the application. However, they are also one of the few parts you have control over. Last year, I scored a 92%, which, while not a perfect score, put me in the range of competitive applicants. Although there are many people who get accepted with SSAT scores anywhere in the range of 60%-99%, it is definitely work it to study and try to score as high as you can. If you do horribly, study more and try again.

    5. Lastly, stay true to yourself. I have spoken about this before, and I will continue to reiterate. Schools don't want robots. They want real, living, breathing, human beings who are intelligent and passionate and have something to contribute to the school. If you love debating, that's great! Join the team, go to competitions, and speak about it in interviews. If you don't, don't join the debate team just to have an impressive list of extra-curriculars. Do what you love to do, and you will be happy no matter where you end up.

    That's my spiel. If you have any questions about ANYTHING, feel free to PM me.

    PS: Sorry if there are tons of spelling/grammar/punctuation errors. This post was written hastily, and I'm about to head off to dance, so there's no time to edit. Sorry! (:
  • possiblepreppossibleprep Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    Thank you so much! I'm applying Fall 2013 to Hotchkiss, Groton, Exeter, and Milton. I was afraid my essays sound too robotic. I have too questions, also.
    I have little things I'm really passionate about but the biggest thing is really the love of learning. Should I talk about that, or a more specific thing in my interviews?
    Also, if you don't mind me asking, did you get into the schools you're trying to apply to again?
    Thanks! Please answer this as soon as possible (my interviews are next week)!
  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 Registered User Posts: 14,567 Senior Member

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE consider applying to a few more less-selective schools, in addition to just the 4 you have listed. You can see from Ballerina's post that she is re-applying this year after "the result of last year (2 rejections, 3 waitlists, and 1 acceptance without enough financial aid)".

    Unless your last name is Obama, Kennedy, Bush, Rockefeller, or you have Olympic-level swimming times, do not underestimate the difficulty of getting admitted into these ultra-selective schools, even with straight A's and a 99% SSAT score.

    I would like for you, ballerina22, and all the other 2013 applicants to have a happy outcome on March-10 next year.
  • ExieMITAlumExieMITAlum . Posts: 2,367 Senior Member
    Ditto. One of most prolific CC posters doesn't drop by much anymore because they were waitlisted for two years straight despite and extremely strong resume.

    You MUST apply to a range of schools, and even then it's not guaranteed. If you research some of the threads, the last two years of admissions cycles were really rough on the CC family - most of whom were applying to the same selective schools. There just is not enough room to take everyone who wants a spot and many were left with nothing to show for their efforts because they limited their applications to only top Name Brands.

    If you are a full pay - your odds are a bit higher - but still not guaranteed.
  • MBVLovelessMBVLoveless Registered User Posts: 809 Member
    Nah, if you're a full pay, your odds, on average, are a lot higher.
  • possiblepreppossibleprep Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    Thank you! Unfortunately I can't apply to any more schools. However, I have a very sturdy public magnet high school I am currently attending.
    I am also legacy at 3 of the four schools and will not be applying for FA. Does that make a difference?
  • kittycat1kittycat1 Registered User Posts: 26 New Member
    I had an interview at Hotchkiss a couple of weeks ago that went really well. The only advice I can really give you, is to try to find something in common with your interviewer. Don't be robotic as ballerina22 said about the essays. Although I still don't know whether or not I will get in to Hotchkiss my interview could not have gone better. Even if the things that you have a passion for are very small still let them know.
  • ExieMITAlumExieMITAlum . Posts: 2,367 Senior Member
    Maybe. Legacies don't count for as much as they used to in admissions. Because now there are so many students with that claim in a given year - still, it's a hook. No harm in using it if it helps.
  • WillemSWillemS Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    ballerina22's post was perfect!! I don't mean to totally repeat what everyone else has been saying on here, but BE YOURSELF. Schools, especially the "top-tier" ones, see a bunch of candidates with the same old credentials and the same old essays. Be unique, do something different, take risks. I also would like to stress applying "safety" schools in case your top school doesn't accept you, or you aren't offered enough FA. Especially for you, hopeful2board, those four schools are really competitive. If you are sure about boarding school, than broaden your search. There are so many incredible schools that just aren't posted about simply because they aren't HADES. I had a friend last year who only applied to Taft, Hotchkiss, and Andover. She was rejected from all three, despite behaving straight A's, 99% SSAT, being two years ahead in math and being in the gifted and talented program. Nobody is a guaranteed in, especially at completive schools. I applied to 9 schools, a mix of day schools to fall back on if I didn't get enough FA, some more selective schools like Lawrenceville, Loomis, etc. and a couple BS's that I felt fairly confidant that I could get into. I ended up getting enough FA from a couple schools, and now I'm in my freshman year boarding in MA, and I love it! I also know that, if I had had my way last year, I would probably be applying to Andover, Exeter, Choate, Hotchkiss, SPS, and maybe Deerfield, and there would be a much smaller chance of me being where I am today. So please, I urge you, don't be confined to applying to just the schools that were featured in Forbes or come up first on a google search.
  • girlgeekmomgirlgeekmom Registered User Posts: 513 Member
    I'll echo SevenDad's post links and add one more:


    And three little words for everyone new to the boarding school search and application process:

This discussion has been closed.