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Boarding school or not?

NYCKevinNYCKevin Registered User Posts: 202 Junior Member
edited November 2012 in Prep School Admissions
Hi guys, I am a sophomore right now. I was thinking about applying to boarding school this year as a new junior next year (or perhaps a repeat sophomore). I considered it last year but I wanted to see how things would work out at my current school first.

Right now, I go to a public high school in NYC. It's a "specialized high school," which means it's a selective high school that administers an exam for admission. It's a competitive, STEM-based school, and right now I am in the top 10%.

The reason why I want to apply to boarding school is mainly for the small class size and the benefits that come with that (i.e. getting to know your teacher better, having a better learning experience, etc.). At my current school most of my classes have roughly 30 students and one teacher, and that teacher may not necessarily be the best or most qualified.

However, besides the large class size, my school is able to offer almost everything a boarding school can academically. For instance I am in my school's science research program, and I have a few leadership positions this year. I was also able to establish good relationships with some teachers, and my guidance counselor knows me quite well.

The thing is I feel like I would really really benefit from a smaller class size and more individualized attention. Over the summer I did the CTY program and my class only had 15 students with a teacher and a TA, and I felt I really thrived in that smaller class environment.

Also, the college counselors at the top boarding schools are well-connected (or at least that's what I hear) as opposed to my home school's college counselor who isn't so connected with adcoms. I'm aiming for top schools -- Ivys and some LACs -- so having this benefit won't hurt.

Should I stay at my current school or should I apply to boarding school? If it matters, the schools I'm looking at are Andover, Exeter, Lawrenceville, Groton, and St. Paul's. Oh, and I'll need financial aid too.

Post edited by NYCKevin on

Replies to: Boarding school or not?

  • LakeCloudsLakeClouds Registered User Posts: 570 Member
    Think long and hard about BS. BS may reduce you odds of getting into an Ivy rather than increase them. Look at the link below for a good discussion, but there are other threads on CC you should review to learn more.

  • NYCKevinNYCKevin Registered User Posts: 202 Junior Member
    Thanks. bump
  • classicalmamaclassicalmama Registered User Posts: 2,261 Senior Member
    I think you may have caught a bit of the "grass is greener" syndrome. Small classes are great, but it sounds like you're pretty fortunate to attend the school you do. Prep school is not without its downsides--read the thread Lake Clounds posted above and see if you can weigh the pros and cons.

    Frankly, if my children were enrolled at no cost in a school like yours I would almost certainly NOT send them to boarding school.
  • HarvestMoon1HarvestMoon1 Registered User Posts: 6,038 Senior Member
    I am somewhat familiar with the specialized high schools in New York City, and my impression is that they offer outstanding educational opportunities to a limited number of high-achievers. I would also submit that, given the applicant pool, they are even more competitive from an admissions standpoint, than the boarding schools you have listed in your original post. No evidence to back that up, just a hunch. Further, in this day and age, a STEM-based school is, in my opinion, highly desirable. Not many High Schools offer that type of specialized curriculum. I would stay put!
  • girlgeekmomgirlgeekmom Registered User Posts: 513 Member
    I agree with classicalmama and HarvestMoon. I, too, am familiar with NYC's specialized high schools. Were there such magnet/exam day schools in our area, they would have been our first option.
  • dharmamomdharmamom Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    I can see the benefits of boarding school over a NYC specialized high school. A grade size of around 800 kids doesn't allow teachers to really get to know students, and it's not always conducive to assignments (especially in writing) that help a student grow to their potential.

    Even Frank McCourt admitted dumping student essays he was unable to grade while teaching at Stuyvesant:

    Shortfall in essays at elite N.Y.C. high schools - New York Daily News

    Personally, I find the paucity of black and Hispanic students at the specialized high schools a drawback as well.
  • NYCKevinNYCKevin Registered User Posts: 202 Junior Member
    Thank you everyone for your insightful responses. I think I'll be staying put at my current school. And yes, this is definitely like a "grass is greener" syndrome :)
This discussion has been closed.