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Applying to selective boarding schools in 2015-16 app cycle? Read this...

SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,088 Senior Member
I have not been that active on the forum for a few months, either in reading or contributing to it...but I did a quick scan of the front page today and see that the latest wave of eager, optimistic, and relatively uninformed applicants seems to be rolling in.

I have seen this year after year. And every year dole out advice similar to this:

- There is no "magic bullet" to getting into one of the more selective boarding schools in the US
- With admit rates in the teens, your chances of getting into schools like Phillips Andover are not good
- Starting many random new posts that indicate you have done little to no research about specific schools will yield little
- Searching, finding, and reading the volumes that have been written here on CC about the most popular schools is smart...writing directly to the key contributors to those sorts of threads (assuming they are still active on the forum) is even smarter
- Considering schools other than PA and PEA is wise
- Applying only to PA and PEA is not that wise — if your goal is to attend boarding school (and not just PA/PEA)
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Replies to: Applying to selective boarding schools in 2015-16 app cycle? Read this...

  • itcannotbetrueitcannotbetrue Registered User Posts: 486 Member
    edited July 2015
    Good points made by all and eagerly read by a mom who is now back-to-back in the admissions game with DD in it 2015-16 cycle (son was 2014-15 and is going to Choate).

    . . . I can feel that familiar angsty feeling already. . . :)
    Post edited by skieurope on
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 31,984 Super Moderator
    edited July 2015
    MODERATOR'S NOTE:
    @skieurope the post from ThacherParent should be extracted and stuck somewhere by itself.
    No, I think it's fine and apropos where it is; it builds upon @SevenDad 's excellent post.

    I have pinned this thread to the top of the forum and request that any follow-up comments relate and/or expand upon the original post. In other words, additional suggestions regarding the application process are fine and welcomed; specific questions related to your/your child's application are not. If a question needs to be asked, a new discussion should be started.
  • CenterCenter Registered User Posts: 1,818 Senior Member
    edited July 2015
    I guess I don't understand the notion of applying broadly. If one can't get into one of the top schools and/or their top choices, then why spend alll that money for just a prep school? Most prep and private schools are no better than top public schools
  • london203london203 Registered User Posts: 1,354 Senior Member
    @center the final point on @sevendad's post says "if your goal is to attend boarding school".

    There seem to be 2 main "camps" on the board: the first will only consider 1-2 schools (the "go big or go home" mentality), but there are an equal number of kids/parents for whom attending boarding school is the goal (vs. attending A boarding school), and the advice given is especially helpful to this latter group.
  • CenterCenter Registered User Posts: 1,818 Senior Member
    I guess I misspoke when I said "I don't understand." London203, thank you. You are correct, the goal of the applicant certainly is a factor in formulating the best strategy.
  • patronyorkpatronyork Registered User Posts: 439 Member
    edited August 2015
    While it is understandable to go for only a couple of top brand names, I hope they should understand that there are equally great schools to consider. Also if going to a top college is the main purpose of sending kids to top boarding schools, it wouldn't work that way any more.
  • rachh019rachh019 Registered User Posts: 61 Junior Member
    good points made by everyone here.

    again, love the school that loves you. the admission officers know what they are doing and will know if you'll be happy at their school. if you get admitted into a school you applied to, that means that the officers think that you will be happy there and have a good time.
  • thelittleswimmerthelittleswimmer Registered User Posts: 874 Member
    I need to "like" this thread a thousand times over. :)
  • agentwoodagentwood Registered User Posts: 92 Junior Member
    edited August 2015
    Some EXCELLENT suggestions by SevenDad and ThacherParent. SevenDad's first and second are particularly useful; this is why I'm not the biggest fan of the "Prep School Chances" section on this site. A child can be top of his/her class, captain of three sports teams, and student council president, and be rejected from all HADES schools. And the HADES or GLADCHEMMS schools, which are extremely selective and have good name recognition, may not be for everyone. Also, ThacherParent's #5 rings true. As an alumni candidate interviewer, I've found that it is obvious when a student is coached and/or pressured by his/her parents to apply to BS. As Thacher says, "Authenticity can't be faked."
  • 2prepMom2prepMom Registered User Posts: 1,140 Senior Member
    Looking at a range of schools allows for "fit".

    Think about your child; would they be happier near the top of their class in a "less selective" school (public, boarding or day) that had a strong program they loved in an area of interest (dance, equestrian, fencing), or in the bottom third at PE/PA? Which do you think colleges would be more interested in?

    Fully half (!) the graduating class at the ultra-selective schools are in the bottom half of their class. They are all 4.0 95+ SSAT kids at entry. Their work is just as demanding, the hours just as long, and the outcome would have been debatably better at home or in a less selective school.

    Think carefully what it will mean to spend 4 years at the ultra selective schools. For some kids it is spectacular, for some less so.
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