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BS as a junior?

SeattleDreamerSeattleDreamer Registered User Posts: 234 Junior Member
Hello CC!

I'm currently a 14 year old junior who is discontent with the caliber of my LPS, as while the academics are more challenging than most public schools, the student culture is cutthroat and uncollaborative outside of the innermost friend circles (think students purposely giving others wrong answers to play the GPA game). However, my rank is decent, and with some hard work, I should be able to graduate in the top 7% in 2019, which automatically ensures admission to all public schools in my state. Logically, from there, I should be able to work my way to my career goals.

Therefore, I'm not sure if it's reasonable to ask my parents to potentially spend upwards of 50K for a private school education (we're in the upper midddle class, so very little FA can be expected). I've been thinking about applying for BS for a while now, as a repeat junior (because I'm about 2 years younger than my classmates, the repeated year isn't a major concern, and may even be beneficial), but my question is, especially to those with children in BS/attend BS, is it worth it to enter BS as a junior (in terms of producing thoughtful, independent, well-educated adults with effective communication skills)? Or will the difficulty of assimilation and catching up (both academically and socially), compounded with financial strain, ultimately be an unfitting allocation of time and money? I've heard the most wonderful things about the community-based environment of BS, and the molding effects it has on student development (seeing that high school are significantly formative years), but as a junior, is it too late?

Thanks for your help. I would also love to hear your thoughts on the "vibe" of your school in order to come up with a shortlist of schools to apply to. So far, I've been considering Hotchkiss, Lville, Choate, and Deerfield, but I understand that for these schools, admission is immensely difficult, and especially so for juniors.

Replies to: BS as a junior?

  • SeattleDreamerSeattleDreamer Registered User Posts: 234 Junior Member
  • SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,223 Senior Member
    Couple of thoughts from a parent of two BS kids, including one who transferred to a new school junior year:

    - You're targeting some of the most selective schools...so the student bodies at these schools will no doubt be filled with smart kids. I've got to imagine the there is going to be some culture of competition at these schools. My point being: You may be looking in the wrong places to find what you claim you're looking for. I defer, of course, to students and parents associated with those schools.

    - Junior year slots ARE very hard to come by, at pretty much any of the schools regularly discussed on this forum. But it's not impossible. I don't know if repeating junior year is that common, tbh...but given your age, maybe the schools will be more open to that.

    - Transferring to ANY new school, private or public, for your junior year has it challenges. Friend groups are already established, not to mention that you are used to a certain style and rhythm to your school day. Are you ready to live away from home and have more of your before and after-class time scheduled? Are you interested in going to school 6 days a week?

    - Have you ever talked about this with your parents? Because they are going to have to be supportive — both financially and emotionally/logistically. They may be able to afford to send you (and who knows, despite being upper middle class you still might qualify for some FA), but not want to spend that money on high school tuition for whatever reasons. And generally speaking, the Admissions folks also meet with parents when they interview you, so if the AO gets a feeling that the parents aren't really supporting the kid's application, they may not be that inclined to give up one of their slots to you. My advice is to talk to them immediately...feel them out on it. If they are not supportive...you'll have an long road/uphill battle/insert metaphor of your choice here ahead of you.

    - All the above being said, I think you can go to BS as a new junior and get the benefits of it. It will take work/adjustment, but I think it can be done and be a valuable experience.

    Out of curiosity...and no need to reply if it's too personal/you'd prefer not to....what is the reason you are so advanced for your age? My older girl was skipped a grade early and went to BS as a freshman at 13, but I really don't know if I'd have been comfortable skipping her two years even at our LPS/her day school...didn't want to "Doogie Howser" (look that up if you don't know what I'm talking about) her.
  • SeattleDreamerSeattleDreamer Registered User Posts: 234 Junior Member
    Thank you for your comment. You've given me some new material to consider. Regarding my parents' support, we have actually been through the application cycle last year, and because I failed to be admitted, they don't really support the notion of re-applying (primarily because it involves repeating a year, but also due to age, tuition, and I've also gotten the impression they think I perhaps don't fit/need to be at that level of school), so that right there is admittedly rather discouraging, and may prevent any applications. I would also like to clarify what I'm looking for in a school environment- I do not mind competition at all (I actually do better when there is), but I disagree with when pressure to succeed academically provokes casual cheating and cliques, as it often does here.

    As for your last question, my living situation is a bit uncommon- my parents are transfer employees, so we move fairly often. I had originally skipped kindergarten because my school had requested my parents to do so, but the second year occurred when we moved due to the different cut-off date for the school I transferred to. However, I am a couple additional years ahead in a few subjects, so I actually began attending high school for English when I was eleven (8th grade) in conjunction with middle school.

    Unfortunately, there is a chance we may need to move again after this school year, so there is a chance (not 100%, but definitely quite likely) I may need to transfer to a different public school next year. Thus, I expect to encounter social resistance either way next school year, but I am primarily focused on the quality of education, a community feel, and some form of stability in my living situation, which is why I have been seriously considering boarding school. I could go ahead and apply for senior year, but I feel it'd be a much better fit to apply as a junior (the age gap has always been a bit weird).

    A couple questions on my part, if you don't mind- how was your child's experience transferring as a junior in comparison to your other child? And, coming out of it, would you recommend the process?
  • SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,223 Senior Member
    Thanks for explaining the situation.

    A few additional thoughts:

    - I don't know what schools you applied to last year, but if they were similar in selectivity to the ones you mention in your first post, your "apply to" set was probably too limited — if going to a BS was in fact a goal (vs. going to a specific BS). I've written much on this topic over the years. While there are advocates of and anecdotes supporting re-application to the same ultra-selective schools...I am personally not a big fan of this, preferring the "cast a wide net" approach.

    - Speaking frankly, you are in a tough situation. The best time to have done this would have been after your frosh year, going for a repeat frosh spot. I would not be that supportive of a repeat junior year were it not for your age gap. I think that may raise some eyebrows when it comes to college applications — at the very least, you're going to have to explain it.

    - Given your family's nomadic tendencies, I think BS is actually a very good idea for you...giving you some consistency despite all the moving. I would start reaching out to a wider range of schools ASAP to see what they think of a repeat junior year and how many slots they might have available.

    To answer your questions:

    - My younger daughter had already been a boarding student at School A before moving to School B for her junior year. So the transition was smoothed a bit by her having experience living away from home for 2 years. I do think there was some difficulty breaking in to friend groups initially, but her BS is one of the more "kindler, gentler" schools and she eventually made some very good friends.

    - Would I recommend the process? If you mean going to a new BS as a junior, then generally speaking, yes. I think two years is enough to reap the benefits that one gets from BS (learning to living more independently, rigor of academics vs. LPS, caliber of student body, etc.).

    Best of luck with your process. There is a lot of good information here on CC, and a lot of helpful and experienced parents/students. I encourage you to get input from as wide a range of people as possible.
  • SeattleDreamerSeattleDreamer Registered User Posts: 234 Junior Member
    Thanks for your help. It'll be quite difficult to decide, but I'll contact a few schools and ask around. Aside from the uber prestigious ones I've listed above, there are more, slightly less selective schools (e.g. Peddie, Taft) that I'll check with, so my net this year would be a lot more inclusive. Either way, I'll keep discussing the topic with my parents and hopefully arrive at a consensus soon. Thanks again.
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,008 Senior Member
    edited September 2017
    I'd go for it - esp since you may be moving and that gives reason enough (logic to explain to AO's and later, on college apps) to consider BS, as well as your desire to go. My son started last week as a Junior (11th) and LOVES IT. He was lucky to get admitted to 3 of 9 schools....but the 3 that admitted him are probably not as competitive as the acronym schools. Nonetheless, all three are excellent schools and the one he chose is a perfect fit for him! We are so, so thankful that we got good advice here on CC, and that we seemed to apply to the right mix of schools.

    There are MANY excellent schools. Spend September figuring out where you really want to apply, and where you have the best chance at financial aid/scholarship.

    PS. I wouldn't consider Peddie "less selective" esp for 11th. Not sure about Taft. Also where do you live - as geography may play into it.
  • SeattleDreamerSeattleDreamer Registered User Posts: 234 Junior Member
    Thanks for the advice! I'm currently living in Texas (we were super fortunate, as everything is okay), which is less challenging than the northern states, but still pretty well represented. I'm thinking of attending the Ten Schools admission presentation when it comes here and possibly visiting some campuses next month to suss out the feel of each school I'm considering. How did your son decide on which schools to apply to? And, do you have any recommendations as to some excellent non-acronym schools that you discovered during the application cycle last year?
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