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Changing School List Late in the Admissions Cycle?

momof3nycmomof3nyc Registered User Posts: 87 Junior Member
Hoping someone else has had this experience. Took DS on the big interview tour last week, and the two schools at the top of his list fell to the bottom - as in, I’ll have to push him to even complete an application to one of them. It was likely a combination of factors (terrible tour guide and campus full of unhappy-looking kids at one, lousy weather and an unenthusiastic interviewer at another), but he came away from the experience clear that those schools are probably not the schools for him. Interestingly, a school that we had added on the trip because it was close was a surprise winner - he loved it, loved the people, and it’s now first choice.
We’re now re-evaluating his list based on his experience - has anyone made a switch this late? Any recommendations for smaller schools with closed campuses, 100% boarding (or close to it), diversity (students and faculty, racial and socio-economic), liberal/progressive friendly, and generous financial aid?

Replies to: Changing School List Late in the Admissions Cycle?

  • CaliMexCaliMex Registered User Posts: 1,005 Senior Member
    I think you just described St Andrews?
  • GoatMamaGoatMama Registered User Posts: 1,011 Senior Member
    We had a very similar experience after campus tours in mid-November. I'm pretty sure others too have reevaluated their choices after campus tours and interviews. That's the whole point of the visit, isn't it? I did push DD to finish the applications to the two schools that had fallen out of favor, even though she made it very clear that she wouldn't attend even if admitted. In hindsight that was a wasted effort (one was WL, the other rejection). I should have recognized the lack of fit and let go.
  • Kayak24Kayak24 Registered User Posts: 474 Member
    Yep. List still changing over here too. Better to eliminate schools that aren’t a good fit now than never. I think perspective can also change as things start to get closer and become more “real.”
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal Registered User Posts: 4,445 Senior Member

    Westtown fits all the criteria except has larger day populations than you are looking for. Ditto George and NMH, both of which are on the larger side.

    Better now than in April although I understand that it's a little unsettling.
  • CaliMexCaliMex Registered User Posts: 1,005 Senior Member
    If you can share what it was he didn’t like about certain schools (no need to name names) it might be easier to help?

    (Is this the kid on the spectrum you mentioned in an earlier boost?)
  • CenterCenter Registered User Posts: 2,228 Senior Member
    @momof3nyc I think it is very very important to take these clues at face value and listen to you or your child's instincts.
  • twinsmamatwinsmama Registered User Posts: 1,500 Senior Member
    There aren't too many 100% boarding, IIRC. If that's essential, you can narrow the list down quickly (or decide that maybe 80%+ boarding will be OK, if the list is too short). Go with your/your child's gut. Good luck!
  • GMC2918GMC2918 Registered User Posts: 912 Member
    We definitely re-evaluated our list late in the process for my son. Like @GoatMama I had him keep a couple of schools in the running that he wanted to eliminate, and that ended up being a waste of time.

    Both Cate and Thacher fit your description better than most East Coast schools I have visited, but if they're too far for you, I think that St. Andrew's is a good suggestion. Middlesex?
  • CTMom21CTMom21 Registered User Posts: 261 Junior Member
    @momof3nyc, are there any other criteria, such as geography; size range; is single-sex a possibility; particular sports or other programs that are important?
  • GnarWhailGnarWhail Registered User Posts: 314 Member
    Some of your criteria may be at cross purposes, especially smaller school/generous FA. The larger/sweet spot-size schools are often the schools with more FA resources, especially. The smaller schools with nearly unlimited resources are quite selective. 100% boarding is a non-starter--you can count those on one hand. None of these schools are especially diverse, every schools is friendly to friends if you find a a friend, and closed or town campus is what it is.

    The need for generous FA must drive the selection. Getting wicked picky or splitting hairs is not letting the possibility/necessity of generous FA drive the process.

    Once you get past the stupid-rich schools who can fund anyone they wish, the way to squeeze out the bucks is to be the applicant the school wants. Have grades and scores that stand out at the smaller and/or less selective schools. Go with the hook your kids has, whether it be a sport, a language, whatever, and do your best to figure out which schools value that hook. If you have any connections to any schools, exploit them. If you're looking solely at NE, check out the other states; if you're only looking in CA, check out NE and NJ/PA. There are many, many schools, but the need for FA is the limiting factor.
  • momof3nycmomof3nyc Registered User Posts: 87 Junior Member
    Thank you all for your responses! We’d like to stay in the NE, he doesn’t want a single-sex school, and I think the sweet spot (size wise) is around 500-600 students, possibly a little larger or smaller, depending on the campus vibe. He’s coming from a very, very small school, and last week clarified for him that he likes being in a small, tight-knit community.
    I think the thing that bothered him the most about the schools he didn’t like was the sense of the absence of a true community. It sounds silly, but there were schools where kids were greeting each other on the paths, waving hi in classes, with multiple teachers stopping to say hello, and there were schools where we saw none of that.
  • CaliMexCaliMex Registered User Posts: 1,005 Senior Member
    How much structure does he need or prefer to thrive? Does he need a school where quirky kids are embraced?
  • momof3nycmomof3nyc Registered User Posts: 87 Junior Member
    As one AO put it, “All 13 year old boys need help with organization and time management - it’s why we don’t read the girls’ applications against the boys’.” That’s the level of structure/support he needs, and yes, an embrace of quirky kids would be a huge plus (he’s really involved in theater, and it has been a better fit socially than the sport he plays).
  • PhotographerMomPhotographerMom Registered User Posts: 1,828 Senior Member
    " If you have any connections to any schools, exploit them." No. In fact, please don't.

    PSA : If you have a connection to a school, let the connection know that you'll be applying and leave it there. Allow the connection to decide what to do next with that information.

    Connections usually respond well and go to bat for someone when they don't feel like they're being pushed or " exploited ". Most people like to arrive at the decision ( to write or call a school ) on their own without being asked.

    If connections feel strongly about the candidate and fit... the spirit will move them to act . Trust me. They'll probably volunteer on the spot.

    As far as switching up the apply-to list as you go .... I actually think it's a good thing! It's very natural for this to happen. College admissions, too!! I tend to worry when it doesn't happen during the process .... when things are too neat or seamless.

    Sometimes the universe works in mysterious ways. As frustrating and time consuming as it can be..... Just go with it. :)

    Thankfully, you still have time .
  • PeriwinklePeriwinkle Registered User Posts: 3,505 Senior Member
    That's why you visit schools. It's also why you attend revisits.
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