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A Better Chance (ABC) Program 2019-2020

NYCParent1920NYCParent1920 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
Hi! I didn’t see a current thread on the ABC program so I thought I’d start one!

I am looking for feedback and experiences from those currently in the A Better Chance (ABC) program or from those currently applying to the program. CC has been the only site I have found with any real insight into the program (I have read through the old threads especially this one:
https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/prep-school-admissions/1977500-a-better-chance-program-middle-grades.html)
but I am just hoping to get some input from current students/applicants.

I was wondering the following:

1. My DC is currently applying to the program for high school admission. We recently received an email with access to the Test Innovators website which I believe (based on posts from prior years) is sent to all applicants. We were given assignments to work on ISEE prep instead of SSAT. Is that normal? I know my DC is better at math than verbal and I’ve read that the ISEE is sometimes better for students who are stronger in math so is that why they were given ISEE prep rather than SSAT prep or am I reading too much into it?
2. Is DC expected to complete all of the Test Innovators assignments by the deadline and will it affect their admission chances if they don’t? They only gave us a week to complete what, at first glance, appears to be a large number of assignments!
3. Has anyone had experience with their child successfully being placed in NYC day schools for 9th grade? I would love to hear about your experiences, good or bad.

Thanks in advance for your responses!
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Replies to: A Better Chance (ABC) Program 2019-2020

  • marocamaroca 7 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Hello @NYCParent1920,

    I also was looking for a current thread on this process. My daughter is applying to the program for Middle School, today we received her Benchmark test score, which I think it was low. I was wondering if you had any information about the cut off scores to be admitted in the ABC program?
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  • NYCParent1920NYCParent1920 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    edited May 30
    @maroca
    Hi, we are in the same boat as you are. We received DC’s benchmark results and were shocked at the scores in some sections. Is your daughter doing the Test Innovators assignments? If so, for SSAT or ISEE? My DC has been doing the ISEE practice tests and assignments and is performing much better on that exam. I am hoping that they will take that into consideration when making admission decisions! If you hear anything about cut off scores for admission to the cohort, please share! We are going to be stressed out from now until June 15th when decisions come out:(
    edited May 30
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  • marocamaroca 7 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Hello @NYCParent1920,

    We are certainly in the same boat. My daughter got a total score of 1832 (63%) and I don’t have any idea how bad or how detrimental is for my daughter’s chances to get in the cohort. I am searching online in different websites about those cut off scores but it seems impossible to find any information. I regret not preparing or at least exposing my daughter to the SSAT exam before she took the benchmark...Well, I can’t do anything about it now. About the homework is the same for my daughter (ISSE), it appears to be less complex than the SSAT. I’ll let you know if I find anything helpful... Good luck to you!!
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  • KimrosecKimrosec 1 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Same here. My son’s benchmark scores were surprisingly low, but I don’t believe there’s a cutoff (to my understand), as they consider all application factors - other stuff in your child’s app may outweigh low benchmark scores (especially official standardized test results that we were required to submit).

    I don’t believe they were required to complete all of the Test Innovator homework assignments. I know someone who’s child did not do any of the TI assignments last year, and they were still admitted to the program.
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  • Momto4kidsMomto4kids 337 replies1 threadsRegistered User Member
    @maroca I think that a 63% is actually very good for the benchmark. That puts her in the area of the most safe, particularly for top boarding schools. I would bet that she'll get good news on June 15th. I know people who were accepted into the program with much lower scores (including my kids)
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  • Momto4kidsMomto4kids 337 replies1 threadsRegistered User Member
    BTW, wanted to add that I have two current scholars. One is just finishing up his sophmore year at a local day school and another who was just placed this spring and will attend Gould Academy this fall. It's been a wonderful program for my kids.
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  • WildCat2023WildCat2023 66 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited June 8
    I have 2 college graduates (Ivy & NESCAC) and one who is starting BS in the fall at a TSAO school. The majority of people who use ABC to get into their independent school, miss the real value of staying active. This is my 10 year as an ABC parent. As far as scores go - depending on the resume as low as 30ish will not be turned away as a benchmark. It’s nothing for a kid to get a 20 pt jump from studying the approach to testing that the SSAT/ISEE. Kids are used to regurgitating - these tests look at critical and analytical thinking. It’s Easy to learn, once the child realizes the difference. I don’t know about day schools in the north, but the rule of thumb for your competitive top 10ish boarding schools is 90ish. Below 90 the child has to have a really good hook and no blemishes. Many decent BS will accept 70-80ish.
    edited June 8
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  • JoyandrosesmomJoyandrosesmom 6 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I found this thread very informative. My daughter just got accepted into the cohort. Just wanted to clarify 2 points. Am I understanding correctly that we have to pay for the test prep website? Also I wanted to know, from the parents who have already gotten through the process, did any of your children get into their preferred schools, because it seems that the referral process kind of guides your final decision. Thank you.
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  • NYCParent1920NYCParent1920 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    edited June 15
    @Joyandrosesmom Congratulations on your daughter's acceptance! My DC was also accepted to the cohort today. We are so excited! I will allow past participants to answer your questions because I am not sure but in terms of the test prep, I do believe we have to pay for it but it is a discounted fee for ABC students. They will hopefully provide us with all of the details at the orientation. Ours is next Saturday. When is yours?
    edited June 15
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  • NYCParent1920NYCParent1920 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @maroca @Kimrosec - I hope you both got good news today as well! Thanks for responding to my original post. Just in case anyone is curious, my DC did end up completing all of the Test Innovators assignments and practice test before the deadline and did fairly well on the ISEE so I guess that made up for the lackluster SSAT benchmark results. The assignments were not as time consuming as we originally anticipated and my DC even seemed to enjoy the online format.
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  • marocamaroca 7 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Hello @NYCParent1920 and everybody,

    Congratulations on your children's acceptance! We are also excited and happy on my daughter's acceptance. In the next days, I will take some time to go over the next steps for the ABC process. I was wondering: Do we have to give a list of our preferred schools to apply to? or ABC chooses and provides a list with recommended schools? Thanks to everyone who answered my prior questions and I want to thank @NYCParent1920 for creating this thread, I hope we keep in touch throughout this process.
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  • JoyandrosesmomJoyandrosesmom 6 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    We are scheduled for next Saturday as well. Thank you @NYCParent1920
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  • Iris33Iris33 10 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I have a question for those who already have some experience with ABC and the school admissions process. My daughter was accepted into the cohort. She will be applying for NYC prep schools to start in the 7th grade. I never considered a BS for my DC, but since exploring the threads on CC and doing some research, I’m beginning to think a BS would be a great fit for my kid. The children report being so happy and I’m attracted to the balance they offer between rigorous academics and superb extracurricular activities. SES also seems to be less of a factor in the kids social life, than I fear it does at many of the elite NYC day schools.

    My question is if I’m leaning toward a BS in the ninth grade, does it make sense to have her apply to a day school and maybe only stay for two years? Would ABC and the middle she attended look down on this? After all, if a school is offering money it seems reasonable that they would expect a serious and long-term commitment from the family. And if we were to seek a transfer in the 9th grade, this may be looked down upon not only by the school we were leaving but als by the BS admissions team. Also, my DC currently attends a citywide G&T that runs thru 8th grade and I’m concerned that uprooting her from friends twice would be hurtful.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated. Look forward to meeting all the NYC folk tomorrow morning!
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  • WildCat2023WildCat2023 66 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Transitions points like Middle to High School are great opportunities for change - but to answer your question - Yes, Schools like to think that they have the child up until graduation. BUT kids do use the transition points to go to the next level - BS. This is exactly the case for my youngest. His old school is definitely one of the best (Top 25) in the nation. Once he learned of the opportunities in BS - he was sold. It didn’t hurt that his two older brothers encouraged BS over Day. The BS kids float onto the campus, whereas even the best day school kids Struggle with the transition. When you go to the elite schools, the BS kids make immediate friends because they are their own “society.” Last, but certainly not least, BS kids learn Much earlier that the teachers are not foes, but colleagues. BS kids have learned their “voice” whereas day school kids have not. Think of this way - when you live together, things can’t simply be quashed at the end of the last class. They have to be managed and negotiated. Also, don’t worry about spiteful recommendations from the former school - the teachers are used to the best flying the coup. They WILL (quietly) cheer your child on - especially if they think they are ready for the next level.
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  • WildCat2023WildCat2023 66 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Oh yeah - I’m paying less for BS, than I paid for day school. That includes transportation costs!
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  • Iris33Iris33 10 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Wow, WildCat. I can't thank you enough for your thoughtful feedback. I had been spinning this thing in my head for days- going nowhere- and now I feel I can move forward with clarity. Can't wait for tomorrow!
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  • WildCat2023WildCat2023 66 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Gladly! I wished I knew about this site years ago!
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  • JoyandrosesmomJoyandrosesmom 6 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Hi, I was wondering..... we live in NJ, can we apply for schools in NY?
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  • SkysTheLimit2007SkysTheLimit2007 132 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Joyandrosesmom you can apply to any school that you'd be willing to travel to, but you should take into account that traveling distances each day might put some strain on your child/you. If your child wants to attend boarding school, then you can apply to any ABC partner school across the country!
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  • JoyandrosesmomJoyandrosesmom 6 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Great to know! Thank you @SkysTheLimit2007
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