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Boarding School—Class of 2025'

aquarius1234aquarius1234 4 replies2 threads New Member
edited March 25 in Prep School Admissions
This forum is for anyone that wants to/is applying to boarding schools graduating in the year of 2025. Anything can be discussed, and fellow applicants can connect here. We should strive to make this a beneficial forum for everyone, and help each other out :smiley:
edited March 25
17 replies
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Replies to: Boarding School—Class of 2025'

  • LittleLesbianLittleLesbian 3 replies0 threads New Member
    Hello! I'm Lia. I'm a 12-13 year old female in 7th grade planning to apply to boarding school. My top 3 picks are:
    1. Exeter (co-ed, New Hampshire)
    2. Madeira (girls, Virginia)
    3. Andover (co-ed, Massachusetts)

    I come from a middle class family, and currently attend a public middle (7-8) school. I guess the only real trouble I've been having so far is trying to convince my parents to let me apply. They cited two reasons. First of all, they don't have the finances. I've looked into some financial aid, potential loans, and Exeter, as it offers free tuition if you have an income less than 75k and is a school I'd want to apply to regardless. The other reason is that they said they don't want me to go away and 'be raised by someone else'. As we live on the West Coast, I understand that, however, I'm very passionate about my education and this is a part of my future that I really care about.

    Any ideas about how to convince them I should be able to go?
    Thanks so much, and have a lovely day!
    ~Lia
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  • aquarius1234aquarius1234 4 replies2 threads New Member
    Hi Lia!
    For me personally, my parents didn't like the idea of boarding school too. However, I told them about the benefits and why it would impact me so much. I also told them that I wanted to apply first and see what would happen, since these schools are really prestigious and getting in would be hard.

    Honestly, the tuition wouldn't be much of a problem compared to the other point your parents made since these schools offer financial aid, and you can mention that to them as well.

    As for the problem of 'being raised by someone else', having a conversation and telling them about the academic positives of going to boarding school vs. your current school might help to persuade. For example, Exeter has a lot of great extracurricular opportunities that you wouldn't quite get in a public school. Tell them about the Harkness method, and how that would help you learn better than your current school. Be sure to mention the other specific activities (sports, art, music) that would benefit you so it would be more convincing.

    Another tip is to find why your parents are afraid of you 'being raised by someone else'. Do they not trust you with all the independence and freedom? Show them that you are capable of doing these things and that you really want to go. If you show them that you worked hard to get into these schools, they might just let you go!

    My overall tip for the first step is to convince them for you to apply, and see where that takes you.
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  • magnetnhmagnetnh 474 replies41 threads Member
    There are posts about the impact of Covid 19 on college admissions but what impact do you think it could have on boarding school admissions? How will SSAT and ISEE testing be administered and included for admissions? Any thoughts?
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  • LittleLesbianLittleLesbian 3 replies0 threads New Member
    @aquarius1234 - Thank you so much for those tips! I will definitely bring up those points in our next conversation and see if they may have an impact at all in swaying their decision. I do agree that I should try to apply, regardless of how much they want me to attend.

    @magnetnh - According to their websites, the SSAT testing sites are closed until April 15, and the ISEE's through the 16th of April. I'm assuming you'd be applying beginning this fall for 2021-22 (like me), in which case it's likely that there would be no major impact, as we wouldn't be taking these tests until September, October, or November. Hope this helps!
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  • aquarius1234aquarius1234 4 replies2 threads New Member
    Does anyone have any tips on studying for the upper level ssat?

    My ultimate goal is to get into the 99th percentile, and I have lots of time to prepare. (around 2 hours on weekdays, 4+ hours on weekends)

    I plan to take the ssat around August this year. However, if I don't achieve my goal I might retake the test in October/November. Currently, I'm having trouble figuring out what topics to start with at each study session. (English, or Math?)
    My biggest concern is obtaining a greater vocabulary, and I don't know what methods would work well.

    If someone has taken the upper level ssat here—are the practice tests harder than the real test?

    Any helpful ssat book suggestions are welcome, although I have most of the books needed already.
    I have:

    -Princeton Review Cracking the SSAT & ISEE, 2020 Edition
    -Ivy Global SSAT Math
    -Ivy Global SSAT English
    -Ivy Global SSAT Practice
    -Barron's Ssat/ISEE: High School Entrance Examinations
    -McGraw-Hill Education Ssat/ISEE, Fifth Edition
    -Kaplan SSAT & ISEE Middle & Upper Level Prep 2020
    -Vocabulary Workout for the SSAT/ISEE: Complete Edition (Justin Grosslight)
    -Breaking SSAT Math Upper Level (Amanda Yang)
    -Official SSAT Online Practice Guide

    What order of books should I start with, and how should I pace the practice tests?

    Thanks everyone!



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  • SleepingatlastSleepingatlast 49 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @Aquarius1234 I got a really low score on the SSAT, and I really regret not retaking it because I just know that I could’ve done so much better. I think you should start with the general books with all both math and English, like the Princeton Review. Study all of the words provided in those books, and if you want, use online flash cards (search for SSAT flashcards). Take practice tests, then work on the specific trouble spots. Also VERY important: consistently study (although I don’t think you’ll have any problem with that).

    This is just my suggestion, you can do whatever works best for you! It’s awesome how you’re taking all of this initiative and have high goals set for yourself. Wishing you luck!
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  • ens2006ens2006 187 replies7 threads Junior Member
    @aquarius1234 In regards to the SSAT, I agree with everything @Sleepingatlast said!

    I've heard the Ivy Global books are quite good, but I personally only used the Kaplan book. It's good to be prepared, but I really don't think using all those books is necessary. My advice is to use less books, and as all of them are quite different, I would pick the books that are most helpful for your weaknesses.

    The Kaplan book was awesome for me, and I went from a 70th percentile, without using it, to an 86th percentile after using it.

    The online SSAT study guide wasn't really helpful for ME, but it may work for you! My advice is to take some time experimenting and trying practice tests to see what works for you before you start REALLY studying.

    I also don't think that you need to study as much as you are-- especially when you have so much time. It probably would be more beneficial to study a little bit less each day, i think most people do around 30 minutes. You most definitely will get burned out, and not therefore not retain as much information when you over-study.

    It also depends on which practice tests you take. The Kaplan practice tests are easier, but the Princeton tests are harder.

    It also depends on which version of the SSAT you get. My first test (October) was WAY harder than my second test (January), which is also a huge reason why my score improved so much.

    Also, don't stress about a 99th percentile score! It's sort of a rule of thumb that across the board for every boarding school, an 85th percentile or higher is good-- that means the schools know that you are qualified. I promise that the score is only a SMALL part of your applications.
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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 896 replies17 threads Member
    @aquarius1234
    Before you stress out too much and spend all your time trying to achieve a 99% on the SSAT, read all the threads from all the kids who got that score and were rejected from all the top schools.

    It is much more important to pursue something you are passionate about and be able to talk about that than it is to get a 99%. When you have an interview next year and the interviewer asks you "what did you do while shut in because of corona?" and you answer "studied for the SSAT every day for 2 hours!" it is not going to be good. The kids who answer "learned XYZ about my favorite sport or musical instrument" are going to be in a much better place. So my advice to you is, sure, prep for the SSAT but spend the majority of your time developing your passions and kicking but in classes. Grades and comments outweigh scores at a certain point because grades and comments show your work ethic and ability to learn in a classroom.
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  • CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 393 replies16 threads Member
    Agree with @one1ofeach times a hundred.
    If you are open to some advice —
    Be interesting.
    Be interested.
    Sure, study for the SSAT but don’t let the tail wag the dog here.
    You’ve got 9 months ahead of applications to enrich yourself, make a mark in the world, and do something that matters deeply to you. Don’t squander it making flash cards for nearly a year.
    Nothing against flash cards, but months and months of flash cards just seems like too much of your precious life to give away. And I mean that both for you and for the sake of your applications.
    Live! Learn!
    Share your brilliance and kindness with the world!
    Yes — Study for the SSAT but also trust that you can do this.
    And trust that your brilliance will shine through and you really (really!) do not need a 99 for the admissions officers to see your special mark of brilliance.
    If you don’t know what Your special mark of brilliance is, then drop the flash cards and work on THAT instead, because I promise you — that matters more.
    I love how much you want this and how you are willing to put in the work ahead of the game! Go you! Just make sure you work smart, not just a lot.
    Cheering you on!!
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  • parentofnicekidparentofnicekid 48 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I would recommend investigating what those in your co-hort generally achieved for the schools you are interested in. The bar is much different for international kids. I do agree, though, that it’s important to take something you love and delve into that.
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  • vox_nihilivox_nihili 37 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Wow! That's a lot of prep books. I would echo others that you should focus on your passions during this time I know some kids who got 99% and did not get into any of the boarding schools they applied to so do know that a 99% does not guarantee admissions.

    As far as test prep, there is a free 15 minute assessment on the SSAT site that I would suggest you take before buying any of the test prep materials you list above. Some people just don't need much if any test prep so why buy things that aren't needed? The 15 minute assessment might show that the only real improvement you can make is on vocab for instance in which case downloading the 200 most common words from quizlet maybe be enough prep.
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  • aquarius1234aquarius1234 4 replies2 threads New Member
    Thank you everyone for responding! I agree 100% with the tips, since the other components (hobbies, extracurriculars, etc.) are very important as well. The suggestions and ideas really helped, and I'm on the road to pursuing my hobbies further in addition to studying the ssat!
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  • DroidsLookingForDroidsLookingFor 97 replies0 threads Junior Member
    One AO told us that they could fill their incoming class every year multiple times over with 99%ile SSAT kids. In the same breath they also said "but wouldn't that be dull?"

    @aquarius1234 I would go so far as to say that not only are the other components "very important as well" they are - once you've met some baseline for academic competence - no less than "as important" and likely much more so than a single data point like an SSAT score.

    Remember too it's not just what you do but how and why you do it. Anecdote alert: one of my kids is a big Kpop fan. She taught herself basic Korean - written and spoken - so that she could knowledgeably sing the lyrics. That type of intrinsic motivation and curiosity is total catnip for AOs.
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  • dancingpianistdancingpianist 8 replies2 threads New Member
    edited March 31
    @aquarius1234 For me, the Ivy Global Textbooks helped a lot. You will see a vocabulary list in the Ivy Global English SSAT textbook. I also took every practice test available to me (Ivy Global, Barrons, Princeton, Kaplan) and I actually thought the real test was slightly easier.

    To do well on the test, make sure you understand all the mathematical concepts and read a lot! Reading is really great as it improves vocabulary and your reading comprehension skills. Most of the SSAT vocabulary I learned was from reading books, for example, 'Frankenstein' by Mary Shelley.

    However, as everyone else has said, don't just focus on the SSAT. Schools want to know more about your interests and passions. After getting a solid score, I decided not to retake it for a 99% because I wanted to spend time writing my essays. What makes you unique? How can you make a difference? What can you bring to the school? The SSAT is only a small portion of your application!

    Lastly, always remember to try to showcase kindness and compassion! Good luck with your application!
    edited March 31
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  • LittleLesbianLittleLesbian 3 replies0 threads New Member
    Also, slightly off-topic, but not completely - Does anyone here know what prom is like at Madeira, Exeter, or Andover? And how open would they be towards same-sex (female/female) couples attending together? Just curious.
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  • aquarius1234aquarius1234 4 replies2 threads New Member
    Hi everyone,
    I took all your suggestions and started practicing my extracurriculars⁠—because of this, I started a youtube channel today for song covers!
    If someone listened to my first video ever, subbed, commented—or not—that would mean so much to me!🥺
    Here is the link if anyone is interested!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4S4FxGZvLpI

    *sorry for shameless self plug hahah!*
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  • ggski666ggski666 1 replies0 threads New Member
    Hi!!

    I'm an incoming freshman at the Hotchkiss School, and I was in the 95th percentile for the SSAT. To be 100% honest, the score itself is only a super super small part of your application (which I'm sure you've heard 1000 times). But, I cannot stress enough how true it is. If you are a strong academic student, and are well rounded overall (e.i, multiple-sports, instruments, etc.) then your score should not be your main concern.

    For me, I took the test twice, and I highly recommend doing so. I have always been a good test taker, and I'm lucky that I am. But, if you are strong academically, the test should come easily. Don't overthink it, seriously. Take it easy, and stay calm during it. In terms of Verbal, I recommend reading lots in months before the test, it helps so much when you are exposed to new vocabulary. When it comes to the reading related things on the SSAT, it's pretty much common sense, and you shouldn't find it incredibly difficult. When it comes to the Quantitative section, that's a different story.

    For me, I have always been a super strong student when it comes to Math (straight A's and great recommendations), but, I scored surprisingly low on the SSAT in this area (67th percentile, but my Verbal score was the 97th) This is because I didn't know many of the concepts. The test reaches past your computation skills and focuses more on particular topics (slope, functions, etc.) So, I recommend going through your books. and taking note of the topics you don't understand, and then studying those.

    I studied completely independently, because tutoring is insanely expensive, and, it felt unnecessary.

    Just stay calm, study up (but not too much), and trust your gut.

    The test is not what makes your application by any means, don't sweat too much over it. It's good practice for the SAT and ACT anyways.

    :)
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