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Prep for Prep

pulsarpulsar - Posts: 1,266 Senior Member
edited May 2011 in Prep School Admissions
This thread is mainly for those of you that have gone through the process, seen it…, done that… to help us newbies. Please post any info, web links, etc., that you found very useful for SSAT prep, Writing Improvement, Interesting Summer Camps/Activities for Middle School Students such as Math, Science Competitions etc., Commonly Asked Questions in BS interviews and whatever you think are useful for BS admission. Thank you all.
Post edited by pulsar on

Replies to: Prep for Prep

  • gonnastopgonnastop Registered User Posts: 555 Member
    Thanks in advance! Go 2011 applicants! Yay!!

    Thanks for starting this thread, pulsar. Are you applying next year(2011)?
  • pulsarpulsar - Posts: 1,266 Senior Member
    Yes, gonnastop, I am applying for '11. Planning to apply to HADES, Lawrenceville. Welcome to the thread.
  • DappleDapple User Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 214 Junior Member
    As a former applicant, I give you this valuable information.

    Please don't procrastinate on your essays. Don't save them to do over winter break, either. I did that. I may say that I almost died.

    The "interviews" are more conversations than interviews. There's absolutely nothing to be nervous about - I remember I was wracking my head before one of my interviews. Practice in front of a mirror to comfort yourself, but your answers are mostly spontaneous. Just remember, you're in your skin and your skin only; make the best of it.

    Buy an SSAT prep book (I recommend the Princeton Review one). If you have spare time, here's some nice extra help for vocab: Full Ssat vocabulary list flash cards | Quizlet

    And perhaps the most important thing:
    HADES are not "the top 5 schools." It's our little acronym that was originally meant to refer to all the generally great schools. Gee, was I fooled when I was a new CCer.
  • pulsarpulsar - Posts: 1,266 Senior Member
    Thanks Dapple, great info. May be we'll meet at Lville next year!
  • bamagirl95bamagirl95 Registered User Posts: 523 Member
    Start early, start early, start early. I CANNOT stress that enough.

    Only apply to the schools you're really interested in. I think 3-7 is a good number, but it's up to you. Don't apply to a school you don't like just because it's prestigious.

    However, it's a good idea to have a "safety". I've seen at least two applicants this year not get in anywhere because they applied to only very selective schools. Find you want to go to with a higher acceptance rate. Selectivy doesn't always equal worth.

    Furthermore, HADES are not the only schools out there! There are hundreds of great boarding schools in America, so look at all of them and find the best fit for you.

    Focus on school. It's better to make an A in a class than to score a few points higher on the SSAT. Don't let the boarding school application process take away from your schoolwork.

    Study for the SSAT! Verbal is the part that needs most preparation, but if you're particularly weak in other area study for that too.

    There is no need to stress about your interviews! I actually enjoyed mine and we had interesting conversations. If you know you have trouble articulating your words, you may want to practice saying sentences out loud. But one thing to think about: they ask you to "describe yourself", etc., so make sure you a clear answer to that. When they asked me that one I had no idea what to say for a couple seconds.

    Build up your ECs as much as possible. Now is the time to start getting involved so you can further develop your interests!

    Form actual relationships with your teachers. Talk to them, go up to them if you need help, and don't fade into the background in class. This will help you tremendously when you ask them to fill out a reccomendation form!

    Work on your essays. Take all the prompts, and find a way to write as few amount of essays as possible. The less amount of essays you have= the more time you'll spend on each. More time= better essays. I applied to five schools, but only had to write two essays.

    And just be yourself. I know it can be a little intimidating, but try to stay true to who you are. In the end, your personality will matter more than anything else.
  • pulsarpulsar - Posts: 1,266 Senior Member
    Thank you, bamagirl95, very detailed, complete... should help us all newbies a lot.
  • pulsarpulsar - Posts: 1,266 Senior Member
    WRITING: My writing skill ain't bad, but it definitely needs improvement. I noticed a lot of you writing amazingly well on CC forums. I would appreciate any suggestions on what helped you reach this level of perfection. Any good web sites for writing guidance, writing prompts, any thing else you found helpful, please post. I do a lot of reading, but it doesn't seem to translate into great writing. I'm still working on it. Help... help...
  • BlueRaven1BlueRaven1 Registered User Posts: 2,109 Senior Member
    Well, it's not a very fair comparison, I vaguely recall you're an int'l applicant for whom english is a second language? Am I correct? If it is not, then I'm sure to an extent the BSs will take this into account. Also most of the kids on CC are not your average applicant. There is a single answer to why I write so well: I read. A lot. I'm talking up to 5 or 6 books a week, for years. I'm not saying you have to read this much but you have time so start reading a lot more, I know you are already but it takes practice. It didn't happen over night. Try to alternate between books that interest you and classics that improve your vocab and writing skill. You could also try writing your own Fanfiction or short story. Posting on CC should help too. You'll get a chance to practice writing complex posts. Buy some books on grammar and writing structure if you're worried but the only real answer is to read and practice writing. Outside of getting a great English teach, this is all you can do. Best of Luck! Also, get someone with amazing english skills to look over your essays, if you can't get one of us to do it (don't give it to next years apps, they might steal it. Paranoia, I know) and I at least will try although I'm no expert and I suspect that I'll have much less time on my hands. Concentrate on being a good, bright, nice person because beyond great scores and grades and ECs (of which except for my SSAT weren't that amazing) schools are looking for people who can succed at their school not only academically but socially as well. Advocate what you have going for you (unique experiences ect..) and I wish you the best of luck!
  • pulsarpulsar - Posts: 1,266 Senior Member
    Hi Blue, Thanks, Points well taken. Beware, I'll probably take up on your offer. BTW I'm not an int'l applicant, even though my name sounds like I'm from another parallel universe.
  • DiveAliveDiveAlive Registered User Posts: 1,734 Senior Member
    just emphasizing what Dapple said..

    HADES are not necessarily the top schools! i've seen so many people go, "oh, i'm just applying to HADES".. seriously? what's wrong with Milton or Groton or L'Ville or Choate? HADES are just 5 great schools, they're *NOT* the best. a couple of years ago, it used to be st. grottlesex.. it doesn't mean much, don't apply to them just because of this supposed 'prestige'. do your research, find which schools suit you. it's like applying to HYP just for the namesake.. don't do it!

    oh, and don't underestimate the SSATs. STUDY, even if people tell you it was ultra-easy. maybe you'll get a particularly hard test or their IQ was 50 points higher than yours, who knows..

    good luck!
  • BlueRaven1BlueRaven1 Registered User Posts: 2,109 Senior Member
    I'm sorry, I've had so many people ask me for advice lately that I've lost track of who is who..
  • pulsarpulsar - Posts: 1,266 Senior Member
    DiveAlive, thank you. I'll be making the decisions on where to apply only after visiting the schools later this spring/summer (for the right fit). I also like your comments about the SSATs.
  • Alexz825MomAlexz825Mom Registered User Posts: 730 Member
    As a mother of a former applicant, now student, please don't let name be the most important factor in considering a bs.......

    It is really about fit.

    PM me if you want addition information :-)
  • polodollypolodolly Registered User Posts: 401 Member
    Thank you so much for making this thread, I have been stressing out so much on when/how I should start! How far are you guys in the process???
  • pulsarpulsar - Posts: 1,266 Senior Member
    Hi Polodolly, welcome. We are just getting started. Hopefully, we will pick up momentum when the wheels start turning..

    It will be great if some of the 2010 applicants can post some interview questions, especially any offbeat ones.

    Which are the best BSs for Math and Science? I especially want to know if there are any other than the usual suspects.
This discussion has been closed.