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What to do the year before applying

SilverstagSilverstag 158 replies14 threads Junior Member
edited April 2012 in Prep School Cafe
Hi guys, I'm going to be applying to a bunch of different schools (Andover, Exeter, Choate, Deerfield, and Hopkins) and I was wondering if there was anything I should do this year, the year before I apply, besides keeping up with schoolwork, athletics, and extracurriculars. I'm going to be taking the ISEE and SSAT next year. Are there anythings I should be doing before applying? I'm in 7th grade.
Thanks :)
Silverstag
edited April 2012
17 replies
Post edited by Silverstag on
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Replies to: What to do the year before applying

  • SilverstagSilverstag 158 replies14 threads Junior Member
    What did you guys do the year before you applied?
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  • 98beebee98beebee 1634 replies28 threads Senior Member
    i actually didn't even know I was applying to boarding school in seventh grade, to be honest. Just prepare yourself for asking for recommendations, etc. Good luck!
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  • CherryRoseCherryRose 279 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Read some CC threads from last year and get a feel for the process. Keep your expectations realistic. Begin the essays early, study for the standardized test early, start doing everything as early as possible. That may go for interviews as well- if you can afford it, some have said that interviewing in the summer (at the schools) allows you to leave a more thorough impression on the AOs.

    Good luck. You may not understand now, but keep in mind that the admissions process is only a meritocracy to an extent.
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  • SilverstagSilverstag 158 replies14 threads Junior Member
    Thanks guys! I have started studying for the SSAT, and I'll try to do my interview over summer. Anyone else have any suggestions?
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  • aubreygalaubreygal 329 replies13 threads Junior Member
    I agree with 98beebee and CherryRose, except for doing your interview in the summer (between 7th and 8th grade).

    I did my interview for Andover in late June, and although I felt my interview went really well, I wasn't as developed as an applicant and as a person as I was in the fall. For example, in the summer I didn't know that I would be editor of my newspaper, captain of my debate team, have all A's, or be in cheer. These are all super impressive things that, yes were included in my application, but I was unable to highlight and expand on them during the interview.

    I also wasn't as poised - I recall my interviewer asking, "So, what other schools are you applying to?" and I answered with "I don't know, *insert name of local public high school here*." Had I done the interview in the fall, I could've replied with "Choate and Hotchkiss." Even though this won't be a problem in your case, it's just an example of how much you grow, learn, and change in the summer between seventh and eighth grade.

    Also, interviews IMO are one of the most important components in your application. I think my interviews played a part in my getting WL'ed at Andover and accepted to Choate and Hotchkiss. Yes, the acceptance rates are different (although Hkiss and Andover are almost the same), but I was able to portray and show myself in a better way during my fall interviews.

    In other advice, I would recommend getting/staying on good terms with teachers, joining lots of extracurricular activities in order to *hopefully* get a leadership position in eighth grade, study for the SSAT/ISEE, communicate with your family about it, and readreadread.

    Like previous posters said, make sure you look through old CC threads so you can see all of us 2011/2012 applicants fretting about applications ;) and get a feel for what it's going to be like.
    PM me with any questions! I will be attending Choate this fall so let me know how that goes! :)
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  • ballerina22ballerina22 432 replies23 threads Member
    Keep your grades up. Most schools require grades/transcripts from previous years, so try to get As! Also, I recommend studying for the SSAT as much as possible. I got 5 practice booklets, and started learning vocab in the beginning of June. I will advise, though, that you stick with it. What I did is I started studying intensely throughout the summer, then, as the school year started, I neglected my hundreds of notecards, thus reversing most of what I have learned. STICK WITH IT. Vocab was the toughest section for me, so I would suggest making as many notecards as you can and then reviewing them every night. Good luck!
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  • EnemyOfTheSunEnemyOfTheSun 431 replies16 threads Member
    "started learning vocab in the beginning of June"

    There's no need to stress yourself over SSATs like this. It's only one part of the application, and you should spend more time polishing more important aspects e.g. your essays and your ECs.

    Get the Princeton Review book and do all the exercises. I reckon 2 months of prior prep are generally adequate. After all, you want a true indication of your ability in order to find a school that is your best match.

    For the verbal section, 2 months, 1 month = 30 days, 20 words a day, 20*60 = 1200 words are enough. The more you cram, the less you remember.
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  • ballerina22ballerina22 432 replies23 threads Member
    EnemyOfTheSun - While I understand your point, I was just talking about my own experiences. I never do well on standardized tests, and because I started the application process so early, I wanted to do whatever I could in the moment. I was already involved in numerous extra curricular activities, and was a straight A student, so studying for the SSAT was the next step for me. I'm glad I started so early, because I ended up raising my SSAT score from the 67th percentile to the 92nd percentile.
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  • classicalmamaclassicalmama 2244 replies17 threads Senior Member
    It doesn't hurt to study for the SSAT, especially if you're starting well in advance. If nothing else, it's good review. Don't obsess about it, but as ballerina points out, if you tend to not do that well on certain section, get a few study books and learn whatever test taking tricks you can. I'm always downloading SAT flashcard apps and bugging my kids to do them when they have a spare 10 minutes here and there--if nothing else, you get used to the format of the questions and answers and start recognizing roots and prefixes that might help you dissect a word on the SSAT.

    As far as the other stuff goes, focus on quality over quantity. Leadership or excelling in a sport or e.c. will matter more than joining every club at the school. So think about what you do best, and put your energy and time there.
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  • SilverstagSilverstag 158 replies14 threads Junior Member
    Thanks guys. I think I will do my interview in fall. I was wondering if anyone knows any good books, or online resources for the SSAT? Thanks!
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  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 14268 replies297 threads Senior Member
    In addition to the application process, you need to give attention to WHICH schools to apply to. The list of schools you mention in your original post are all top tier schools
    I'm going to be applying to a bunch of different schools (Andover, Exeter, Choate, Deerfield, and Hopkins)

    (I assume you meant "Hotchkiss", not "Hopkins") with very, very, very challenging admit rates. Unless you are a legacy or have some compelling "hook", the reality is your admit probability is less than that of rolling a die.

    If you are intent on enrolling in BS, I strongly advise you to consider some other schools too, and not be blinded by the hype surrounding the few schools most mentioned on this website. Just take a look at this year's outcomes and how disappointed many applicants are-- and these are applicants with top-notch credentials:
    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/prep-school-admissions/1299461-official-list-2012-acceptances.html

    I sincerely do not mean to discourage you, but just want you to have a positive experience come March 10, 2013.
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  • SilverstagSilverstag 158 replies14 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for the suggestions, I think I will also try for some more slightly less competitive schools. Anyone know any good ones with no religious affiliation? Does anyone have a good site, or book that they know of for SSAT vocabulary?
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  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 14268 replies297 threads Senior Member
    Try this website:
    Search Boarding Schools - Boarding School Review

    I wouldn't be deterred by religious affiliation-- you will be limiting your search. Many of the enrolled students are not of the schools' denomination, and most schools are not going to aggressively push religion.
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  • CherryRoseCherryRose 279 replies4 threads Junior Member
    I second GMTplus7's wisdom. I limited my search by factors like religous affiliation, perceived prestigousness, etc., and while CHADES affirmed that I was qualified with waitlist upon waitlist, I did not receive any acceptances. Of course, that was no doubt affected by the fact that I am an Asian needing full FA, but perhaps that would not have been the case had I widened my search.

    As procuring acceptances is the objective of this elaborate game, think about it this way, all future applicants: YOU HAVE GOT NOTHING TO LOSE, ONLY SOMETHING YOU COULD POTENTIALLY GAIN, BY APPLYING TO A SAFETY/ANY EXTRA SCHOOL.
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  • SilverstagSilverstag 158 replies14 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for the suggestions about other schools, but I go to a pretty decent private school in Atlanta, and I've decided I'll stay there if I don't get into any of these schools. I was just looking at some of the other schools, Also how much does legacy help? My dad's brother went to Exeter, and the other one went to Choate. Are there any places that give out there essays early? Any practice tips for SSAT vocab? Anyone want to share what they did in 7th grade?
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  • SilverstagSilverstag 158 replies14 threads Junior Member
    I know it's really unlikely that I'll get in, but I feel it's worth a shot. Anyone else have any suggestions?
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  • IndyMom4IndyMom4 36 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I think it helped my son that he had a proven track record of extended time away from home. 3 week summer camps, a 5 week residential academic program, a foreign exchange experience (3 wks away from home)... This let the admissions officers see that he will easily transition to residential life, not be homesick or at risk of over-hovering parents, etc. They could see that he was the restless one (it wasn't the parents' idea), and that he likes to meet new people, enjoys jumping into new experiences and pushes himself outside of a life that would otherwise look narrow and midwestern. Since you are applying from Atlanta, you may want to do something like this over the summer so you can see for yourself if this is something you will like on a long-term basis, and to show that side of yourself to the admissions officers. My son had a great day school option, so he didn't apply to any "safety" schools either. Best of luck!
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