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Boarding/Prep School Questions

officialsporkofficialspork Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
Hello! I am extremely new to this site and am not quite sure I'm doing this right... but anyway, let's move on to the important stuff:

I will be going into the Seventh grade soon and want to apply to a few boarding schools next year (mainly PA, PEA, Blair Academy, and Choate) so I have a few questions:

Do I have to be good at sports to have a good chance of getting accepted?

Does the fact that I have been getting straight As since the 3rd grade matter? Yes? No?

I have done a lot of extracurricular activities and clubs in the past and plan on doing more this year; is this something boarding schools are looking for?

I don't recall getting any district-wide awards, but do awards I have won in school count (Spelling Bee, Speech, etc.)?

Are the SSATs anything like the EOGs or any similar standardized testing?

Do you have to pay back financial aid?

Any tips on applying next school year?

Tips for SSAT prep?

Replies to: Boarding/Prep School Questions

  • YoonicornYoonicorn Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    Okay answering your questions, someone feel free to add on since I might not be entirely right, this is just based off of my personal experience.

    Your chances of being accepted based on being good at sports is not that important. Sure, having some stats on your profile is good, great even, but it does not solidify your chance of getting accepted, its merely an extra advantage point.

    Yes, grades do matter a little. I mean, don't count on getting in to places like Andover or Exeter if you have Ds and Fs all over your report cards. Having a solid GPA, like you, will make you as good as the other applicants out there, nothing more, nothing less.

    Extracurriculars are the same, the more the better if you must, and you still have to have some to a certain amount. Boarding schools are looking for student that are interested in many things and are well rounded when it comes to things outside of just academics.

    Don't worry about having MANY awards. I didn't have a lot but I still managed to get into one of the top schools out there. And yes, school awards are good to, write them down in your application if you can.

    The SSAT is a test with 3 parts, Verbal, Mathematics, and Reading. You take it all in one day. I don't quite remember how exactly it functions but just google search that up and everything your'e wondering about should pop up right then and there.
    Tips for the SSAT:
    Use books like Princeton Review(?) and such, they will help you a bit.
    Don't just go in there and wing it, make sure you know what your'e doing and be prepared.
    Get a good night's sleep and be awake and aware.
    Also, bring a snack (apples, or tangerines) and a bottle of water in a plastic bag to eat during the break.
    Don't bring a digital watch, a regular clockwork watch is fine though (also know that your phone will be taken away during testing)

    No, you do not have to pay back FA. It's kind of like a scholarship, the school is giving you a certain amount off of your tuition.

    Tips:
    Seek out the essay questions and write down some ideas whenever you can on the topics. I wrote my best essay on a walk back from school! Don't be frazzled over them, but also don't take them so lightly. Make sure to ABSOLUTELY UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES NEVER TO PROCRASTINATE UNTIL JANUARY 9TH. Trust me, you'll have a mental breakdown if you do. Try to finish by latest end of December. Essays are your only opportunity to show the schools what kind of person you are, besides interviews. It's okay to have people help you, like spell checking and advice, but please don't be one of those people who have others basically write 99.9% of it. The school's are interested in you, not your parents or your english tutor.

    Speaking of interviews, be prepared for these also. I don't quite remember how my interviews went, but be relaxed and calm, have a basic idea of what topics you want to ask about and what they'll ask you (if your'e interested in that, theres about 100 different forums on that topic so, search away!) Dress neat but not overdressed, I like to go for a skirt and a nice shirt with some flats (DO NOT wear heels, since you'll probably be taking a tour before the interview, and some of those campuses, per say Andover, are HUGE. Like if you were going to dinner with your grandparents at a nice restaurant.

    That's about it, sorry I think I got carried away a bit.
    But I do wish the best for you and your application process! Don't get stressed out and take everything at an even pace, there will be some moments where you'll think that you should give up but I promise that it's worth it in the end.

    All the best,
    Yoonicorn
  • officialsporkofficialspork Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Thank you so much! That was really helpful and made me feel better about applying in the future.

    I'm still taking other suggestions, too, of course.
  • cameo43cameo43 Registered User Posts: 1,446 Senior Member
    You have plenty of time. There is plenty of good information and advice on this forum. You can search through to find what you are interested in knowing about schools and the admission process. You are entering 7th grade this year? You will be applying to the schools you mentioned during your 8th grade year. So you've got lots of time to research and make good informed choices for your school list. Good luck!
  • patronyorkpatronyork Registered User Posts: 439 Member
    Do I have to be good at sports to have a good chance of getting accepted? If you are an established athlete, then it cannot be a minus.

    Does the fact that I have been getting straight As since the 3rd grade matter? Yes? No? Yes. Academics are the most important factor for admission. Of course they will take the course selections and school difference into account if they can. But in general, having a good grade is better.

    I have done a lot of extracurricular activities and clubs in the past and plan on doing more this year; is this something boarding schools are looking for? Yes. But they may not always appreciate so many activities if they look like cosmetics. Better focus on activities that you really enjoy. If you enjoy and have a passion in everything you do, that is fine.

    I don't recall getting any district-wide awards, but do awards I have won in school count (Spelling Bee, Speech, etc.)? Depends but better than nothing. One thing that you have to be always cautious with is putting too many less important things on your resume.

    Are the SSATs anything like the EOGs or any similar standardized testing? No idea. Pass.

    Do you have to pay back financial aid? Depends what kind of FA you will receive. Usually not.

    Tips for SSAT prep? Solve as many problems and make a note of the wrong answered questions.

    Any tips on applying next school year? (I put this question at the very end) All I said above are purely based on my subjective opinions as a boarding school parent.

    One tip I would like to give you: Numbers (grades and SSAT scores) are very important but they do not guarantee your acceptance. If you have good numbers, then you should not be eliminated in the earlier process. Assuming that you have satisfied their academic qualification, your personality (or the personal fit) gets in. It is probably the only differentiating factor for your acceptance. Your essays, interview and recommendations as well as activities will play a great role and that is where you can show 'authentic' yourself to the AOs. Best of luck!
  • officialsporkofficialspork Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    As far as sports go, I excel the best at Fencing (and i know thats not quite the popular sport); pretty average at soccer. So, I suppose hearing that essays, interviews, etc. factor in a bit more is a relief. All take all your advice into account- I'm trying to be as best prepared as can be (which definitely means looking at old CC posts)!

    P.S. I apologise for the spelling errors, I barely got any sleep.
  • catinthehat579catinthehat579 Registered User Posts: 110 Junior Member
    You should check out the Masters school and also posts by @SevenDad as his daughter is a fencer. (also, he has really good advice on applying)
  • officialsporkofficialspork Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    I checked it out and it looks great! Bonus that it offers fencing as an interscholastic sport! Thank you for the suggestion!
This discussion has been closed.