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It's time to stop chancing each other and give back to future applicants...


Replies to: It's time to stop chancing each other and give back to future applicants...

  • Nico.campbellNico.campbell Registered User Posts: 727 Member
    @Atria @twinsmama TBH I'm more of a scalding mess than a hot mess :)>-
  • Nico.campbellNico.campbell Registered User Posts: 727 Member
    Everyone: Take @HhopefulFforSsuccess2021 's advice about interviews!!!! Be flexible: act as if you're talking with your closest friends! Just have a general idea of some cool things that you'd like to bring up about yourself, and insert them into the conversation when the context is appropriate! It's really simple: I'm not necessarily "socially savvy" and I found the whole interview process to be amazing! Good luck you guys!
  • monica20monica20 Registered User Posts: 92 Junior Member
    For SSAT's: I advise anyone taking them to take them as early as possible. I took mine in January and my results were fine, but it is in your best interest to leave time for retakes if you aren't satisfied with your first scores. As for studying, I'd recommend the Princeton Review's book for reading and Kaplan's book for math. The online SSAT tests are very valuable as well.

    Choosing where to apply: Don't choose schools only for the sake of boarding. Instead, apply to schools where you can genuinely see yourself. While you may want to board with all your heart, applying and attending a school where you don't fit could leave you miserable. Many people have a 'cast a wide net' attitude for all situations, but I personally don't believe that the attitude is appropriate in every individual circumstance. I initially wanted to apply to five boarding prep schools, but after meeting with reps, looking through booklets, and talking to students, I could only really see myself at two of them. At the same time, be sure to at least check out as many schools as you can to better make decisions like this. I made the mistake of only looking at a few. I didn't apply to schools where I (now) believe I could have fit well (like Choate, Hotchkiss, and Groton) because I only considered a few. Basically, cast a wide net for your best fits.

    Essays: Seriously, take @nico.campbell 's advice and make them original and representative of yourself and your views. Schools want to pick those who they believe to be a good fit, and writing 'bland' essays won't tell them who you are. You want to make sure that schools choose you for YOU. Talk about your future goals, personal beliefs, or interesting experiences (the medical marijuana cat essay seems VERY eye-catching to me!)

    Interviews: While it may be difficult for some to keep calm about interviews, just remember that your interviewer is trying to help you. Don't overthink the questions asked, and answer genuinely. Focus on telling interviewers why and how you will be a good addition to the school, and why you want to go to the school in the first place. If that reason is simply "I want to go to an Ivy," or "I want to board," or something along those lines, I'm afraid you may be in the wrong place. Tell your interviewer about what sets the school apart from others for you.

    ECs: Make sure your ECs give AO's an insight into your values and aspirations, but don't participate for the sake of looking well-rounded. Two friends of mine (one applying to A, another applying to E) started attending student council meetings one month before submitting their applications. Now, I've been in school student councils for a good six or seven years, and I've never seen either one of them at a single meeting. Neither of them showed much interest during the single meeting they attended that month, either. I'll take a wild guess and suggest that AO's will be able to tell if you've joined an EC only to look like a more qualified applicant. Instead, pour your heart and dedication into the ECs you already participate in to show your passions.

    'Hooks': I'll take a swing and tell you that while being a recruited athlete or being a legacy will get you some attention, the merits of an application will be the reason an AO will give someone the green light. So, if you don't have what most CC'ers would consider a 'hook,' don't stress. I know many students at prep schools like Exeter, Andover, Choate, and Cate, and many of them don't have a hook.

    Don't get intimidated by looking at other applicants on CC. Honestly, being the anxious person I am, I spent a while scrolling through other Chance posts, believing myself to be severely under-qualified compared to applicants I read about. This is definitely my worst regret through this process. My friend's older sister was accepted to Deerfield with a mix of A's and B's, a few ECs she cared deeply about, and an interview that gave the family little hope. Stats don't tell the full story. At the same time, don't assume you will get into a certain school based on interviews or your stats. My friend's sister had a 99th SSAT percentile, perfect grades, and a successful interview, but she was rejected from Exeter (she ended up at Andover, which was her second choice, and she's currently a senior. She ended up loving Andover.) A friend of mine was a triple legacy with great athletic abilities, but he was waitlisted at Deerfield. My Jack Kent Cooke Foundation adviser cautioned my mother about being complacent, and let it slip that many JCKF scholars had been rejected from prestigious prep schools. Likewise, if someone on CC tells you that you have amazing or weak chances, just remember that they are going off stats alone.

    Whatever happens, it's for the best, and you will be FINE. If you don't get into your dream school, don't lose hope. Perhaps you weren't a good fit, or maybe you weren't what AO's looked for that particular year. Maybe competition was extremely high that year. You'll never know. If you are set on boarding and you get into a school that wasn't your first choice, love the school that loves you. You were selected for a reason. Attend the school where you can explore your interests and aspirations in the best environment.

  • monica20monica20 Registered User Posts: 92 Junior Member
    Also, remember to thank anyone who has helped you in the process, whether it be your parents for supporting you, your teachers for writing recs, your interviewers, or your tour guides. These people take the time and difficulty to help you succeed, so the least you could do is show your appreciation!
  • Nico.campbellNico.campbell Registered User Posts: 727 Member
    Here's one thing that I think can really help you stand out in the applicant pool: do UNIQUE community service activities.
    Rather than going to the soup kitchen every day of your life, find a way to contribute to your community that shows your passions! For example, I really really care about equal educational opportunities, so I travel to Jamaica every year to hand out learning materials to underprivileged kids in the public schools system! Another example: I am really passionate about sustainability/eco-footprint minimization, so I organized a food donation system in my school where leftovers in the cafeteria are donated!
    If you have something that you are passionate about, try to find a way to share this with your community, or to service your community utilizing this skill! Collaborate with principals, teachers, music instructors, etc!

    Andover's motto is "non sibi" meaning "not for self"! DISPLAY YOUR NON SIBI SPIRIT!
  • AtriaAtria Registered User Posts: 832 Member
    In addition to the above...

    Its equally important to demonstrate dedication to community service... Showing dedication to one service for a long duration (in regular intervals) is impressive. It shows dedication and persistence to do something throughout the year...
    Doing a community service (unique or no) for just a couple months is not the same...
  • HhopefulFforSsuccess2021HhopefulFforSsuccess2021 Registered User Posts: 275 Junior Member
    edited March 2017
    In addition to above...

    I live in the countryside. My family doesn't have enough money to take me to Jamaica every year, although I wish they did. I am not exposed to as many opportunities as many other applicants are. I don't have any unique service activities I can join in the small town I live in. The most I can do is shelve books at the library (which is a lot more tedious than it sounds.) I'm not mocking or trying to be mean to anyone who is able to do more, and if anything I encourage you to keep doing that if you can!

    I know some applicants are like me and they read about other people who have a lot more EC's than them and a lot more experience in, well, anything and everything. However, never use your situation as an excuse. The Ao's know about your situation, and now they want to know what you did with it. Go out and make the most out of your situation. I reached out this year to volunteer work. I joined clubs like Mathcounts and participated in the Science fair-- this year was my first year for all! Not only will this look good on your application and to the AO's, but it's good for you in general. I made it to the Chapter competition! I'm going to the District science fair next week! And the best part is, I'm going to continue doing science fair-- it's really fun for me! I'm want to keep working at the library-- it's really fun and I get to work in an environment I love.

    Do anything you can, and if your school doesn't offer volunteer opportunities or clubs, do things yourself that you feel passionate about. Again, make the most out of what you've got. I promise there's more than you think you can do.

    Sorry, I'm not very good at conveying ideas clearly, but basically...never give up, regardless of your situation.

    Also, the points above by Nico and Atria were wonderful.

    Also...remind me any grammar or spelling mistakes if you find any, thanks :) .
  • AtriaAtria Registered User Posts: 832 Member
    Since we are on this topic:

    When people say community service, you envision food drives, helping poor, rescuing animals, etc. The fact is, community service can be anything; as long as you goal is to help someone else. It doesn't need to be large or extravagant. Any effort counts. You don't have a community service program? Create one, gather a group of friends and organize a food drive, build a fence, etc... Or even simpler: help your elderly neighbor with her grocery bags... Take her dog out for a walk... What are your interests? Perhaps you are good at art or dance. Organize a intro class (it doesn't have to be somewhere special... a local community center, or even your house) for the kids in your neighborhood...Yes some of these things you can't account for in your app... But you know what... The application doesn't decide you life... The experiences that you will get and the exposure that you will receive is invaluable...

    So yea that's my mini spiel... Go help someone... :D
  • Fielding2000Fielding2000 Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
    I, for one, volunteer at the Ojai Raptor Center (I'm into birds)!
  • PhotographerMomPhotographerMom Registered User Posts: 1,933 Senior Member
    Really nice posts, everyone! Thank you so much!! There is always room for more !!

    Convalescent Homes ( as an example ) are always looking for volunteers. I imagine a young musician playing for the elderly on a quiet Sunday afternoon, or a young person reading to someone who can no longer see.... those are just a two lovely ways ( off the top of my head ) that someone anywhere can share their time, talent, and make a difference in someone's life .

    It never needs to be grand... just meaningful to you.
  • Nico.campbellNico.campbell Registered User Posts: 727 Member
    @HhopefulFforSsuccess2021 You should be immensely proud of how resourceful you've been, coming from the countryside... Seriously: no matter the outcome on Friday, just realize all of the amazing thing's you've done! :)>-
  • preppedparentpreppedparent Registered User Posts: 3,351 Senior Member
    Identify what makes you awesome and ask those close to you who know you best, and focus on that! Don't try to be anyone else, that's already taken, (to paraphrase Oscar Wilde.) Make your own contribution to your communities and realize you are good enough for any of these schools.
  • monica20monica20 Registered User Posts: 92 Junior Member
    I second @HhopefulFforSsuccess2021 . AO's are looking for creative innovators who know how to use different situations to their advantage. When I lived in the rural south, I didn't have half the opportunities that I currently do in the city. I applaud you for taking the initiative to contribute to your community! I also second what Nico said about devoting yourself into community service opportunities you care about. Doing community service for the sake of looking good to AO's seems sketchy to me, and taking action for causes you love allows you to expand on your interests. AO's will get a better idea of what you stand for.
  • Nico.campbellNico.campbell Registered User Posts: 727 Member
    Another important note: Although test scores are an important part of your application, DONT OBSESS OVER THEM. If you are applying to Andover and get a 90% on the ssat, you're in fine shape! going from a 90-93% really won't make a difference (and it's harder than you think to improve your score). Just get within the school's range, and relax. If you don't have enough EC's or are lacking in another part of your application, great test scores can help fill that gap BUT again, a 2% change won't make a difference in your application. Good luck!
  • Personof2017Personof2017 Registered User Posts: 144 Junior Member
    One more thing: Be yourself. Love the school that loves you.
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