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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...

  • CaliMexCaliMex Registered User Posts: 1,693 Senior Member
    Don't assume the most famous schools are the best schools, the most sought after, or the ones held in the highest regard by boarding school educators or college admissions officers. That's a rookie mistake.

    The best school is the one that fits you best... the one where you thrive because it has the right mix of autonomy and support for *you*, not anyone else.
  • ilovechoateeeeeilovechoateeeee Registered User Posts: 411 Member
    - research thoroughly!!! very beneficial to looking for schools to apply to or preparing questions to ask during your interview
    - start everything early! I would say start looking for schools in the summer, spent a month-ish after the essays prompts come out thinking about what to write for each. PLEASE DON'T start your essays in December break
    - form good relationships with your teachers who are writing the recs! Well, you should do that with every one of your teachers, but at the bare minimum be close with your Math and English teachers. Participate in class (but not too much), don't doze off, look at the teacher when he/she is speaking, don't talk to your friends when you're supposed to be listening to the teacher...
    - tell your teachers about them writing a recommendation before you send it to them. don't expect them to come to you
    - essays. are. very. important.
  • CC4lifeCC4life Registered User Posts: 243 Junior Member
    edited February 23
    -If you truly want to attend a boarding school next year, apply to schools other than Andover and Exeter (and if that means "broadening" your net to Choate, Deerfield, Milton, Lawrenceville, and SPS you are wrong.) However, if you are truly happy with your options at home, then by all means, only apply to the "top" schools.

    -Research the schools you are visiting BEFORE you visit them. And make sure you have questions to ask the tour guide and AO.

    -Don't read too much into the interviews, THE MAJORITY of people have good interviews. AND write thank you letters to tour guides and AOs.

    - Begin writing your essays early, as ilovechoateeeee stated, don't just start writing them over December break

    -reach out to the coaches, theater directors, and art instructors.

    -Your SSAT score IS NOT who you are (the admissions committee know that and it would do you a whole lot of good to know that too.) If you are applying to those "top schools", as long as your scores are within the 80 to 90 percentiles YOU ARE GOOD.

    -Make sure to check the transcript your school's registrar is sending in the transcript report, because in many cases they may forget to fill out a section or they will not send enough of the years necessary for the Adcomms.

    -Don't let essay prompts constrict your ability to tell the Admissions office who you are, make the prompt fit your experiences--NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

    - "books are the best things, well used; abused, among the worst." this same principle goes for CC. (I'm sure my fellow Ralph Waldo Emerson nerds will recognize that one). There are some incredibly educated parents, alums, and students of prep schools on here, and it would serve you well to AT LEAST here them out. On the other hand, take everything you read here with a grain of salt, many people on these threads are experiencing the first time in their lives where they have a file and they will be "judged" on their accomplishments by others, they may know as much, if not less than you do.

    - When it comes to ECs, don't just do them for the adcomms because they can recognize whether an EC lines up with your interests or not. Do ECs because you love them and are genuinely interested in them and will continue it in high school. AND DO NOT list every award or achievement you have achieved from your birth to the present. List the things that are still relevant to your life and goals today.

    -AND FINALLY, when all your school searching, info sessions, interviews, and apps are done...MAKE SURE TO THANK YOUR PARENTS/GUARDIANS. The number of parents willing to let their kids apply to schools on the other side of the country is incredibly limited, let alone the parents who will take their kids there for interviews and tours. the application process alone is extremely expensive whether your parents make less than 50,000 dollars or whether they make several hundred thousands of dollars. THANK THEM FOR PUTTING YOUR GOALS FIRST.
  • ThatScorpioThatScorpio Registered User Posts: 112 Junior Member
    Didn't think it would get this long lol ... here's some advice:

    --Start early. I started working on my essays when the applications came out, and still found myself working up until the deadline. You will have a lot more time to think about essays during August than during the school year, and knowing the prompts as early as possible will give you plenty of time to think about them.

    --Use CC! Even though CC can give you some anxiety, I agree with what most other people are saying -- it's a great resource. CC gave me more information on what I was getting into, and, in a way, gave me something to hold onto as I went on this crazy journey. I understood the application process so much more than I would have without it, which actually helped with a lot of the anxiety. Especially if, like me a year ago, you don't know anybody who's gone through this process, look at some threads from this past/current application cycle before you start on your own.

    --Online research is super important, but it won't tell you everything. Pay attention on the tours. Look at the atmosphere of the school - do you want to be there for the next four years? My tours changed my view on all of my schools: some of them I liked a lot more than before, and some a lot less (and not because of the classes offered, or the facilities, but because the atmosphere didn't seem right for me).

    --Remember that you are a unique individual -- the same school won't work for everybody.

    -- I truly believe the AOs want what's best for you. If you're struggling in school or have a low SSAT score, work hard to boost it but also be true to yourself. Going to a very academically difficult school may not be in your best interests, so you likely won't be accepted... which will save you from four very difficult years. A lot of people think that if you don't get accepted to a school it means you weren't right for the school (which, yes, is typically true) ... but it also likely means the school wasn't right for you. Don't force yourself into being right for a school: it's a four-year commitment.

    --Be YOU. Be the person you want to be, not the person schools, friends, or family want you to be. The person going to boarding school is YOU. My essays put me through the difficult process of figuring out who I am and who I want to be, not the person other people see me as. I deleted a lot of drafts because they just didn't feel like me. So, I don't recommend taking any essay ideas from anybody else, or any recommendations besides grammar. Remember that if you go to boarding school, you are going alone. So develop your identity, learn about yourself, and write about that person.

    --For essays: everything I wrote about and felt most confident about was what other people wouldn't know as much about me. I wrote about what the bulleted points on my Candidate Profile couldn't describe. Things that were important to me, even if they weren't important to anybody else. Ex. a rock garden that helped me develop my identity... nobody but my close friends knew it was important to me, and even they didn't know exactly how much it mattered to me... but that was where I found who I am, not the person other people think I am. I wrote about something that has mattered to me my entire life, even if I didn't realize it. And that's why essays are so important: your essays are YOU. So let them be you, and you will feel much more confident about them.

    --Let yourself learn from this process. Don't try to make your first draft the perfect essay, every school you tour a perfect fit, or all of your ideas about bs correct. You will learn so much about yourself and your hopes and dreams and expectations for life from this process. Let yourself go on a journey, and trust that, in the end, you'll know a lot more than you did before.
    If I could tell myself one year ago anything, I would say absolutely nothing: because I learned from the journey. From making mistakes. Let yourself make mistakes (but make sure you learn from them, and don't make mistakes on your final essays, interviews, etc. ... learn from your mistakes so your final drafts are the best they can be :) ).

    From all of these words, I hope you remember this: only YOU can define YOU. Take this opportunity to think about the person you are, and the person you want to grow into for the next four years. Embrace that person, and take the steps to become your best self. Don't lie, don't change, don't forget who you are. You will be stuck with YOU for the next four years, regardless of the school you go to. So listen to yourself.

    I wish you the best of luck, and I'm so excited for you... get ready to go on an amazing journey.
  • buuzn03buuzn03 Registered User Posts: 1,527 Senior Member
    @CC4life and @ThatScorpio great points, especially about essays and being you!
  • CC4lifeCC4life Registered User Posts: 243 Junior Member
    Bump. Even though I'm not the OP, I feel like there are MANY people who are stressing out about M9 on CC that could provide A LOT of advice to future applicants (I'm looking at those of you on the freakout thread and the chances threads).
  • lightningqueen12lightningqueen12 Registered User Posts: 310 Member
    Just a small tip:
    Safety schools help a lot with confidence. But LOVE YOUR SAFETY SCHOOL. Do NOT choose a safety school just so you can have a backup. Trust me, it helps the nerves a lot to love a school that you have a great chance with.
  • ThatScorpioThatScorpio Registered User Posts: 112 Junior Member
    @lightningqueen12 YES. LOVE YOUR SAFETY SCHOOL. Please DO NOT apply to a school that you don't want to go to... that's not the point of a safety (I made this mistake). There are plenty of great schools with higher acceptance rates
  • misslilbookwormmisslilbookworm Registered User Posts: 195 Junior Member
    Be yourself! I cannot stress how important this is. My mom tells me every night to never change. This process can pressure one to make himself or herself or themself into someone they're not.

    Check sports requirement!! Espescially if you are not an athlete. My only sport is swimming, I'm much more of an artsy kid. So one school I looked at would require three sports a year for freshmen, and I wasn't sure if I could do the musical/play as well as swim. Turns out that I couldn't, and so I didn't apply to said school.
  • Hopeful0304Hopeful0304 Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    Great advice @misslilbookworm! We were caught in that trap last year.
  • ThatScorpioThatScorpio Registered User Posts: 112 Junior Member
    @misslilbookworm couldn't agree more
  • lightningqueen12lightningqueen12 Registered User Posts: 310 Member
  • dogsmama1997dogsmama1997 Registered User Posts: 434 Member
    My advice is to listen to your kid because they are the one who is actually going to the school. I remember visiting colleges and literally stepping out of the car and deciding yes or no. It was a feeling, a vibe, an intuition. Thankfully my mother listened to me and allowed me to do my thing. The pup is the same way, vibe at all schools and listened to her gut. There were schools I wanted her to apply to, mostly in order to cast a wider net, and she said no. I think it's important to listen to the kid, let them be a little in charge or the process.
  • lightningqueen12lightningqueen12 Registered User Posts: 310 Member
    I like that!
  • dogsmama1997dogsmama1997 Registered User Posts: 434 Member
    I have been reading a lot of old threads (including chance me’s which I have avoided up until now) as well as current “why wasn’t I admitted” posts. It occurs to me that kids and their parents seem to forget a crucial aspect of this process - humility. If kids have never been told “there’s someone smarter, prettier, better at sports than you” let me say it now. For each one of us there are plenty of people better at certain/many things than us. Practice humility in your everyday life and during your interviews show this understanding.
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