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

PhotographerMomPhotographerMom 1874 replies60 threads Senior Member
Dear Chance Me Peeps,

You do know that all of this nervous energy can be used differently and for the greater good- right? Right.

For this thread- Please share anything you think a future applicant should know about the BS application process. Maybe you'd like to also share something special about the school (s) you love, or why they earned your application.

And- if you had to do it all over again..... What ( if anything ) would you do differently?

Have fun with it and give something back to the applicants next year! All the best to everyone and good luck M10!!

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

  • GMC2918GMC2918 894 replies25 threads Member
    edited March 2017
    First of all, I have always had a bit of a CC crush on @PhotographerMom and this thread idea just confirmed those already strong feelings!

    Secondly @Nico.campbell:

    I'm not sure how you could make your essays "more original" than treating your sick dog with medical marijuana!
    edited March 2017
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  • AtriaAtria 816 replies16 threads Member
    GMC2918 wrote:
    I'm not sure how you could make your essays "more original" than treating your sick dog with medical marijuana!
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  • skieuropeskieurope 39743 replies7238 threads Super Moderator
    Thirded. :)
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  • AtriaAtria 816 replies16 threads Member
    Motion Passed :D
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  • WannaboardWannaboard 28 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Atria, have you ever stated what BS you are applying to? What is your first choice, etc? You seem like an expert in the process, has one of your siblings gone through it before? Anyway you seem very excited about going to BS so I hope it works out the way you would like it to.
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  • HhopefulFforSsuccess2021HhopefulFforSsuccess2021 256 replies19 threads Junior Member
    I love the idea of this thread!!!

    Testing Advice:

    I don't have any advice as to how to study for it because I didn't do that very well this year :( That said, DON'T EVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR ABILITIES!! I thought I was good at reading. I do awesome in standardized testing. I love books. I'll be fine...End results? My SSAT reading percentile was my worst and my overall failed to reach a 90. You should also get started as early as possible and try your best to not slack off!! I remember laying around and procrastinating, telling myself: "I'll study later. I'm good at this."

    I ended up piling study on myself the week before. It was not the best week of my life.

    Interview advice:

    I know this won't apply to everybody, but trying to get "questions often asked by interviewers from x school" and "practicing interviews" destroyed me.

    I got worried and started to memorize points that I wanted to bring up, and I was practicing how I would phrase my answers. I filled my mind with pre-answers and I ended up messing up and acting totally robotic at my actual interview. I did this for my interview at Exeter, and then tried a whole new, natural, no-prep approach to my Andover interview. I definitely enjoyed my interview with Andover more, but there are many other factors that may have contributed to that feeling :)

    Another point I'd like to bring up is to speak of EXPERIENCE, not just words. One of my interviewers asked me if I shared a room with my sister or not. After my reply, he started talking about roommates. I kept replying with "It's okay, I can do it. I'm flexible. I'm flexible." They doesn't CARE if you THINK you're "flexible". They want to know HOW. Tell them about overnight camp or sharing rooms with siblings. And this advice doesn't just apply to this question...try to do it with all responses.

    Just speak your mind. Speak you. Chances are, the first things that come to your mind define you best and are more important to you, and that's what you want-- to be yourself. Challenge yourself to think at the interview. The interviewer won't mind! They know some of their answers require some time to ponder. You'll be fine.

    Also, bring a notebook with facts of the school, notes, points you want to bring up, questions, etc. Interviewers like that :)

    Also...dress well. You don't necessarily need to wear a suit, but don't wear jeans. Something casual and proper. I wore khakis and sweaters to mine, and then regular tennis shoes since I didn't have dress shoes.

    Essay advice:

    Have fun with it! Choose topics you have EXPERIENCE with and you can talk about passionately.

    Don't be afraid to ask others like your English teacher or parent to read it. Sometimes, what you write might not be read the way you wanted it to. I wrote some sentences in my essays that I thought were okay, but my mom read them and told me if she was an AO she would think I was being negative and conceited. Of course, I didn't mean my essay to come out that way, but after fixing my essay according to my mom's comments, I was even happier with it than I was before she read it. I sounded a lot better. It was great.

    Make yourself a schedule. Give yourself deadlines. I told myself "I'm going to give you 11 days to get Andover's essays done." Of course, I didn't always meet them, but it urged me to work harder and get them done because I needed to work on the next school's essays.

    Start them early as well!! At least by Thanksgiving break. Give yourself enough time to write them all and take days off :).


    Remember to learn from this process. You can't pay me to go back to have the mindset and be the person I was before I applied. I have certainly gained some good habits and I will try my best to go through the application process again if not accepted this year.
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  • HhopefulFforSsuccess2021HhopefulFforSsuccess2021 256 replies19 threads Junior Member
    lying around*

    please excuse any grammar mistakes/spelling mistakes. I'm not exactly good at that.
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  • AtriaAtria 816 replies16 threads Member
    In an effort to not hijack this thread I will PM you ;)
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  • AtriaAtria 816 replies16 threads Member
    I think you mean overestimate :D...
    And that is very true... It doesn't matter if its the most basic skill... Brush up on even the most easiest topics...That practice lays a good foundation....

    I totally agree with you: DON'T memorize answers (I might have confused people with my bullet point suggestion).... The goal is to have a conversation. Sort of like mock trial... You have a sense of what you want to say (direction)... but you cannot predict which direction or what will be said in the actual conversation... don't confine yourself to a pre-thought answer... Go with the flow...and relax...
    The AO is another human, it doesn't matter if you fumble a bit...They understand... Their end goal is to get an impression of you...
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  • AtriaAtria 816 replies16 threads Member
    twinsmama wrote:
    ..and nowhere near as mature and organized as the kids posting on this thread, don't be intimidated by them.
    New users... Don't worry we just give that impression :D... You just haven't seen the hot mess we are in real life ;)...
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  • HhopefulFforSsuccess2021HhopefulFforSsuccess2021 256 replies19 threads Junior Member
    @Atria Ah, thank you so much for the corrections!!! I wish I can go back and edit it lol. I really need to work on my English...
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  • Fielding2000Fielding2000 122 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited March 2017
    Things applicants should know:

    1. Definitely be yourself. I know everyone says this, but it's extremely important. If you act how you think the AOs want you to act, they'll see right through you.

    2. Prepare for the interviews somewhat, but don't memorize, for sure. What I did is I looked online for the most common prep school interview questions and my dad asked me the questions and I thought about how I would answer it. Turns out, in the actual interviews, I was asked some of the questions I prepped for, but some surprised me, but it was easy to answer them.

    3. The interviews and tours are fantastic ways to show how you would fit into the school, but it's also an opportunity to see if the school is the right fit for you. Look at the students. Are they happy, smiling, and engaged? Could you see yourself succeeding in such an environment? Did you come away from the visit wanting to go back? I know I did.

    4. If you have a top choice school, by all means, tell them they're your favorite! And once you've told them, tell them again! Schools love applicants who show a genuine interest in the school and what makes the school special. I applied to only one school, because there were specific things about the school I loved and was drawn to. In the interview, I made sure to tell my interviewer what I admired about the school, in specifics. As a rule of thumb, schools generally highly regard applicants they think they would attend if they got in.

    5. Allow yourself lots of time! I thought I started early (in August), but really, if I could have done it over, I would have started far before then.

    6. There is no 'ideal applicant'. All schools look for different types of students, and, within that, schools will change their needs every year. However, there are some things that might (only might) boost you forward a bit in terms of how the AOs see you. Here are some things I've noticed that AOs truly look for:
    - Applicants who are sure to attend if admitted.
    - Applicants who are genuinely interested in the school; i.e., they're spearheading the application process, NOT their parents.
    - Applicants who are knowledgeable about the school and demonstrate that they took the time to do their "homework" and research about the school.
    - Applicants who would fit into the school's special programs. For example, if the school you're applying to has a strong outdoor program, show how the outdoors are meaningful to you.
    - Applicants who are engaged and can hold a meaningful discussion (such as the interview).
    - Applicants who are ambitious academically (though this is not always such an important factor).
    - Applicants who are ambitious outside of school; tries new things and find a passion (or many).
    - And finally, applicants who know why they want to go to a specific boarding school and put their heart & soul into showing this.

    Anyway, after saying all this, I want you to know:

    In the end, boarding school does not really matter.
    There is a place you are meant to be that will do you the most good. If that place isn't boarding school, that is okay. You'll end up where you're meant to be.
    Nothing is as good or as bad as it seems.

    Good luck!

    edited March 2017
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  • Nico.campbellNico.campbell 709 replies18 threads Member
    @Atria @twinsmama TBH I'm more of a scalding mess than a hot mess :)>-
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  • Nico.campbellNico.campbell 709 replies18 threads 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!
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  • monica20monica20 87 replies5 threads 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.

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  • monica20monica20 87 replies5 threads 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!
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  • Nico.campbellNico.campbell 709 replies18 threads 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!
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