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Getting into Groton

Nomad001Nomad001 Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
edited September 2017 in Prep School Chances
I know Groton is very selective but what do they base their acceptance decisions on? Everyone talks about sat or ssat scores but what about the interview? If that not the main factor in the decision?
My son is in 7th grade and will be applying for 8th grade entry. He attends a regular public school, is doing well academically, likes sports and really wants to go to a good boarding school where he can be amongst driven smart kids.
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Replies to: Getting into Groton

  • Nomad001Nomad001 Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    Reading more of the threads in this section I can see an applicant applying for higher grades may have to bring something extra to the table than just good academic ability. But what about a 7th grader applying for 8th grade? My son doesn't play a musical instrument but is interested in current affairs, is good at languages (speaks two fluently and been doing well learning another for the last few years) and is strong in all core school subjects (with a super special interest and ability in computers) and is an active participant in team sports with impressive knowledge of professional sports.
    I think he'd be a good student at a school like Groton in terms of participation and being engaged in school life but I guess most parents would feel the same. All that said I have no idea if he's what would appeal to Groton admissions.
  • Korab1Korab1 Registered User Posts: 338 Member
    Groton has a roughly 13% acceptance rate and 93rd percentile SSAT average. Groton is also very small, meaning that they need every kid to contribute in multiple areas in order to maintain the vibrancy of the campus. If your child would be an impact athlete there - exploit that. If not, I would stress the computer interest/ability and show he can contribute to Groton with that skill and take advantage of what they have to offer in that area. Your child should be taking the SSAT soon to get a handle of where he might fit in. Schools like Groton turn away hundreds of perfectly qualified kids every year. When looking at schools of Groton's caliber, don't get too enamored with one school, because unless you have a real hook, chances are you will end up disappointed.
  • Nomad001Nomad001 Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    edited September 2017
    Thanks Korab. Many of the good boarding schools start at 9th grade. Groton one of the few that accepts at 8th. You aware of any others on the East coast start at 8th?

    My son did the ISEE a few month's ago and averaged 89% with lowest individual category score of 87. It was for a non boarding private school where he got accepted but I chose not to send him there. I don't know how comparable the ISEE and SSAT are but 93% is incredible. I offered to send the ISEE results to Groton but they didn't want to see them.

    Also if you're aware how does the school assess? Based primarily on the interview with the child? The school have told me not to bother getting all the different forms filled out ahead of the interview or to do the ISEE, made me think you have to get past the interview before doing all those.
  • Korab1Korab1 Registered User Posts: 338 Member
    My son declined an offer of admission from Groton as a 9th grader last year, but that doesn't qualify me as an expert. I am happy to share what I learned or divined through my experience.

    If you are looking specifically for a school that takes 8th graders, I would start by searching on www.boardingschoolreview.com to identify your list. I'm not sure how comparable the ISEE percentiles are to the SSAT percentiles.

    I would say the the interview is a huge part of the evaluation process. Many applicants, on paper, are interchangeable. It is their personalities and passions that separate them. There is a good bit of luck involved as well - get an admissions officer who your kid hits it off with, and your chances go up. Get one where the interests don't align and the chances go down.

    My son was a recruited athlete, so having coaches pulling for a kid helps in a big way. If your kid's interest and accomplishments in computer science are attractive to that department, I'm sure that would help as well. If you feel that is a possibility, your kid should be reaching out to that department to set up a meeting while on campus, and stay actively engaged with that teacher right up through March 10.

    My impressions, and these are nothing more than my impressions based on my limited experience, is that Groton likes fundamentally nice, thoughtful, wholesome kids. They are less preppy and aristocratic then some of their peer schools. While it is a religious school, religion of the applicant isn't important to them. They are less sporty than some of their peer schools. Because of their size, I believe they need and seek out kids who can fill multiple roles on campus.

    Like all schools, Groton likes to protect their yield, so if after the conclusion of your interviews Groton is truly your child's number one choice, (s)he should reach back out to your admissions officer and convey that sentiment strongly.
  • preppedparentpreppedparent Registered User Posts: 3,188 Senior Member
    I think you are wise to apply to 8th where the competition is not as steep. My daughter was waitlisted at Groton as a 9th grader and went to Choate. I agree that interview is a large part of the process. They will ask you why you are drawn to Groton, and you better have a good answer. For 8th, I believe they are looking for a good community citizen. Sports are also big. And I disagree by saying preppiness is a big thing once you are in at Groton. Look at all the photos of Groton students, and they are one of the preppiest group of kids compared to all the other elite top BSs.
  • Korab1Korab1 Registered User Posts: 338 Member
    edited September 2017
    @preppedparent as to the preppiness - that wasn't my impression at all after touring its peer schools. The OP will be able to draw his or her own impressions in that regard.

    By the way, the central building at Groton is just freaking stunning. I love the way they have integrated the older parts of the structure with the new section. Their athletic facilities, however, need some updating and upgrading.
  • preppedparentpreppedparent Registered User Posts: 3,188 Senior Member
    <<The OP will be able to draw his or her own impressions in that regard.>>

    No kidding, but if you can weigh in, so can I. I mean do you see the photos of the blazers with the piping on the lapels and the straw hats on Groton Day etc?

    Deerfield is the only elite that matches the preppiness IMHO, but then again you can draw your own impressions in that regard.
  • Korab1Korab1 Registered User Posts: 338 Member
    But of course you can weigh in! Groton Day is a caricature of prep school life, not an every day experience. I am basing my experience on our visits. Take a look at Groton's website - the kids are dressed pretty normal, much as they are at your LPS.

    I agree that Deerfield clearly leads the pack.
  • Nomad001Nomad001 Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    >>I agree that interview is a large part of the process. They will ask you why you are drawn to Groton, and you better have a good answer. For 8th, I believe they are looking for a good community citizen.>>

    Thanks for all the feedback.

    Are these questions directed to the child or to the parents? Is the child interviewed separately from the parents?
  • Korab1Korab1 Registered User Posts: 338 Member
    Yes - child is interviewed first, then they interview the parent separately. The child's interview is far more important than anything you can say - you can only screw it up, not save the day.

    The decision to go to Groton and to board should be the child's decision, and the child should be able to articulate clearly and compellingly why.
  • Nomad001Nomad001 Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    >>If you feel that is a possibility, your kid should be reaching out to that department to set up a meeting while on campus, and stay actively engaged with that teacher right up through March 10>>

    Thanks for this. At the moment all I've done is fill out the initial inquiry form and arranged an interview. My son is only 7th grade so wondering if I should get him to reach out or I should. Not sure I'd expect a 7th grader to reach out directly to a school without parental directive.

  • Korab1Korab1 Registered User Posts: 338 Member
    You can certainly write the initial email, but I would get out of the way and let the kid take over ASAP. They want to see the independence and that the desire to attend is coming from the kid, not mom and dad.
  • preppedparentpreppedparent Registered User Posts: 3,188 Senior Member
    have your son read the viewbook ahead of time and give some thought as to what specifically he loves at Groton! Good Luck. It's such a great community!
  • happarent6happarent6 Registered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
    @preppedparent - While it is true that both Groton and Deerfield are relatively preppier, I think too much focus is wasted on this issue. The grander and more important questions are where are kids happiest and which school provides the best match for the particular applicant. Moreover, at all these Uber schools one can find ALL types of characters and clothing styles.
  • preppedparentpreppedparent Registered User Posts: 3,188 Senior Member
    ^^^I think the preppiness was brought up by someone else as a factor. You're preaching to the choir in terms of what factors are most important. My eldest picked the school where she felt she could do her best work in the classroom and on the field.
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