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Chances for American Boarding schools?

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Replies to: Chances for American Boarding schools?

  • CaliMexCaliMex Registered User Posts: 830 Member
    I’m not sure that’s the best way to judge academics.

    College matriculation could mean they attract the legacies, athletes, and superstars who would have gotten into top schools no matter where they went to school. Doesn’t mean you’ll have the same result. (Even the bottom half of kids ar these schools is impressive.)

    Top test scores? That means the admissions officers set a higher bar for scores to market themselves to people who don’t dig beneath the numbers. It does NOT mean the class discussion will be richer or that you will benefit in any way. You certainly can’t credit the teaching. You could credit wealthier parents who invest in lots of tutoring?

    Student teacher ratio? Most class sizes are around the same. I’m not sure there is a big difference between a class of 11 and a class of 15. In fact, if the class is too small (or too homogenous), the discussion might not be as dynamic as there might not be enough differing viewpoints or perspectives.

    All of these schools have some incredible teachers ... and a few duds... And a few wonderful teachers that you in particular might not click with!

    Here’s what I would look at instead:
    1) Size. Do you want a small school where everyone wears multiple hats and where it is easy to jump into new sports and activities? Or a large school where you can specialize in the things you are already great at and pursue them with others who share your level of experience and expertise? Do you need very advanced classes in subject areas where you have already accelerated?
    2) Culture. Do you want a school where kids have jobs and chores? Regular seated meals with assigned seats? Mandatory study halls and lights out? Formal or casual dress? Lots of structure or lots of freedom? Mandatory sports? What about the intensity/stress level? “Preppy”? Countercultural? Relaxed? Creative?
    3) Location. Do you like the idea of being on a working farm? Do you prefer suburban towns or rural isolation? Do you prefer being closer to an airport?
    4) Demographics. Does it matter to you whether the student body is homogenous or diverse?

    So much to consider!

  • altabluealtablue Registered User Posts: 223 Junior Member
    well if i was looking at these,

    1) I'd prefer a medium-large school, where there are lots of facilities and opportunities, as well as courses and activities
    2) well, no jobs and chores, preferably! regarding meal seating, I really don't have much of a preference, as with study hall, lights out and dress. I like something between, in which your days are structured, but with a little bit of freedom, a bit of a buffer, really. I want something that will challenge me, nothing too easy, but nothing that'll keep me up till 2AM every night!
    3) I'd prefer something closer to a city, or at least in a half-suburban place, though the idea of living in rural isolation is pretty cool as well.
    4) I'd prefer it to be a bit more diverse, and more international.
  • CaliMexCaliMex Registered User Posts: 830 Member
    You've picked the largest boarding schools possible, along with a couple of pretty small ones... Might be time to research more "medium-sized" ones. Are you thinking 500-700 kids?
  • altabluealtablue Registered User Posts: 223 Junior Member
    @CaliMex approximately? I do have some small ones for sure; I'm not 100% sure what size I like, so really, I'm just going to see when I visit
  • GMC2918GMC2918 Registered User Posts: 897 Member
    If you only have time to visit 3 schools, you may want to swap out one of those for a smaller school. You're only visiting the big ones. Or at least do a drive-by at the others. If you have time to interview at three schools which are pretty far away from each other, then you should be able to check out some others while you're here. I'm happy to help you figure that out - I love trip planning ;-)

    I think what @CaliMex MAY be getting at is that your list looks like a "top 10" list, without regard to fit. For example, if you don't want to be up at 2AM every night then Exeter/Andover are probably not the best choices. If you want to be near a city, then Deerfield, Hotchkiss, St. Paul's might make you feel a little stir-crazy. Even perfect scores and grades don't guarantee admission, so it helps to think about what you're looking for in a school - it will increase your chances of getting in if the fit is right.

    I'm serious about that trip-planning offer - I think you would benefit from at least having a look at some of the other schools on your list.
  • altabluealtablue Registered User Posts: 223 Junior Member
    @GMC2918 I'm going to be driving past Milton when I'm staying in Boston for a bit, so I'll get to see their school (though it's closed due to Christmas holidays).
  • GMC2918GMC2918 Registered User Posts: 897 Member
    OK that's great - my daughter loved Milton. When will you be seeing the others?
  • altabluealtablue Registered User Posts: 223 Junior Member
    @GMC2918 all around the 20th of december, since I'll be in boston anyways for a the holidays. Unfortunately, most of the schools are closed, so that's all I really can manage. Of course, if by some chance I do happen to get in, I will definitely be revisiting! I love Milton too, the campus looks amazing and the location is great too :))
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