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Chance Me: The Ten Schools (Boarding)

TheHappinessFundTheHappinessFund 31 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
edited September 1 in Prep School Chances
Hi, thanks for stopping by! I am an 8th grade student at a public K-8 in California. It’s my dream to be able to attend one of the schools apart of the Ten Schools Organization. It’d be really helpful if anyone could chance me for admission at these schools.
Here are some of my stats:

SSAT: I haven’t taken the real SSAT test yet, but I’ve taken a two practice tests with tutors so far. I’ll be taking the SSAT at the end of September. (Early because of an organization I’m part of, more about that later.) On the first test, my overall percentile was 87. The second was slightly higher, at 89. That was before I started studying though, so my scores have probably gone up since then. I don’t have my exact scores, but I consistently do worse on Quantatative, and the best on Verbal. If anyone has tips on the SSAT, those are welcome as well.

Grades: I’ve had a 4.0 throughout all of middle school. (So far.) Last year I did have a B in one class (mandarin), but only for 1 quarter. The next quarter I got a high A and the semester grade for that class averaged out to an A. (My schools GPA is based on semester grades only.)
My school is focused on language immersion. (we learn Cantonese for 9 years and Mandarin for 3) I’m fluent in Cantonese and my Mandarin is okay. I am aware that all of these schools don’t offer Cantonese.

Minority/ Family/ Financial Status : I’m a mixed kid, half Chinese half Argentinian. I guess this makes me both an over and under represented minority. (I’m assuming that Asians are the former and Latinos the latter.) My parents are both immigrants (Mom: Hong Kong, Father: Argentina) My family is middle class, and I would need financial aid to cover most of the tuition.My parents are divorced, and my mom has full custody. My father would not be willing to pay tuition. (If anyone knows how finaid is calculated with separated families, that’d me helpful.)

The Arts: I play piano and the trombone. I’ve passed the level 4 ABRSM tests for piano only. I also do a lot of drawing and painting, and go to an art class. I do have a visual arts portfolio, but I’m not sure if that could be included in the app.

Sports: None....

Leadership/Volunteer Work: I am a regular volunteer at a large retirement home in SF. I’m also part of the youth council there, so that adds to leadership potential I guess. I do creative arts/music work with the residents there. I’m also part of a program called peer mediation, centered around building relationships and solving conflicts with younger students. I was elementary school president in 5th grade, but I’m pretty sure that won’t be relevant on the app. I’m running for class rep. this year, but I’m not sure how that’ll turn out. I was also an intern at SF city hall for my district supervisor until she left office after the midterms. I was a library volunteer in the 6th grade as well. (Would getting a recommendation from her help me?) I’m passionate about politics and social activism, and plan to go into government when I’m older.

Things that might increase my chances of getting in: I’m part of a national organization that helps minority students get into private schools in the U.S., called A Better Chance. (If anyone has heard of ABC, does it actually increase one’s chances of getting into top schools?) It’s why I’m taking the SSAT early. ABC has a network of pretty much all college prep boarding schools in the US, including the Ten Schools. Because I’m part of ABC, I won’t be submitting individual applications to the schools, instead sending out ABCs common app which they review. Will being part of ABC hinder my chances of getting in?
Unfortunately, I have no legacy at any of the schools.

Awards: Not many. I won (1st place) a district wide (sfusd) essay writing contest in the 6th grade. That’s about it..

Recommendations: ABC does blind recs, so I won’t know what goes on the recommendations. I need a rec from my English and Math teachers, as well as my Principal/Counselor. I’m confident about my English teacher, who I’ve already had for a year, but the impression I made on my math teacher this year hasn’t been all that great. My school counselor most likely won’t be a problem if I choose to get a rec from her.

Clubs: I’m an active member at the GSA at my school, which my counselor runs. I’m also part of the D&D club at my school.
edited September 1
8 replies
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Replies to: Chance Me: The Ten Schools (Boarding)

  • RedLionessRedLioness 108 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    oh, you're an ABC kid! Right up my chancing alley!
    I have experience with ABC, and I can assure you that being an ABC kid absolutely does not hinder your application to any school. And in the schools on your referral list, it actually helps you on two sides. First off, you have less work to do bc all the schools you apply to accept the ABC common app (unless you're applying outside of your referral list too). Second off, ABC really does help with negotiating with the schools. From my knowledge, many ABC Cohort members go on to be successful in the process, whether they join a member school or not. Take comfort in that.

    I can't answer for the finaid, sorry.

    You definitely qualify for the URM position. While your state and half-Asian heritage work against you in the BS app process, the rest does you a favour.

    Your grades should be perfectly fine. A single B isn't the end of the world and won't ruin your chances.

    Yes, your arts absolutely can and should be included in the app! Since you have a commitment to the piano, you should film yourself playing and send a video in, as well as send them your visual arts portfolio.

    Your leadership experience seems to be a highlight of your application. Definitely put emphasis on that in interviews, as it will help your case.

    Your SSAT score is where it should be, although another few percentiles definitely won't hurt you.

    All in all, you seem like a fairly strong candidate. As the devil's advocate, I must warn you that anyone's chance at Ten Schools (which in and of themselves are quite diverse) is as low as the school's admission rate, most of which are in the teens. Competition is tough. The admissions process is unforgiving. "Hope for the best, expect the worst."

    Wait, actually, I've got a question in return: why are you posting this? You likely don't have your referral list yet, and unless you're applying outside, this really does you no good.
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  • TheHappinessFundTheHappinessFund 31 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks for such a detailed reply! I really appreciate you taking the time to write it all out, and for being honest with me.
    I probably won’t be applying outside the list. I think I posted this just to get a sense of what to expect, and how pessimistic I should be about admission. I’ve got a lot riding on getting into a boarding school, and I know that those schools are all reaches.
    If you don’t mind, what’s your experience with ABC? Are you a scholar, or a parent of a kid from the program? And, if it’s not a bother, could you expand on what it was like working with them? (Just wondering, it’s totally cool if you don’t want to answer.)
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  • CateCAParentCateCAParent 188 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited September 2
    "I’ve got a lot riding on getting into a boarding school, and I know that those schools are all reaches."

    @TheHappinessFund -- can you explain this a little more? Why are you limiting yourself to that list? There are ABC kids at a lot of other boarding schools, and if you have "a lot riding on getting into a boarding school" why not include a range of competitiveness in your list? Plus, there are a lot of *fantastic* schools with great reputations that are not in that association. It is just an association of ten schools. It means nothing about whether one of the schools is right for you.

    My kid was a public school kid from the Bay Area, and we started our search for boarding schools with the TSAO list, because we didn't know anything else. Not a lot of people around here know the first thing about boarding schools. He didn't end up at a TSAO school -- by choice (he applied to 3). He found a school that fits him like a glove -- on par or better (academically, matriculation-wise, reputationally, culturally, you name it) with TSAO schools.

    You owe it to yourself to look deeper into the TSAO schools and the other great options out there. The TSAO schools are so different from each other -- they can't all be right for you. Forget about names for a second. What does a perfect day at school look like for you? Get detailed. How far of a walk is it to your dining hall? What is the weather like? How likely is it that you bump into someone from another country? How much do you want teachers to be involved in your life? What makes other students interesting to you? Do you want to walk into town for dinner sometimes? Do you want the football game to be a cornerstone of the social life? Do you like a lot of rules and structure? Do you want to dive deep into science, or be well-rounded in your education? Is the caliber of the orchestra super important to you?

    You get the idea. Develop your wish list, THEN go to some of the aggregating sites out there, and this board, to learn more. You should be able to wipe out some of the TSAO schools and add several non-TSAO schools to your list pretty easily. Plus the ABC people should be a great resource for developing your list.

    Good luck! This is very exciting stuff. You got this!!!
    edited September 2
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  • TheHappinessFundTheHappinessFund 31 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks for taking the time to reply to me!
    I wouldn’t say that I’m limiting myself to those few schools, though it might seem like judging from the post. I understand that there are great boarding schools outside TSAO, and I’m interested in a few of them. The reason I specifically mentioned TSAO is because I know that these schools have relatively low acceptance rates. I genuinely feel that a boarding school environment would help me a lot more than other public school options. I’m applying to Lowell, as well as other public schools here in the Bay Area that are great options for me.
    I’m confident that ABC will help me with the process, since they’ve been absolutely amazing so far.
    I’ll take your advice. Doing research hasn’t been a top priority so far, with SSAT prep and other things that have to happen first. (I’ve done some research into many schools, just not extensively.)
    Thanks again for your help!
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  • CateCAParentCateCAParent 188 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Wonderful! To me the research is the really fun part -- you get to imagine yourself at all kinds of fantastic places and figure out what really matters to you. Learning what makes each school special is like going to a gigantic buffet of educational opportunities. Pick what you love (and will love you back)!

    Don't hesitate to reach out here and ask questions about specific schools. People love to help. Sounds like it might be tricky for you to visit schools in person, which is fine -- but makes it all the more important for you to talk to people who have btdt.
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  • CaliMexCaliMex 1758 replies34 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My SFUSD public school 8th grader applied to boarding schools on both coasts and was also admitted to LIck-Wilmerding, Urban, University High School, and Lowell. PM me if you want more specific feedback/advice.
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  • IntTravellerIntTraveller 5 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Find it interesting you have posted your picture here. i was told you shouldnt as AOs sometimes read these forums... unless ofcourse it is not your pic!
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  • TheHappinessFundTheHappinessFund 31 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Oh gosh, thanks! It was a little stupid of me to do that,,,
    I've changed it now, thanks for telling me.
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