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Chance Me for Deerfield, Hotchkiss, Lawrenceville and Choate

sadpotatosadpotato 25 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Hello! I'm currently a 9th grader in the SF Bay Area in California. Last year I applied to 9 boarding schools, got waitlisted at 5 and rejected from 4. This year, I'm applying to 10th grade girls boarding at Deerfield (WL last year), Hotchkiss (WL), Lawrenceville (R) and Choate (WL). I'm Asian (Chinese) and I come from an (upper)middle class family. In addition, I currently attend full-time public high school and I take one course at Stanford Online High School.

A Brief Recap of Last Year: I applied for a substantial amount of financial aid and underestimated the impact it would have on my application. (I'm applying as a full-pay student this year.) Also, my English teacher last year was notorious for writing bad recommendations, so that could've put me at a disadvantage. Looking back, there were a lot of questions in my interviews and essays that I could have answered better.

Standardized Tests: SSAT 98th percentile, ACT 33 composite/36 full score in reading, AP Chinese Language & Culture: 5, currently self-studying 4 APs

Academics: 4.0 GPA throughout middle school, all honors/accelerated classes, taking a course at Stanford OHS, my elective is Spanish 3

School Involvement: I actively participate in Speech & Debate, Mock Trial, Model UN, Key Club, and Investment Club, part of Principal Advisory Committee

Extracurriculars: Dance (competition team, awarded Distinction in all RAD exams), Piano (Level 17 of 18, play at church), Fencing (quit because of major schedule conflict but would love to pick it back up anytime)

Major Commitments: Center for Advanced Study Frontiers Research Program (Physiological and Genomic Studies on Plants Using PlantCV), currently trying to establish a NPO aiming to tutor underprivileged students

Community Service: I'm still sorting this out as the school year just started but I always attend Key Club service events; I'm just looking for a place where I can go on a regular basis that's something I'm passionate about!

Interviews: I didn't do them yet, but they'll be over Skype.

Recommendation Letters: Should be at least decent in general. However, I kindly asked my English teacher on the 3rd day of school whether or not she has time to write a recommendation letter for me since she's busy doing letters for seniors applying to college. She started to question me, asking things like "So are you going to give up your childhood and abandon your family when you're 14?" in a rather derogatory tone. The strange thing is my friend who asked her on the first day of school received an immediate "Yes." She went back and asked the English teacher today about something related to applying to private high schools, and my English teacher just brought me up without being prompted to and said something along the lines of me being desperate and her being annoyed by my "desperation". I'm really anxious now because I'm feel that this will impact the recommendation letter. What should I do?

Anyway, thanks for reading all of this and please leave some feedback on how I could further strengthen my application! :)


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Replies to: Chance Me for Deerfield, Hotchkiss, Lawrenceville and Choate

  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5714 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Overall, repeat applicants tend to do well if they can submit an application that shows growth. Schools like to see the persistence. But you will need to demonstrate that you have learned something since last year.

    No longer needing FA should help some.

    If you really want to go to BS, you really should expand your list. You also need to be able to articulate why you want to go to BS since you appear to be thriving where you are.
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  • PrepDad2018PrepDad2018 63 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    To me it looks like you are in a great place for serious consideration. However, most of these schools admit about 20% of serious candidates. No FA and trying again with improvements are a big plus. Good luck.
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  • sadpotatosadpotato 25 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @gardenstategal Thanks for replying! I was originally thinking of applying to 10 or so but I changed my mind because I want to spend more quality time working on 4 applications. For now, I will probably expand my list once I complete the apps for the current 4 schools just so I don't overwhelm myself. Regarding showing that I learned something since last year: Would it be a good idea to write about getting waitlisted and overcoming that and reapplying again for the essay prompt about overcoming challenges? A few people have mentioned that to me but I'm not sure if it will come off as too pushy. Thanks again!
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  • sadpotatosadpotato 25 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5714 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Not pushy at all! I think that for an excellent student who doesn't get into BS, it's often a surprise (and a huge disappointment). How that is handled can be an opportunity for personal growth.

    I was chatting this weekend with someone who was WL last year and as she was telling me how she was approaching her new school this year, the note she'd sent to the AO who reviewed her file this year, etc., I was thinking "This is exactly the drive and purpose and strength that was missing last year." Oddly, that setback transformed her, and the ability to use it, rather than be crushed by it (or even just be neutral about it) will almost certainly set her apart this year.

    Frame your "get up and try again" right and it can work for you.
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  • sadpotatosadpotato 25 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @gardenstategal Thanks for all the help and advice! On that note, do you know anything I can possibly do about the situation with my English teacher?
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5714 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Well, you could take the bull by the horns and make an appointment to talk to your English teacher. You could start with "I got the feeling that you were lukewarm about supporting my application to BS. Did I read that right and can you tell me what gives you pause?"

    You are going to need to be a great listener throughout -- even if you don't agree completely. But you may also be able to explain your interest as well. Just keep it positive. I would recommend going over this script several times -- you don't want to diss your school but there needs to be something at BS that you can't get where you are. A lot of people who work in public education are really devoted to their work and dislike what private education represents, so you need to be very respectful and tactful.

    Acknowledge that you heard her ask about your family and that it'll be hard to leave them. (You can explain how you can be in touch with them but also not be stressing them by needing rides, for example. )

    Recognize that a lot of people have ideas about BS that are not accurate. Some think they are filled with kids whose parents don't care about them, kids who get into a lot of trouble, rich kids who do a lot of drugs because they are poorly supervised, etc. You don't need to correct her if you hear her say these things, but if she says that, thank her for caring about you.

    I suspect she will appreciate your willingness to hear her. With a little luck, she'll see some maturity, and even merit, in you that she's missed to date.
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  • sadpotatosadpotato 25 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @gardenstategal Thank you so much for taking the time to reply! I'll definitely do that, maybe in mid or late October to let things settle down first. I really hope things work out. Thanks again for the advice!
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5714 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Try not to wait so long! You have a chance to change her perception of you and your goals. The sooner you do it, the better. And of course, be a diligent student in her class.
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  • IntTravellerIntTraveller 5 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Have you considered reapplying to 9th grade if that is a possibility for you? I know a lot of folks repeat and also there may be more openings in 9th rather than 10th. Having spoken to some AOs I dont think that will be held against you.
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  • sadpotatosadpotato 25 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @IntTraveller Yes, I have, but I would prefer not to, since I'm not on the young side of my grade.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5714 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^ It doesn't sound like repeating makes sense for you (although it does for some.)
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