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Chance Me for Deerfield, Hotchkiss, Lawrenceville and Choate

sadpotatosadpotato 44 replies2 threads 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 6274 replies10 threads 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 128 replies1 threads 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 44 replies2 threads 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 44 replies2 threads Junior Member
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6274 replies10 threads 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 44 replies2 threads 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 6274 replies10 threads 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 44 replies2 threads 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 6274 replies10 threads 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 31 replies3 threads Junior 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 44 replies2 threads 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 6274 replies10 threads Senior Member
    ^ It doesn't sound like repeating makes sense for you (although it does for some.)
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  • sadpotatosadpotato 44 replies2 threads Junior Member
    bump :)
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  • sadpotatosadpotato 44 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Also, update ( @gardenstategal ), I went to my English teacher and apologized but she quickly stopped me and apologized for being in a bad mood that day. She also said that she would write me a great recommendation letter.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6274 replies10 threads Senior Member
    Well done, @sadpotato ! Fingers crossed for you.
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  • sadpotatosadpotato 44 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Also, a quick question if anyone sees this-- one of the schools I'm applying to has a fill-in-the-blank question asking to describe myself in a tweet (250 characters, ~20 words.) I had this idea of writing something about how a tweet can't fully describe me (not posting exact wording in case I get flagged for copyright). Would that be too complacent?
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6274 replies10 threads Senior Member
    I think you could include that it's not all captured in a tweet, but I you should not get so cute with the prompt that you didn't give them at all what they want. The question essentially is "what are the key things that define you?"
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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 760 replies17 threads Member
    Agree^^

    They are looking for the few things that you think define you. Don’t miss out on the chance to tell them something important about you because you’re trying to be clever.
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  • amumof2amumof2 50 replies2 threads Junior Member
    DD also has the question and as others have stated use it wisely to tell something about yourself this can be done with humour. Kill 2 birds with one stone.
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  • sadpotatosadpotato 44 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @gardenstategal @one1ofeach @amumof2 Thanks for the advice! I just submitted it last night, and I'm pretty relieved. Today I talked to the transcript manager at my school and she said she will not upload my transcript for me, and it won't be available until February 8th. Even then, she will only do a mail-in transcript. Should I email the schools and ask what to do? Or what else could I do?
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