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Chance me! (PEA, PA, SPS, SMS, Groton, CA, Choate; updated bc I'm bored and curious)

mondaydevilmondaydevil 171 replies9 threads Junior Member
Schools Applying To (In order of preference):
- Groton
- CA
- Andover
- Choate
- St. Mark's
- Exeter
- St. Paul's

Stats:
• SSAT/ISEE/TOEFL/PSAT: 95%
• GPA Unweighted/Weighted: 4.0/4.5

Subjective:
• Interviews:
Phillips Exeter - 9/10; I think the interviewer and I really clicked. She told me about some of her experiences here and I shared what I wanted to do at Exeter. She seemed impressed, a little at least.
Phillips Andover - 6/10; This was my first interview and I was not confident in any way. The interviewer seemed uninterested and kinda bored. I also accidentally called Andover Exeter...
St. Pauls - 7.5/10; The interviewer seemed slightly interested, no real extremes, just in between the two I mentioned before. We seemed to connect more that I did with the Andover interviewer, though.

• Math Rec: I'm gonna say 9/10 since I'm one of the top students in my class and my teacher seems to like me.

• English Rec: 8/10; He seems to enjoy having me in class

• Personal/Extracurricular Rec: 9/10; I asked one of the student council advisors who I've gotten to know pretty well and I think she's really proud of me so far. I also asked my art club advisor who I've worked closely with for two years now. I was really confident initially, but she seemed kinda hesitant, so I'm considering asking my Latin teacher instead. Thoughts on that?

• Principal/Counselor Rec: Maybe 8/10? We don't talk very often, except I got to know him pretty well in 6th grade. Haven't talked since, but I think he has a good impression of me.

• Sports (if any): Cross country (not good times though), and noncompetitively ski and volleyball

• Instruments (if any): Self-taught guitar, used to be in an orchestra, currently teaching myself piano

Other ECs (if any): Valued Student Council member for three years (run by upperclassmen so I don't have a chance at being in the Executive Council), started an art club last year, Math Counts team two years in a row, FIRST Robotics Club for the first year, art lessons (1st year), Korean School

Location/Person:
• State or Country: NH, USA
• Current School Type: Public Charter
• Ethnicity: Asian American
• Gender: Female
• Grade Applying For: 9
• Age: 14
• Financial Aid/Full Pay: Financial Aid

Also, which of these would you say are safeties/match/reaches? I'm working on essays right now and they're all really mediocre.
15 replies
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Replies to: Chance me! (PEA, PA, SPS, SMS, Groton, CA, Choate; updated bc I'm bored and curious)

  • PhotographerMomPhotographerMom 1891 replies60 threads Senior Member
    I took the time to read this after you posted a question to me on the Freak Out thread, @mondaydevil . Your school list is way too " top" heavy for your stats, so you should definitely expand, but please don't be disappointed! This kind of apply -to list is actually a common mistake and you do have time to fix it ( by adding more schools ) before deadlines . FWIW and TBH- it's also too" top" heavy for every applicant under the sun - even with the best/ rockstar stats.

    I would suggest that you go to BS Review or Tabs ( and look at BSs by State ) and find more schools with reasonable acceptance rates before the deadline. Look for schools with 35% and above and ask for fee waivers when you apply.

    There are CC "Hidden Gem" threads here , too with links to schools in the Top 35. FWIW- These schools are NOT hidden- and not being discussed on CC too often is probably a badge of honor. ;) Many have been around for over 100 years and are the first choice for many families who know and understand the BS world.

    If you do choose to expand your list with more schools ( which I highly recommend ), I'd also try to remedy your sports situation by identifying three sports that you'd love to try if you're accepted . Maybe something like Crew, Squash, Field or Ice Hockey. Check out websites for what each school offers and show interest during your interview and on the app. Do the same with EC offerings, too.

    If you can, I'd check out some BSs in CT, too.

    Remember- a solid BS app isn't always about what you've done well or the past- even though it's all wonderful and factored in. It's about readiness and once you've met the academic standard, it's actually more about the future and what you'd like to do and how you'd like to contribute to a community. Make sense? So.... when you need to fill in a gap or two or turn some lemons into lemonade - it's always good to identify specific things ( offered ) that sparked an interest.

    Good luck!



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  • mondaydevilmondaydevil 171 replies9 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2019
    @PhotographerMom Ooh, I see. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to this! I regret so many of my answers to interviewers' questions now. I think I've met the academic standard with the 95%ile SSAT, so I'll definitely focus on talking about what I'd like to do in the future. I've recently gotten really into what I might want to study and try at a boarding school in my essays, so I'll keep doing that. Is that what I should put for those "how will you add to our community" essay prompts?

    I remember a while back, I was thinking about applying to Lawrence Academy, but I didn't and I'm not sure if I want to. Jeez, I really should have applied with the SAO for Concord and St. Mark's. I kinda forgot that was an option. I was also thinking of Mercersburg and Governor's Academy. Are those considered Top 35 schools?

    As for the three sports, identifying those is probably a good idea. I've expressed interest in crew, squash, and archery to a few of the schools during the interviews. I'm also thinking of continuing cross country/track and field and maybe volleyball.

    Thank you for all of your advice! I'll for sure keep them in mind as I continue with the application process.
    edited December 2019
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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 580 replies14 threads Member
    Keep in mind that when expressing interest in sports you need to name one per season not three sports, two of which are played in the same season. That makes it sound like baloney since if you were really interested you’d know you can’t do both.

    Cross country & volleyball - fall
    Squash & ice hockey - winter

    See what I mean?
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  • PhotographerMomPhotographerMom 1891 replies60 threads Senior Member
    I assumed she knew that, but okay.

    Yeah- Unfortunately 95% is a dime a dozen for most schools on your list ( and pool ), so it will boil down to what you have left and how you frame it.

    When I say "Top" 35 - I don't base that on rankings in a magazine , or what comes after the lore of Ten Schools. There are "it" schools ( that change from year to year ) and about 35-50 classic boarding schools that have been around forever- including single sex.

    There are currently several schools in the 15-35 range that are experiencing unprecedented popularity right now with PDS/JBS applicants. Why? Well, they're great schools for one, but it's also because they don't get the unbelievable FA traffic or the unholy prestige - seeking traffic that some schools on your list or the usual suspects do.

    BS admission trends have been interesting to watch in the last ten years. Look at PDS and JBS SS matriculation lists . Most of these families are very informed and have already invested well over 100K- and they're not interested in schools that considered "Top" schools here. Why? Because more people are looking for a small- boutique BS experience for their kid.

    Applications for Top 5-10 Schools will always remain high and acceptance rates will remain low (mainly for the reasons above ), but schools rarely mentioned on CC are surging right now and breaking records, too - so maybe find out why and cast a wide net while there's still time . :)


    Mercersburg is an amazing BS and ridiculously competitive , SMS ( same ), and Governors and Concord are both excellent .

    Q: Is that what I should put for those "how will you add to our community" essay prompts? Yes.

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  • mamajazmamajaz 4 replies0 threads New Member
    Check out Hotchkiss. Also, they look for things that set you apart from other students. School admission offices get a ton of smart kids. Find something about you that makes you stand out. It can be something quirky or interesting. They get bored with a million straight A lacrosse players. Show them you are unique AND academic. I promise you this makes a difference. In a world of black Range Rovers, be the pink Volkswagen bug.
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  • PhotographerMomPhotographerMom 1891 replies60 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    Don't add a school like Hotchkiss to your list because ( with your stats- even with the 95% ) you'll be compounding the problem . And for the love of God, don't add Taft to the list either.

    I've taken the time to read all OP's posts and I'm thinking about wonderful schools like Blair (NJ ) , NMH ( MA ), Loomis (CT ), Berkshire (MA ) , Brooks ( MA ), and maybe - just maybe- Kent (CT) and Pomfret (CT ), if she can frame the glaring Sports/EC deficit right.

    If you want to get really smart and strategic, @mondaydevil - add some amazing single sex schools like Farmington ( Miss Porter's - CT ), Ethel Walker's (CT ) or Westover ( CT ), too.

    Just my two cents.

    All the best and good luck!
    edited December 2019
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  • PhotographerMomPhotographerMom 1891 replies60 threads Senior Member
    I'm adding one more . Look at Tabor ( MA ) , too.
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  • CateCAParentCateCAParent 322 replies5 threads Member
    I bow down to PhotographerMom. She just gave you the.best.advice.ever. People pay lots of money to consultants for less valuable advice than what she just threw down in a couple of posts. Take it and run with it. She came out of retirement* for you!

    If she is saying (as she did elsewhere) for fa-seeking students to apply to 15-20 schools, she means it. If she says look at a school, she knows what she is talking about.

    Good luck!

    *PhotographerMom is the stuff of legends here, and the best combination of knowledgeable, straight-shooting, caring (in a tough love way) and funny. She was the reason I lurked here when we were looking at schools (so much information!), and a voice this year’s batch of applicants need to hear.
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  • CaliMexCaliMex 1914 replies34 threads Senior Member
  • PhotographerMomPhotographerMom 1891 replies60 threads Senior Member
    @CaliMex and @CateCAParent - Everyone should listen to you guys!! :)

    All the best for a joyous Holiday Season and Happy New Year !

    I hope everyone's M10 dreams come true, too! Good luck, @mondaydevil - you got this!
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  • mondaydevilmondaydevil 171 replies9 threads Junior Member
    Unfortunately, my mom is unwilling to let me apply to more schools because of the sheer amount of parent statements she has to write and the fact that the application deadline is a week before exams. Nevertheless, thank you for everything @PhotographerMom !
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  • kharlekharle 8 replies2 threads New Member
    Also, think of it this way; all of these schools have all seen a 99% on the SSAT and straight As. You need something that stands out in your application. For example, creating your own company or being highly proficient at some sport like squash or alpine racing. I hope this helped!
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  • mondaydevilmondaydevil 171 replies9 threads Junior Member
    @kharle Oh well, I haven't started my own company and am not highly proficient at any sport. We'll see how I end up.
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  • kharlekharle 8 replies2 threads New Member
    edited December 2019
    I am applying to Choate as well this year, as a ninth grader. The only thing is...I got a 2106 on my ssat! :(
    edited December 2019
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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 580 replies14 threads Member
    edited December 2019
    Don’t worry @mondaydevil you have a strong app and schools only care about things like alpine racing if they have an alpine team. Otherwise it’s just another ec. Also, most kids haven’t started their own company. 😂 Schools EXPECT you to be a regular 14 year old.
    edited December 2019
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