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Anything to increase chances for 7th grade child?

NEMamaNEMama 4 replies1 threads New Member
My 7th grade daughter wants to apply for Exeter and Andover as a day student. She has an A average, takes accelerated math (takes 8th grade math as 7th grader), and advanced language arts. Those are the only advanced classes her school offers. She is an underrepresented minority. She would be considered an impact player in soccer (several years of club experience, where she's a top player on a good team). She's also a successful basketball player, although not varsity as a freshman player. She has played both travel and school ball and she's a starter. She is also a track athlete, and very solid. Not record-setting. Beyond sports her only ECs are Girl Scouts, where she's earned her bronze and silver awards, and NJHS. She hasn't been able to join more school clubs as her soccer program is very time consuming and she chose to use her extra time to participate in other sports. She hasn't yet taken her SSAT but given her past experiences with testing, I expect she'll do well. Unfortunately, she will require financial aid.

My question isn't so much to chance her as it is, what, given that she still has almost a year to apply, should she be looking to do in order to strengthen this application?

If not accepted, she will attend a very good public HS and that will be perfectly fine. She just really wants to apply to these schools given her love of learning and our close proximity to them both.
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Replies to: Anything to increase chances for 7th grade child?

  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 896 replies17 threads Member
    My only suggestion is that she needs community service where she is actually helping others. ie, not library volunteering but something where she serves the homeless or plays soccer with disabled athletes, etc.

    I understand the issue with sports taking a lot of time - both my kids were in a similar situation but they both have very solid community service participation.

    What level soccer does she play? Andover starts 7 ECNL players so if it’s not ECNL she is less likely to be an impact player as a freshman. (I’m assuming it’s not da since that is a different issue in MA, unless you know club will provide a waiver).
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  • NEMamaNEMama 4 replies1 threads New Member
    Thank you. She does have community service too, that I forgot to mention. She's involved with both volunteering at an elementary school and working with senior citizens. I do think she could do more here, as she truly loves both.

    For soccer, we are at a DA club but she is not yet at DA age (begins at U14). She is on the pre-DA team but, quite frankly, her plan is to turn down DA and play NPL instead. She knows these 2 schools are a reach and has every intention of playing soccer for her HS should she attend public school. ECNL is not an option for us due to our geographic location. If a private school won't put her on the team because she chose to play NPL over DA, that's okay. Soccer is really important to her and we're looking for a HS that's the right fit. It may end up being public school where she can play NPL soccer and still represent her HS.
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  • cityrancityran 50 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I would suggest you have her take the SSAT. Our school consultant had DD take the middle level SSAT the Spring of 7th grade to see if there was any room for improvement.
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  • stalecookiesstalecookies 100 replies6 threads Junior Member
    edited February 10
    @one1ofeach (and anyone else who is unaware): the child already has earned Bronze and Silver Awards in Girl Scouts. In particular, the Silver Award can only be completed by Cadette Girl Scouts (grades 6-8) and requires that the girl completes a Leadership Journey (which includes a Take Action service project) before submitteng a plan for Council approval, complete with budget, and actually spend at least 40 hours individually working on a sustainable project.

    The "sustainability" component, making a long term improvement to the community is a key component of the Bronze and Silver Awards. The kid has her "community service" covered.

    In fact, having earned the Silver Award is an acheivement that she should call attention to on her application.
    edited February 10
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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 896 replies17 threads Member
    NEMama wrote: »

    For soccer, we are at a DA club but she is not yet at DA age (begins at U14). She is on the pre-DA team but, quite frankly, her plan is to turn down DA and play NPL instead. She knows these 2 schools are a reach and has every intention of playing soccer for her HS should she attend public school. ECNL is not an option for us due to our geographic location. If a private school won't put her on the team because she chose to play NPL over DA, that's okay.

    (sorry forgot you mentioned she's in 7th!)

    I think you misunderstand me. It is the DA rules that preclude a kid from playing on their high school team, not the other way around. If her plan is to play NPL in order to play for her high school team make sure you mention that in the interview so they are not left wondering if she would be allowed to play high school.

    (we chose an ECNL club because of this but it's my understanding from NPL/DA club teammates that only the extreme stars of a club would be granted a DA waiver to play high school, or rostered late for the DA team)

    Also, make sure you really drill down on the 3 sport/activity requirement at most BSs. We were told "oh, other kids make it work. It's definitely hard but doable." Mmmmm, not so much. I ended up having to do a bunch of finagling so that my kids wouldn't have to do double practices every day they needed to go to soccer or basketball practice. When you end up with a list of schools, feel free to PM me about this. It was NOT at all easy. Each family/kid is unique but the student my first (daughter) had talked to was not as serious a student as my daughter so for her to do double practice was less of a big deal because to her homework was less of a big deal. My daughter isn't slow but she does have a fairly high GPA for her school and that's because she takes work very seriously.

    If your daughter thinks she is going to run track at school and play NPL in the same season (spring) I think that is not doable unless you drop down a solid level academics wise. Just something to keep in mind. IMO that isn't feasible at Exeter and Andover.



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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 896 replies17 threads Member
    @one1ofeach (and anyone else who is unaware): the child already has earned Bronze and Silver Awards in Girl Scouts. In particular, the Silver Award can only be completed by Cadette Girl Scouts (grades 6-8) and requires that the girl completes a Leadership Journey (which includes a Take Action service project) before submitteng a plan for Council approval, complete with budget, and actually spend at least 40 hours individually working on a sustainable project.

    The "sustainability" component, making a long term improvement to the community is a key component of the Bronze and Silver Awards. The kid has her "community service" covered.

    In fact, having earned the Silver Award is an acheivement that she should call attention to on her application.


    Yes, I am aware of the requirements, I have a friend who is a troop leader. I am also very aware of the way parents do everything in some troops to bulldoze the way for their kid to earn those awards. I think there was even a thread about it on CC at one point. So IMO a solid community service involvement that is separate/unique/individual is always good. It signals that this is not one of those kids/troops where the parents have facilitated to the 9th degree.
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  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3626 replies24 threads Senior Member
    edited February 10
    As your child is a current 7th grader, she might want to look into this award. It's extremely competitive but worth a try. In addition to the financial support, the organization also provides guidance for the application process. The application is due in early April.

    https://educationaladvancement.org/caroline-d-bradley-scholarship/
    edited February 10
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  • stalecookiesstalecookies 100 replies6 threads Junior Member
    Additionally, since your child is a URM, perhaps you can get help from https://www.abetterchance.org/
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  • PrepDad2018PrepDad2018 132 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @NEMama I would recommend SSAT prep and practice testing. Quite a few straight A students do not to as well as expected. You are (essentially) being scored against only straight A students applying to prep schools vs an "open" SAT high school session. My DS had "good enough" SSATs for Exeter/Andover type schools with a lot of prep. His PSAT score without prep was through the roof in comparison due to the different cohort.

    I would say it also needs school leadership as it is not too late. Student Council/NJHS leadership roles if available going into G8.

    With the soccer background sounding solid (my DS was in that world so I understand the DA and ECNL level of play) I'd STRONGLY recommend your daughter emails the coaches this spring (after the M10 craziness has settled) to let them know she is applying next fall with a brief outline of her resume. If she follows up again early next September, they will remember her and possibly invite her to come and catch a game during the application process. My DS did that with mixed results at these schools and one more NE BS. Two school's coaches were very happy for the early reach out and stayed in touch off and on, another coach not so much. ALL the coaches emphasized the need for SSAT prep. That was their #1 feedback across the board.
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  • PrepDad2018PrepDad2018 132 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Also, I would not wish an outside sport on any Andover/Exeter student. Winter class schedules are 8am to 6pm with a sports break mid afternoon. Hours and hours of studying plus EC clubs they are all expected to join in addition to sports. That is my personal take as a parent. It is a whole different world of demands. Truly.
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  • iusedtobesmartiusedtobesmart 87 replies11 threads Junior Member
    @PrepDad2018 Is the SSAT harder than the PSAT 8/9? I got a perfect score on the 8/9 with 0 prep because it was free and mandatory and wouldn't help me in any way, does that mean that my SSAT scores will likely be good as well?
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  • stalecookiesstalecookies 100 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @iusedtobesmart Yes, getting a high percentile on the SSAT is more difficult than on the PSAT.
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  • 417WHB417WHB 236 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Also, I would not wish an outside sport on any Andover/Exeter student. Winter class schedules are 8am to 6pm with a sports break mid afternoon. Hours and hours of studying plus EC clubs they are all expected to join in addition to sports. That is my personal take as a parent. It is a whole different world of demands. Truly.

    They have practice in the middle of the day? That is very odd, and seems like a waste of time especially for sports with staggered practice times like hockey. Plus games still have to be late afternoon/evening, right? Though I suppose all the kids use the time to study if they don't do a real sport at school during that season. Most of the soccer kids don't do a winter sport at our school, with the exception of a couple on thirds basketball. Conditioning is easy to pack in a couple days and use the rest of the time to study/get homework done so you can hit the outside practice later. It is crazy hectic but the motivated kids do it somehow. IME, the kids on track to play in college create their schedules to revolve around the sport, and just ditch the other stuff that does not fit. It is risky but the coaches mostly encourage it and mostly help to make it happen. Also, aren't most of the kids who play outside sports day students?
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  • NEMamaNEMama 4 replies1 threads New Member
    one1ofeach wrote: »
    NEMama wrote: »

    For soccer, we are at a DA club but she is not yet at DA age (begins at U14). She is on the pre-DA team but, quite frankly, her plan is to turn down DA and play NPL instead. She knows these 2 schools are a reach and has every intention of playing soccer for her HS should she attend public school. ECNL is not an option for us due to our geographic location. If a private school won't put her on the team because she chose to play NPL over DA, that's okay.

    (sorry forgot you mentioned she's in 7th!)

    I think you misunderstand me. It is the DA rules that preclude a kid from playing on their high school team, not the other way around. If her plan is to play NPL in order to play for her high school team make sure you mention that in the interview so they are not left wondering if she would be allowed to play high school.

    (we chose an ECNL club because of this but it's my understanding from NPL/DA club teammates that only the extreme stars of a club would be granted a DA waiver to play high school, or rostered late for the DA team)

    Also, make sure you really drill down on the 3 sport/activity requirement at most BSs. We were told "oh, other kids make it work. It's definitely hard but doable." Mmmmm, not so much. I ended up having to do a bunch of finagling so that my kids wouldn't have to do double practices every day they needed to go to soccer or basketball practice. When you end up with a list of schools, feel free to PM me about this. It was NOT at all easy. Each family/kid is unique but the student my first (daughter) had talked to was not as serious a student as my daughter so for her to do double practice was less of a big deal because to her homework was less of a big deal. My daughter isn't slow but she does have a fairly high GPA for her school and that's because she takes work very seriously.

    If your daughter thinks she is going to run track at school and play NPL in the same season (spring) I think that is not doable unless you drop down a solid level academics wise. Just something to keep in mind. IMO that isn't feasible at Exeter and Andover.



    Thanks for the reply. I understand that it's DA rules that preclude a player from playing HS, but I was responding to where you said earlier that an impact player would be of ECNL caliber. ECNL isn't an option for us, and DA isn't of interest, precisely because of the HS issue. I just meant that if being an NPL player means my daughter isn't considered strong enough for a prep school, then that's okay too, and she'd probably choose public HS at that point. Playing sports is very important to her. However, it doesn't sound like that's necessarily the case (that an NPL player would never be considered "good enough"), so I guess she'll just see.

    Thanks for the insight about the challenges with playing NPL in the spring, running track, and keeping up with studies. Definitely something to consider. She is meticulous with her studies. I suspect she will apply for admission, see if she is indeed admitted, and then make tough choices if offered admission.

    As for the community service, our GS troop is definitely not one where parents do the project for their girls, but even so, her other community service has been outside of her silver award project. She really enjoys it, and I'll encourage her to keep at it.

    Thanks for all the helpful insight.
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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 896 replies17 threads Member
    NEMama wrote: »

    Thanks for the reply. I understand that it's DA rules that preclude a player from playing HS, but I was responding to where you said earlier that an impact player would be of ECNL caliber. ECNL isn't an option for us, and DA isn't of interest, precisely because of the HS issue. I just meant that if being an NPL player means my daughter isn't considered strong enough for a prep school, then that's okay too, and she'd probably choose public HS at that point. Playing sports is very important to her. However, it doesn't sound like that's necessarily the case (that an NPL player would never be considered "good enough"), so I guess she'll just see.

    Thanks for the insight about the challenges with playing NPL in the spring, running track, and keeping up with studies. Definitely something to consider. She is meticulous with her studies. I suspect she will apply for admission, see if she is indeed admitted, and then make tough choices if offered admission.

    As for the community service, our GS troop is definitely not one where parents do the project for their girls, but even so, her other community service has been outside of her silver award project. She really enjoys it, and I'll encourage her to keep at it.

    Thanks for all the helpful insight.

    No, DA/NPL is "good enough" and will get the interest of most coaches. There have been several posters saying "I am impact level" and not understanding what that is (which is why I asked). You and your daughter should absolutely contact coaches at the beginning of next year so that when you tour schools you can meet the coaches. If possible go to as many games as you can. The school spirit is quite different at schools and will give you a vibe of the place.

    She sounds very much like my kids. They started looking at private schools because they were so annoyed by the way other kids in public treated the whole concept of school.

    Playing two sports is doable but it is mind/body breaking. It is just really important to really drill down with the school (after admission ;) ) on things like the school's requirement for sports and how often your daughter will be allowed to leave campus. Some schools will not excuse a kid more than 2x a week which obviously is a problem for a club player with 3 practices and 2 games every week. Before we were accepted I found this information somewhat hard to find. I didn't know the lingo of the school and some admissions people were less than helpful (the Andover AO who just told me for 30 min how club soccer was ruining women's soccer).

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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 896 replies17 threads Member
    417WHB wrote: »


    Most of the soccer kids don't do a winter sport at our school, with the exception of a couple on thirds basketball. Conditioning is easy to pack in a couple days and use the rest of the time to study/get homework done so you can hit the outside practice later. It is crazy hectic but the motivated kids do it somehow. IME, the kids on track to play in college create their schedules to revolve around the sport, and just ditch the other stuff that does not fit. It is risky but the coaches mostly encourage it and mostly help to make it happen. Also, aren't most of the kids who play outside sports day students?

    Some schools have very strict rules about kids playing 3 sports, or 2 sports and 1 theatre/show (even longer time commitment). This is why I say it is so important to get an exact grasp of requirements at schools as they vary a lot and how strictly the schools follow their own rules, or give waivers, also varies a LOT!

    In MA, because there are so many soccer clubs packed in here there are some soccer kids who try out for nearby clubs when coming to BS. Several at both my kids' schools.
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  • 417WHB417WHB 236 replies4 threads Junior Member
    one1ofeach wrote: »

    Some schools have very strict rules about kids playing 3 sports, or 2 sports and 1 theatre/show (even longer time commitment). This is why I say it is so important to get an exact grasp of requirements at schools as they vary a lot and how strictly the schools follow their own rules, or give waivers, also varies a LOT!

    Our school has this, but for most kids sport means intramural sport or something like yoga, fitness, conditioning etc. Intramural basketball may be pick up basketball if motivated but also just standing around with a ball for half hour and then being a cheer squad for whichever basketball team plays at home. The time commitment is not comparable, 2-3 days for an hour maybe, compared to kids playing 6-days a week, traveling to games etc. Conditioning can be a time suck if you are doing the real football/baseball/softball/lacrosse off-season workouts but for the non-athletes it is half hour of walking on the treadmill/outside if nice weather. There are also things like rock climbing, farming etc. You can easily go through the entire year of 'sports' without breaking a sweat.

    My kid complains all the time how all his friends get to hang out on Saturday while he spends most of the day on the bus/playing games/trip back. There are very few freshmen on the teams in general in our league. It makes sense for varsity teams because the PGs take those spots every year but even JVs are loaded with juniors and even seniors in some sports. There are more freshmen on thirds but a lot of sports do not have them. So even kids who do want to play may get cut, or directed to sports like cross country that do not cut. I think the small schools need more kids to play to field all of the teams but at the big schools there are a lot of kids that do not care for sports at all, and set up their schedules accordingly. And after freshmen year they get out entirely for music, dance, theatre, science competitions or other other things they are pursuing. They may need to continue the yoga twice a week to check the box, but I think calling it playing sports is a stretch, and the time commitment is very small. It is some exercise at best.
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  • NEMamaNEMama 4 replies1 threads New Member
    One more soccer question,
    one1ofeach wrote: »
    NEMama wrote: »

    Thanks for the reply. I understand that it's DA rules that preclude a player from playing HS, but I was responding to where you said earlier that an impact player would be of ECNL caliber. ECNL isn't an option for us, and DA isn't of interest, precisely because of the HS issue. I just meant that if being an NPL player means my daughter isn't considered strong enough for a prep school, then that's okay too, and she'd probably choose public HS at that point. Playing sports is very important to her. However, it doesn't sound like that's necessarily the case (that an NPL player would never be considered "good enough"), so I guess she'll just see.

    Thanks for the insight about the challenges with playing NPL in the spring, running track, and keeping up with studies. Definitely something to consider. She is meticulous with her studies. I suspect she will apply for admission, see if she is indeed admitted, and then make tough choices if offered admission.

    As for the community service, our GS troop is definitely not one where parents do the project for their girls, but even so, her other community service has been outside of her silver award project. She really enjoys it, and I'll encourage her to keep at it.

    Thanks for all the helpful insight.


    She sounds very much like my kids. They started looking at private schools because they were so annoyed by the way other kids in public treated the whole concept of school.


    This is exactly how we got here. She loves school and learning. Truly. She is annoyed with the general apathy at her school and how little education is valued. This would be a huge change for our family, but I support her.

    And that's not a knock on anyone. My younger child's favorite subject is recess. ;-) I love them both dearly, but I get where my daughter is coming from.
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  • 417WHB417WHB 236 replies4 threads Junior Member
    If she loves school she probably won't mind studying for the SSAT either. I am sure there are bunch of tutoring companies in Boston area that offer mock SSAT tests, which is a past version of the SSAT that they give under testing conditions with the same timing etc. It is worthwhile to do that to get a baseline of where she is at and which if any area she needs to work on. Then you can decide how to move forward with studying with a book, online or tutor if needed.
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  • PrepDad2018PrepDad2018 132 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @iusedtobesmart I am not familiar with the PSAT 8/9 to offer that comparison.
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