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Chance me - Andover/Exeter/Lawrenceville/etc

katimukatimu 3 replies1 threads New Member
Hi! I'm an ABC 7th grader, (rising 8th grader), currently attending an international school in China, and I'm looking to attend a boarding school in New England/near Boston for 9th grade. However, I've been feeling extremely insecure about all of my extracurriculars and grades, so please, chance me! Be honest. Even if it's brutally and hurtfully honest.

First off, to the grades! Well, this part is a bit unique, as my school doesn't grade by numbers. Instead, we're graded by four levels:

Exceeding - when you surpass the standards and go "above and beyond." I don't know, but this either is an A+ or an A++ (if that's possible) at "normal" American schools.

Meeting - when you simply meet the standards for the test/subject. Maybe a B+ or an A at a normal American school?

Approaching - when you're like, almost there, but not quite. You still need improvement on one area. I suppose this would be a B, (at most), or a C at normal schools.

Beginning - You've failed at it. Definitely an F.

So, following this type of grading system, I would say that my grades for each subject in 7th grade are:

Math - 4 exceedings, 1 meeting.
Language Arts - 3 exceedings, 4 meetings.
Science - 6 meetings.
Social Studies - 3 exceedings, 3 meetings.
Band - 1 exceeding, 4 meetings.
French - 5 meetings.
PE - 3 meetings.

Is this good enough for an elite boarding school like Andover? Apparently, it's literally impossible to attain all exceedings in my school, since they judge you on your "active learning" and "effective collaborator" skills too. No one is loved by all teachers in my school after all.

(By the way, my 6th grade year had far less exceedings than this year. However, in 6th grade, I did have all exceedings for my French class.... I did have a different teacher though, so yeah.)

Anyway, onto the SSATs! For the SSATs, although I haven't taken the actual test yet, my practice tests have been giving me above the 95th percentiles, so I would assume that my actual score would be similar. I've been preparing for it for quite a while, after all.

Now, about extracurriculars and all. To be honest, I feel as if this is the part I lack the most of and will severely damage my chances (other than my not-so exceptional grades D:). My extracurriculars are, listed below:

1. Tennis. I play around 5 hours (will start to become more as the year passes by, it's only summer after all) each week. I've been playing for more than four years, and I'd say that I'm pretty decent. I've won first place in one season-long competition in my community before, and have also won second place in the same season-long competition during another time. This year, I do intend to start playing actual competitions though. Wish me luck! (But the pandemic might change my plans though...)

Even so, with tennis, I don't think I'm that accomplished.

2. Piano. 7 hours every week. I've played for many years, but I've only started to be serious about it in late 5th grade. I'll be taking the exam for the 5th ABRSM level for it this year. Again, it isn't really that strong, so I'm a bit worried...

3. Programming/coding. I've only recently started, but I do around 7-14 hours a week. As I've only recently started, and it isn't long until I'll be applying for my selected boarding schools, I'm not that confident in it either.

4. Clarinet. I've participated in my school's band for around 3-4 years, but I'm absolutely terrible. I'm in the last rows, hidden from the audience's view, as I squeak relentlessly... BUT ANYWAY, I'm going to start taking classes for it soon, so... maybe it'll get better...?

So, yeah, those are my extracurriculars. None of them are particularly outstanding, and seeing people with far better stats than I, get rejected and waitlisted at these top-notch boarding schools, makes me feel incredibly worried.

About "leadership roles" and all of those shenanigans. I've participated in a student council like organization for my school in 6th grade, (we organized dances and events), and was one of the two representatives for my grade for a semester. However, it disbanded when I entered 7th grade. But anyway, now, in 7th grade, I'm in a group that introduces new students to the school, and also works to, once again, put together and plan events for the school.

I've known about Exeter, Andover, and all the top-notch boarding schools ever since I was in 5th grade, but I've only started to get serious about them now. I won't be requiring any financial aid should I enter any of those schools, so please: chance me!

7 replies
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Replies to: Chance me - Andover/Exeter/Lawrenceville/etc

  • dancingpianistdancingpianist 11 replies2 threads New Member
    Hi! I will be a 9th grader at Andover this fall. I also got into other schools like Exeter, Taft, and St. Andrews. I am also an international student and I just finished 8th grade at an international school in Hong Kong. I'm full pay.

    If you have been practicing SSAT for a while and you're doing well in your practice tests, you should be fine! The average SSAT score at Andover is 94% so anything above that is very good!

    Your grades are pretty good, but it will be even better if you show steady improvement. Try to get a consistent average of 'Exceedings' in 8th grade.

    I also play piano! I just finished ABRSM 8th grade. When I applied, I sent in a recording so maybe you should consider doing that.

    It's great that you play tennis! Participate in more competitions this year and maybe join the school team?

    Programming is very cool! Maybe try creating an app or a website? Something to help your school community?

    It would also be great if you did some community service. Does you school have any service clubs you could join?

    Show passion through your interviews and essays. No one can really accurately chance you, but anything is possible! Best of luck to you.
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  • katimukatimu 3 replies1 threads New Member
    Regarding the part for my school's tennis team, we actually don't have one for middle school students. Otherwise, I would've already joined long ago... :(

    Thank you for your suggestions though! My school, well, doesn't really have clubs for middle school students, but does have "exploratories" which are kind of like clubs. I suppose I had joined a club similar to a service club in 6th grade, but I was only able to join it for around one semester, as there is a limit to how much time one can join a club. To be honest, about the volunteering part, I would actually love to volunteer more, but my school doesn't really offer any service clubs. The ones that were similar to service clubs, I've already joined and participated to the maximum amount of time I could. Any suggestions on how I can do more community service inside of school? (Thank you so much for your advice though, I really appreciate it!)
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  • katimukatimu 3 replies1 threads New Member
    Oh yes, by the way, now re-reading my post, I forgot to add two crucial details:

    1. I'm a female. Seems like I forgot to add this part in...
    2. I have also started a translation group with my friends, and I started it in early 2020 (January and February). The translation group basically translates Chinese novels into English online, and I'm the editor of the group.
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  • PrepDad2018PrepDad2018 144 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @katimu to be brutally honest (as requested in your 1st post) your stats neither stand out nor do they indicate no shot. You seem fairly typical for these threads. You have about an 18% chance of being accepted to any one school assuming your SSAT holds as predicted AND you have an engaging interview and/or essays.

    International school in China is mildly interesting. Full pay is a plus.

    Lacking is a "hook". You need to stop downplaying your ECs and turn one into a strength assuming you have a passion to get better at the piano or tennis as examples.

    The lack of school and community leadership/activities is a big gap you need to reconsider. You can't fake it 6 months before you submit your application, so think about your contributions you may not have noted or really thought about.

    Your 1st post is well written with a good voice and detail. Clearly you are bright. Give yourself more credit. You will need to carry that confidence (but not over the top) into your interviews and essays. If you feel you have fallen short, you need to rethink it is you are excited to learn and improve. Good luck.
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  • tacocat123tacocat123 22 replies3 threads Junior Member
    I think that you have a chance. I attend Andover right now. Typically, there are like a bit over ten international students from mainland China accepted (I think. Or I'm also mixing in HK.) Anyway, I know a few who went to SAS so the admissions officers should understand your grades if you go there....

    Your grades are fine. Try to get as high as possible of the SSATs. You still have some time.

    I think you should focus on your ECs. There's no awards. Perhaps apply to some contests? Piano competitions, tennis competitions? Do you think that you can make varsity tennis? Contact the coach when you're applying then. You still have time so try to earn some national, international, or even notable awards. It'll help make your ECs more legit.

    Hope this helps. This is only my advice. Good luck.
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  • ecowellecowell 17 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited June 22
    @katimu - Hey! I'm going to Deerfield next year, and your resume is a whole lot more impressive than mine. I agree with the posts above, I think you should definitely push your case: don't be too humble and downplay your commitments (they're really good!); don't be afraid to put forward any concrete awards and accomplishments. You can't really add any more activities now, so work on what you have to get to a high level and have things to show regarding those ECs. The only "downside" I might add would be the grades... try to push them up to more exceeding. I assume your teachers have a good image of you, that should help with recommendations.

    Overall, though, I think you have the best possible chance that any non-recruited athlete applicant can get — meaning about 30% at best. Unfortunately, you can't control how competitive these schools are. But from your post you seem very impressive, if you really sell yourself on interviews and essays you should have a good shot at finding a top-tier school.
    edited June 22
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  • katimukatimu 3 replies1 threads New Member
    @PrepDad2018 (I'm not sure if I'm doing this correctly, forgive me if I'm using any of the "commands" incorrectly, a bit new to this website...) Thank you for your advice! Honestly, knowing that I have even a bit of a chance, (about an 18% of chance as you stated if everything goes well), already makes me EXTREMELY happy. And about your advice, I do intend to start participating in competitions as soon as possible. With the pandemic and all, it isn't really that possible for me to start competing RIGHT now. But anyway, thanks A LOT! I really appreciate your advice :)

    @tacocat123 Only a bit more than 10 students accepted from mainland China? Scary. Yeah, but anyway, my grades... SAS is a bit unique, I suppose. Yup, and like I said above, I'm going to try competing in some of my ECs, (especially tennis), and get some awards out of them while I can. Plus, my personal coach is also quite keen on the idea of me competing. Says I need the "experience." He actually had wanted me to start competing last year, but foolish me thought that it would be better to compete when I was older... Oh well. Wish me luck? Hehe. Anyway, thank you so much for your advice! I really appreciate and am extremely grateful for it. :')

    @ecowell With your advice, I'll try to be more confident about my ECs. However, just seeing the accomplishments and achievements of others, I really can't help but feel a bit insecure. Everyone, especially my family and friends, are telling me to stop comparing myself to others, but to compare myself to me, (extremely cheesy, I know). But anyway, yes, I'll try to compete for some awards while I can and "sell myself" as much as I can on the interviews. Thank you so much for the advice, it's really making me think over what I should be doing and getting better at! :D
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