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The Impossible happened: Expulsion.

GarandmanGarandman 216 replies9 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
edited June 2017 in Prep School Parents
Well, not technically. A TSAO School gave us a 12 hour window to voluntarily withdraw our child rather than being expelled. But a two sport Varsity student with a strong B average doesn't suddenly leave a school like that so we expect to be answering questions in any applications process.

It was the result of several offenses which, had they occurred over several terms, would have meant little. All "teenage mistakes" by our heretofore straight-arrow student that added up in a boarding environment. We've spoken with one Admissions official already whose opinion is that the mistakes are more likely to be seen as "lessons learned" rather than something [examples given were cyber bullying or plagiarism] that would give other schools pause.

What we are facing now is that few boarding or day schools take new Seniors. Additionally, of course, we are long past the Admissions cycle and most schools aren't officially taking applications. Yet we've been told that many schools will have openings come up, particularly for a student that does not need financial aid. We understand one TSAO school, The Hill School, has rolling admissions, and one local day school as well.

We are also considering with our child whether repeating 11th grade makes sense. The plusses would be more schools are interested in a two year student, repeating might make it easier to "ace" the academics, better chances to make strong friendships, and would be able to build up relationships with teachers and coaches for college recommendations.

Repeating has some downsides as well. We bear another year of tuition, our kid is often taken for a Senior already and may not connect with younger classmates, and a smaller school may not have a big enough course catalog: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Calculus, and Computer Science have already been completed. But one year at a school may be too short a time for college recommendations, let alone lasting friendships.

Friends and family have indicated they have personal relationships with officials at a number of schools: Heads of School, Admissions Deans and the like. We are extremely reluctant to exploit those relationships, but we're told this is not unusual, and that because of such a strong academic background our child would receive consideration.

Unfortunately the public school option is a last resort: the schools here are poor to middling. We've even started exploring non traditional approaches like taking the GED, enrolling in a college Continuing Ed program in the Fall, then attempting a transfer: there are a number of CE options available

Any advice will be gratefully received.

edited June 2017
204 replies
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Replies to: The Impossible happened: Expulsion.

  • HMom16HMom16 698 replies17 threadsRegistered User Member
    A friend of my daughter's spent his senior year at Hotchkiss. He had previously attended public school but, due to family issues, it made sense for him to go elsewhere. He was an excellent student and had good references but the short tenure did seem to impact his college admissions. He was rejected from his top choice schools but ended up at Georgetown, a good school and good fit for his interests.

    Despite only being there one year, he did make lasting friendships. He is very connected to the Hotchkiss community and has continued to maintain those relationships post graduation.
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  • EarlyMTNesterEarlyMTNester 74 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    First, know that you are not alone. There are many parents who have contributed to this board who have had the difficult experience of having a child suddenly and unexpectedly removed from the boarding school community. You might want to seek some of them out by direct message for assistance. Here is one thread on the topic:


    He and you will get through this and be fine.
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  • mairlodimairlodi 40 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I'm sorry.

    I probably would worry least about making friends and forming ties to the new school. It's my impression that varsity athletes fit into a new school setting more easily due to teammate relationships, especially if one of his sports is a fall sport. Many boarding schools have PGs, who would be in a similar boat socially as a new senior.

    I don't know how college admissions works for new seniors and PGs. Can some of their letters come from the old school? Do they all have to come from the new school? Would any of his teachers at the old school be willing to write him a recommendation letter? But I would imagine that any school that takes PGs would know how to handle your child's situation as related to college admissions.

    Another option to potentially consider that is not boarding school is to homeschool but take all dual enrollment courses at a local college. I don't know if or how your child would be able to continue sports in that situation, although some school districts allowed homeschooled kids to play on their athletic teams. You do not need a GED to enter college from being homeschooled. Homeschooling regulations vary a lot by state. But I think you'd need a very good story for why your child chose this and socially, this might be the most challenging.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 20853 replies216 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    "But a two sport Varsity student with a strong B average doesn't suddenly leave a school like that so we expect to be answering questions in any applications process."

    Actually, kids leave schools for all kinds of reasons. Since your son was allowed to withdraw rather than being formally booted out, you can creatively spin things.

    I've known several cases where students have gone on to other boarding schools, usually one rung down but not always, after "spring cleaning". Given your son's academic prowess and that you seem to be full-pay, that should make it a little easier.

    This is one of those situations where a good private counselor, who has experience handling such matters, could make sense if you can afford one.

    Sorry to hear you have to go through this.
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  • baxterbaxter 151 replies12 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Perhaps you can consider a year of school abroad in a language immersion setting with some service component. It may help your child mature and be a positive on college apps.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5580 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I am sorry that you and your son have to deal with this. @doschicos recommendation of a good private counselor, especially one who handles both prep school and college admissions, is an excellent one. Kids make poor choices, but having been "not invited back" is far less of a problem than being expelled and someone who has been down this road before can really help you understand how best to articulate your situation as well as come up with alternatives.

    In considering options -- because in fact, there are many (however it may seem right now) -- I would think hard about your son's strengths and wishes, particularly as they relate to college. If he was hoping to be recruited for sports, your next step needs to be one that will absolutely allow him to continue to play at a high level. (And depending on the sport, that might dictate whether a more traditional school setting is a must. For football, I would think it would be while for soccer, he's better off playing club.) If this is the case, this could also be your "story" for changing courses at this juncture.

    If sports were what made his life enjoyable but he's not going to go the recruitment route, I would try really hard to make sure that the option he chooses permits him to keep doing that. He may be feeling somewhat unmoored by leaving his prep school friends, and this could really help with the transition. If he'd like to go to another BS, I would VERY quickly put together a list of your top choices and contact them to see whether they could consider it. You don't have a lot of time to work with, so determining what is feasible will help you make the most of it. While I would guess that schools that offer PG would be better equipped to deal with a one-year senior, I wouldn't necessarily limit the list to that. Public high school, complemented by community college, might not be the worst thing. It's a consequence, but also an education.

    Bascially, though, there are going to be trade-offs. It's d be smart to try to figure out which ones you're most and least willing to make before you're wading through alternatives.

    Home schooling, enrollment at a CC, study abroad, -- these are all possible options. I know a young man who was expelled from 2 prep schools and ended up finishing high school at the professional children's school in NYC. Never mind that most of the other kids there were scheduling classes around their matinee performances, etc. -- he attended a CTCL college and is now nicely established in a career.
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  • preppedparentpreppedparent 3341 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    maybe look into AFS as a year abroad while you are looking to apply to senior year this fall at a variety of schools and keep all your options open. There is program at Oxford that you might consider during this time that can help with matriculation as well to great colleges. I will try to PM you.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41740 replies450 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    What language does he speak? Could he go on a one year yfu school immersion program in a country where the language is spoken? And that gap year, dedicated to growing up, would also give you time to find him a new BS.
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  • jym626jym626 55310 replies2877 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Oh, and OP, remember what your HS friend's WW II vet dad told you......
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41740 replies450 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 2017
    ^depending on the country, the child could be in a stricter school environment from 8 am till 6pm, picked up at school by host parents, then be at home. Rinse and repeat. Obviously I wouldn't recommend Spain, where teens can be out till 11pm on a school night with no supervision, or systems where there's little oversight.
    I'm not thinking in terms of reward/punishment, I'm thinking in terms of "valuable experience that can provide some time for the parents to figure out what to do".

    I'm guessing he got expelled for pulling a string of stupid pranks.

    I agree a B at a top BS could well be an A in a regular public system. So, what harm is there, unless you live in Newark or central Youngstown... why not go with a year in public school? Ask for what AP/IB classes are offered at the school near where you live. If you can afford BS, I can't imagine you live near a high school where the average ACT is 16.
    An alternative would be to pick a day school closest to your home, this way the assumption is that you wanted him closer to home or he was homesick.
    edited June 2017
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  • jym626jym626 55310 replies2877 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    And FYI- the reference in post #13 is to a previous post by the OP, where he/s he said
    Just before I graduated from HS, a friend's dad a WWII vet) told me, "Some of the life events that seem to be the worst turn out for the best - and vice-versa." And the decades that have passed have proven him correct.
    . Wise words....
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  • GarandmanGarandman 216 replies9 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited June 2017
    We appreciate the many helpful ideas.

    "Why not let him figure it out? Why not give him a taste of public schools which are where the vast majority of students go? A B student and varsity athlete at a boarding school might have a challenge at some public schools."

    We live in Boston. Our kid left Boston Latin School after 9th grade because they were getting all A's and not challenged. BLS is an exam school (Along with Boston Latin Academy and O'Bryant) and attracts the top kids in Boston and has a better Admissions record at HYPS than all but a handful of privates.

    Re-entering BLS is not an option due to policy, unfortunately. The school most likely to take in new students has a graduation rate of 70%, a college attendance rate of just over 50%, and most of those go to two year community colleges. There are metal detectors at the doors and the schools are more segregated than prior to the busing lawsuit.

    If we lived in an affluent suburb with a strong HS, there would be no thread....

    We have mixed advice on private counsellors.

    We believe that brutally honest communication is more valuable than spin from a hired gun.
    edited June 2017
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  • chemmchimneychemmchimney 772 replies1 threadsRegistered User Member
    Hired gun's job in this case is not to spin but to direct you to appropriate fit schools with space available at the right grade level and to serve as a buffer who can speak more plainly with schools about events that you or your son may feel uncomfortable discussing right now. A good consultant builds their reputation with schools by being a reliable provider of good fit kids - they are unlikely to "spin"
    as it is risky for them. More likely they will encourage your son to write a sincere and heartfelt "lessons learned" essay and help him to see this as a growth opportunity and articulate that in his interview. But if you are comfortable moving forward on your own or with the help of connected friends, I think many AOs will be very sympathetic to your son and you may be surprised at how good his options are. His current school may even help in the process if this is truly just a case where there were too many goofs to close together.
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  • GarandmanGarandman 216 replies9 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    That's an excellent point! Is there a directory of independent advisors here, or what are the best resources to find one? I'd think Boston has one on nearly every street corner: except we live in Dorchester....

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  • jym626jym626 55310 replies2877 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes, an independent educational consultant can be very helpful. They aren't "hired guns" but can evaluate your child's situation and help find appropriate placement. The counselors that work with boarding/day schools will likely be familiar with a number of places. Your location, a few miles from Boston, will not be of concern.
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