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School list brainstorm help?

CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 517 replies21 threads Member
I’d love some input from the wise hive here on schools to consider for my next daughter’s application round (8th grade in fall; applying for 9th ).

This daughter is DD3, and is an identical twin (her twin will go to LPS because she does gymnastics).

DD3, unlike my DD2 who went through the cycle last year, is a bit of a study in opposites. She is very smart and tough in some areas, but in others, she is a cream puff. She is the most tender-hearted, loving, and optimistic of my kiddos. (She is also the one who had open-heart surgery a few months ago, so she is very in touch with what “really matters” in this world.”)

She is the child who finds deep joy at the beauty of the small things in life that we overlook, such as opening the window first thing in the morning. She loves working with her hands and is incredibly sharp in spatial intelligence: she has every complicated rubiks cube known to mankind and we all try to stump her and she solves in under a minute. She does elaborate magic tricks with cards that involve a ton of mental counting, math and physical dexterity. She loves reading, engineering and building robots, and wants to be an electrical engineer or architect. She is wise beyond her years, capturing the philosophical and spiritual stuff that my other teen kids let fly over their heads. She is physically smaller, and sweet-natured, which makes it a surprise to some when her competitive nature comes out with a vengeance on the soccer field or the volleyball court.

Her grades are very good but not stellar. Mostly A’s, but a couple B’s. Her recommendations will likely be less “OMG one of the smartest kids this school has seen” and more of the “very smart, and one of the kindest, most nurturing kids I’ve seen.” (Side note: it is hard to be one year younger than her sister DD2, who was that “OMG so smart” type.)

DD3 is a case of potential, and she will do best in a school that doesn’t underestimate her (a downside of her birth order I think), and will allow her to reach her goals. Activities: Robotics, volleyball, broadcast journalism (news TV station), trombone (although she had a very hard time with trombone after heart surgery and ended up leaving the symphony where she played, so not sure she is emotionally ready to return, so not a primary consideration for the BS). She loves animals, enough that some of the schools known to have dogs (or zoo!) around actually might be a great fit. Engineering and robotics programs would be the biggest draw for her.

Open to any thoughts as our first list can be quite long.

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Replies to: School list brainstorm help?

  • hellomaisyhellomaisy 226 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Mercersburg's robotics program is great - we've won or placed in the international contests every year. AND, it is run by a woman. Which I personally think is great, esp for encouraging young women in STEM.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6805 replies10 threads Senior Member
    You know what I'll recommend 😉.

    George has great robotics -- do extremely well competitively, including in divisions not limited to high school students. And they host a rubiks cube contest!

    Your D's personality sounds like a perfect fit. And bonus, you already know the admissions folks!
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  • CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 517 replies21 threads Member
    @hellomaisy Oh this makes me so happy! Robotics run by women is my new love language I've decided! I didn't know that since my DD2 was looking at completely different things in a school. Gosh, I'm SO eager finally to visit Mercersburg. I think I've mentioned here that regardless of what happens with all of my kids and schools, at some point in life, I will drive to Mercersburg to visit it, just to see it in person. We LOVED that school from afar. I sadly finished the last of our Mercersburg honey this week on a dreamy slice of crusty toast from one of the millions of loaves I've made over quarantine.

    @gardenstategal Totally! but what I didn't know was that they have a Rubik's club contest! George is on her list too. Partially because she is French/American so that's nice fit for us. And partially because I secretly hope revisits happen and I can come see you in person!

    Which brings me to: it might be helpful for me to share some schools that we are considering on the big list.

    Mercersburg, George, Berkshire, Millbrook, Deerfield, Hotchkiss, Andover, Groton, St. Andrew's, Miss Porter's, Emma Willard, Chatham Hall, Thacher, Cate

    Again -- just a first stab. Just wondering if I am missing schools or if anyone has helpful info (such as a headsup on Rubik's cube contests).
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6805 replies10 threads Senior Member
    edited July 19
    @Calliemomofgirls , of course there is some self-interest there! We'll make good on that invitation. Btw, George has been doing some online open houses so it could be an easy way to take a look.


    edited July 19
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  • PhotographerMomPhotographerMom 1987 replies61 threads Senior Member
    Love the list , @Calliemomofgirls !! All are fantastic and the all girl schools ( Emma and MPS ) are really wonderful to see , too - especially Emma! :)

    I actually like your list as is - even if one or two don't make the final cut, but if you're hoping to add a few more to simply look at right now - I would suggest schools like Loomis, Tabor or Blair.

    Just for a fun exercise in list making - checkout the Decision Thread from the last cycle and look at MiddlesexDad. His list actually made me swoon because it could've very easily flipped the other way - make sense? His child cast a nice wide net, and they allowed the schools to determine fit.

    DD3 sounds really amazing! All the best and good luck!! :)
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  • amumof2amumof2 101 replies3 threads Junior Member
    @Calliemomofgirls I second @PhotographerMom and suggest Blair (trying to be unbiased :wink: ) but they are big on robotics
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1700 replies24 threads Senior Member
    For a student who loves animals, check out Millbrook - they have their own zoo and students participate in learning about/caring for an animal while there. She may also be interested in St George’s. The new HOS as of 2018 is a woman who I think came from Lakeside. We met her and were very impressed. Do apply to Emma Willard - they have amazing opportunities for girls who are interested in tech - a few years ago there were girls doing their Signature project with RPI and also girls participating in research in the greater Albany area. If you can, go online and check out their magazine.

    MPS has been gearing up their technology & computer studies program - also were making coding a mandatory course when we last checked. You should also keep Berkshire (technology program) and Hotchkiss (journalism, writing, campus radio, farm, social service) on the list given the interests of your daughter that you stated.
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  • CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 517 replies21 threads Member
    Thanks gang.
    The list can be quite long for the moment so I appreciate the added schools.

    I’m adding Tabor and Blair - thanks @PhotographerMom and @amumof2. Daughter would love the beauty of Tabor! She is very beauty-driven and loves nature (and lovely buildings.)

    @Golfgr8 SGS - I’d love to add it but no volleyball. Millbrook is on our list though.

    I’ve also added: Pomfret, Suffield, Westover, Cushing. I might add SPS back in. Not sure — we didn’t have a great personal experience last fall there but I hate to eliminate based on the few people we happened to meet.

    It’s early so I want a wide net.
    Also — some schools we liked a lot last cycle I didn’t include this cycle because of FA reasons. While every year is different, of course, there is a part of me that feels like if a school was less generous on the FA side for DD2, then it’s perhaps unlikely that they will suddenly have tons of money for DD3, especially after Covid.

    Also will add: DD3 will be completely unconcerned with prestige. With her my only concern is not selling her short with academic challenge. I know a great education is available most places but I don’t want to be complacent and let her go someplace that doesn’t deeply challenge the kids and encourage them to move out of their comfort zone. Our LPS is very good. But I think the right BS can be life-changing in terms of formation (not college acceptances). I think she is so much smarter than she thinks she is. I say this even more confidentially after having managed her schooling the last few months of school this year. (I homeschool my DD1 so I’ve got a small base of comparison.)
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  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 1322 replies11 threads Senior Member
    Glad Millbrook is on your list. I can't think of a better school for appreciating kids *for who they are* and allowing them to flourish. Kindness is valued there. While not as high powered as some other schools nevertheless it does well with college placement (and no, not all those T20 kids are recruited athletes!). From your description I think there's an excellent chance that the fit will be right for your daughter there. Two of my kids went to Hotchkiss and one to Millbrook. I cannot recommend Millbrook more highly -- kids of all kinds really seem to flourish there.

    As you get further along in the process please feel free to reach out w/any questions and I'll do my best to answer.
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  • PhotographerMomPhotographerMom 1987 replies61 threads Senior Member
    @Calliemomofgirls - I think she'll love Tabor, too and big thumbs up for Westover and Pomfret!!! :)
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  • kschretzkschretz 18 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I'll second (third?) Westover. They have a great Women in Science and Engineering program that might be of great interestet to your daughter.
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  • westcoastmom987westcoastmom987 54 replies4 threads Junior Member
    edited July 19
    I see some California schools on your list. You may also want to look at The Webb Schools - I believe they have a strong robotics program. We are also fans of Stevenson School (my son is a current student), but their robotics program is currently in transition. It’s been weak in the last few years but they just hired a new faculty member that will focus on engineering and applied science, so hopefully it will get stronger. Both Stevenson and Webb have student-run radio stations, which may appeal to your daughter’s broadcast journalism interests.

    As an aside, don’t let the school size posted on websites scare you off for Stevenson - it did for us at first. While it is technically a PK-12 school (the reported school size includes all students), the high school is on a physically separate campus in a different town and feels entirely independent from the PK-8 school. The high school is 500 students with about 60% boarding. Less selective than Cate and Thacher, and probably also Webb, but an absolutely outstanding school with an unbeatable location in Pebble Beach.
    edited July 19
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  • CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 517 replies21 threads Member
    Thanks @westcoastmom987 for the ideas. I will check them out. She is right now preferring east coast (we live in California), but we agreed that it is at least worth considering some California schools. (Luckily I could easily channel @ThacherParent on describing the freshman horse program!)

    Turns out I discovered at today's brunch school discussion that the idea of riding horses is more appealing than I realized. All DDs rode horses when they were younger (they went away to summer camp for riding for several years, but never pursued it because we live on an island with no horses allowed). Anyway, I was explaining Thacher-freshman-horse-duty and the eyes lit up in a compelling way that told me this wasn't just a random thing, but a desire she had pushed aside out of practicality. So, access to riding is not a deal-breaking-type feature, but a very-nice-to-have.

    I'm updating my list to add in some schools with riding programs.

    Also: I secretly rejoice at the idea of showing her how many all-girl schools have riding programs. I love all-girl education.

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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6805 replies10 threads Senior Member
    If dhr likes the looks of Tabor, she really needs to look at St. George's. It is spectacularly beautiful!
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  • CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 517 replies21 threads Member
    @gardenstategal We actually just triple checked again today on their website -- no volleyball! So that's a dealbreaker.
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  • AltrasAltras 404 replies7 threads Member
    Choate and Lawrenceville are great for STEM, robotics and just about everything else.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6805 replies10 threads Senior Member
    @Calliemomofgirls , that's too bad. I truly think that has to be one of the most gorgeous campuses.
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  • CateCAParentCateCAParent 631 replies7 threads Member
    Your daughter (all your daughters!) sound amazing.

    Kent is supposed to have a good riding program, I think.

    I am a broken record on Cate, so I will address the less obvious elements relevant to your question:

    Cate is lousy with dogs in the best way.

    I can’t speak to robotics, they have it, but I would guess other schools are stronger? I can hook you up with a student (cough kiddo cough) if you want more info.

    No tv station. Really strong girls volleyball, soccer and basketball.

    They have just hired a new (male) computer science teacher they are really excited about. Several strong women math teachers. Girls Who Code is a thing there, but boys are also members. Not sure what that is about.

    I would think Cate’s orchestra would appreciate a trombone.

    beauty? Check.

    Kindness is definitely a highly valued quality, and something that is reinforced and nurtured. As are competitive streaks. And quirkiness.
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  • stalecookiesstalecookies 137 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Have you considered the Dana Hall School (all girls, Wellesley MA)?
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  • CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 517 replies21 threads Member
    @stalecookies - No I hadn't considered Dana Hall. Boarding population is 40% which felt low. Did you have a DD who attended?
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