One child not particularly happy at their current BS. It’s a combination of academic and athletic frustrations—misguided and not supported academically.
Child re-classed but was pushed into too challenging workload as if they didn’t reclass. We pushed back and there was some resolution with courseload, but for two years in a row our child is stuck in at least one course they should have dropped. Teachers and advisors pushed them to stay despite our child and then us expressing concern.
Athletically child is a two sport athlete having played varsity in both at a highly competitive high school prior to attending BS. Was recruited for one sport but due to more post-Covid acceptances than anticipated plus a coaching change things are not as promised. First year we emphasized it was character building but based on off season training our child is anticipating things won’t change much in the spring from last year.
We encouraged them to come back for this year but now we feel badly doing so as although they’re not miserable, they’re just kind of going through the motions and shared at Thanksgiving break that they’re really not happy there. Ideally we’d love for them to stick it out and graduate because we’ve always been about seeing things through and our child has been too. But when they’re unhappy and overly stressed about school and their sports and not living away from home a change seems to warrant consideration. They also see kids from there and other BS making changes yearly-it’s seems like the college transfer portal.
We have spoken to a consultant we’ve previously used who is helping guide us but curious if anyone has had a child go to a BS senior year. And we’d also consider day schools since we have family close to a few where our child could live/commute. But they say they like boarding, just want a different school.
Trust your “mom’s sense”. If it was freshman or sophomore I will suggest your kid to transfer out Although as a senior it must be challenging.
Lower expectation either academically or athletically, find a good college counselor and plan usually will lighten the burden.
Good luck and hang in there
I grew up in communities where families routinely moved because of work transfers, and as s result, moves at 12th happened not for the benefit of the kids, but out of necessity. And we have family who have remained in these very transient lifestyles. It’s hard to move for that last single year for a whole host of reasons - which I’m guessing you have already thought about. There’s a reason this isn’t common or encouraged.
With that said, and especially with a good consultant on your team, it doesn’t sound like your S is thriving. A BS that has PG is set up for “one last year” entrants. If you and your kid are feeling like getting out of Dodge is critical to health and happiness, explore your options. If things have turned around by spring, staying put is also an option. Looking may clarify both what is wrong and what is possible.
I’d also try moving a request about dropping down from the too hard class up the chain of command if your S is feeling really stressed. My kid had a junior year with several classes that stretched him to the point he had no time to invest in the classes he liked and had talent for, and the whole thing was exhausting and joy-killing. He did learn a great life lesson about balance, but it was hard learning! Had everything else in his life been blah, though, it would likely have been overwhelming.
You and your son should trust your guts on this one. Really wishing you luck, fortitude, and clarity as you make your way.
This would be the 3rd school in 4 yrs of “HS”? I would think long and hard as to how that will look to an AO, because I see nothing but red flags. I understand the not being a good fit as a reason to leave a school, however, they may want to know just what makes you sure that THEIR school will be a good fit, this time? Are they going to want to take a student who jumps ship every time the seas get rough? It is likely going to be a rough sell for your child during the application process, especially with just a month and a half left to go in it. Will they believe that there was actually enough time for your son to investigate schools and to figure out the right fit, this time? Are the right schools actually the ones where your relatives live close enough for your son to be a day student, or is that just a convenience, this time? Is there really enough time before Jan 15 for you and your son to sort that out and to figure out what he actually needs and wants, this time? I’m just not sure that schools will be into “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” for the third time.
Totally get that perspective. Yes it would be 3rd HS but to be fair the first years of HS were spent at home like many athletes do to grow academically, physically and to give an extra year or two to mature and prepare for being away from home, so the move to BS from there wasn’t a jumping ship when times are hard scenario. It was always a planned move like a parent, sibling, cousins and many others we knew had done before. We were surprised to find out our child had already been researching and had a list of schools and reasons why. We know it won’t be easy but at a minimum we have to explore because this kid is gritty and has gone through some very tough stuff and come through on the other side, so if they’re expressing unhappiness it’s a big deal.
Side note-due to Covid maybe and/or an increased awareness of mental health concerns in teens, we’ve known a fair number of kids at 3 schools during HS and a surprising amount leaving schools mid-year, which we’re really trying to avoid. I don’t think it’s ideal but ultimately we need to know our child is happy and thriving.
Thanks-we know it wouldn’t be a magic fix and we’ve shared that with our child, but the unhappiness has been growing and is very concerning. We wish they would have shared earlier but they didn’t want to disappoint us. The change in tone knowing there’s hope and a plan has been very telling. Our hope is there’s a possibility by spring things are better but definitely exploring options is empowering at a minimum. And social media allows these kids to see other kids making moves—no ever knows if it’s academic, athletic, social or a combo but it’s happening—so our child said they don’t want to regret not looking at the same opportunity.
That makes total sense, I’m just saying that it’s important to successfully convey the reasons. As you mentioned you are aware of many students with academic/mental health concerns at this juncture, it is still a concern for schools to take these students on as they could be conveyed as risks to not completing their programs. Saying each situation isn’t the right fit, well, why will this third try BE the right fit? If the student’s mental health is in peril, how is it going to be improved at their school because are you saying the work will be easier? If many students are having this issue, what sets your son out from the rest (the typical catch for any applicant, right?). It’s great your son has been doing the research, that certainly gives him a leg up time wise. It’s just really important to get down to selling the school on why THIS time it will be different and why THIS time it WILL work!
But it looks like this is really the second school with an asterisk. The first one was where they were while “stuck” awaiting enough of a covid lift to go where they would have been without covid - which is where they are now.
Agree that this needs to be handled with tact. Hopefully the consultant can help with that.
My situation is a little different since I was a bit younger(10th grade). I wasn’t happy at BS but I really wanted it to work. My parents knew I needed to come home, but I told them I would try to stick it out. My mental health got really, I mean really bad and I came home anyway mid-year. Everyone is obviously different, just wanted to add my perspective. Something to consider. Your child’s mental and physical health is more important than any college. Your child also doesn’t always know what’s best for him, we’re human, however he knows how he feels. Good luck to you and your son. Good on him for researching alternatives.
Are you saying the classes are too challenging? What are their current grades? What other issues do you think this is truly a school choice concern versus typical teen uncertainty about the future and everything else?
I agree with you and everyone that you need to listen to your child and support them in finding what they need. Is returning to their former “competitive high school” and option? I know you said they prefer to board but if they were successful there, perhaps it should also be “on their list”?
They probably could but because they reclassified at BS it would be strange because their friends would be graduating this year. Plus, they really do like boarding, just not happy at their current school.
The academics aren’t too hard it’s the courseload that’s been pushed multiple years that’s beyond necessary. Tough sciences and maths that are not necessary for any major our child is considering—courses known to be GPA busters. Also they could play their primary sport in college but they’ve smartly decided they don’t want a random college just to play their sport. So if not applying as a recruited athlete to other colleges their GPA will matter more. No one seems to hear this from our child or us. But some of the schools they’re looking at are a little less academically rigorous, which wouldn’t be a bad thing.
I read and replied not noting the thread section and my only experience with prep schools is teaching those who went once they are in grad school.
What I think I hear is that he has zero choice in his course selections right now that fit his future goals. That I understand would be annoying. It sounds like in deciding you would need to find a school where he could guarantee to take the courses of his choice next year and that sounds like a tall order (especially as he is repeating a year as is).
Lots of kids in public schools need to take courses they don’t love or are limited based on options so I don’t necessarily think this is a BS specific issue.
My 3.3 gpa kid already has college options that would allow him to continue in football or rugby. Or he can choose a college that is offering him 27k to play esports. Or he can choose the college that is offering him 36k/yr x 4 years in academic merit where he can play club sports and just have fun.
I think your son will have plenty of options no matter what he chooses. Parenting is hard and think we all wish we had a crystal ball for the future to make sure we made the right choices. Good luck!
I might add a different perspective which is: if I knew deep down know that my kid truly wasn’t thriving (versus just getting a little antsy), I would change the situation. People change schools and they still go to college. Pushing through this year and yet another year (right? currently a junior?) because of fear about college admissions seems to be the tail wagging the dog.
There are certainly people who would disagree with my philosophy. I did have a kid who transferred boarding schools (not as a junior though), and so I am very much a “life is short so don’t let it totally suck for long periods of time” kind of person. Personally I think our society’s willingness (even encouragement?) for our kids to write off years of their lives in high school in pursuit of the holy grail of dream college admission doesn’t serve them well. Because that same attitude gets them through 4 years of misery in college (sometimes) and then tolerating a miserable job/life becomes a habit that is very hard to break until they wake up one day at the age of 60 and wonder how their life flew by and their inner most dreams were left unfulfilled.
Obviously, you have to balance: is there true discontent, or is it just a rough patch and a little resilience is forming? But if it’s truly not a good fit, I would not let college admissions worries stop me from honoring my kid’s soul.
I don’t see any merit in the “grin and bear it” approach in this situation. Yes there are times when a kid needs to learn that just quitting isn’t the right move, and sometimes learning to get through a bad situation is character building. But knowing when you’re in the wrong situation and getting yourself out is also a really important skill.
Thank you. They have course choices but have been pushed in the wrong direction. It’s part of them not feeling heard/understood/valued, which has been festering for longer than we knew. They are a resilient kid who has pushed through many things in life and already at BS and has been trying to do the same. Thankfully they finally shared because being a teenager, pushing through some big things (as far as a teenager goes) away from home can be scary for the teen and parents.
Thank you. We have always focused on resiliency with our children and they have demonstrated that grit on so many occasions, especially this one. I hate the fact that they would switch schools and not graduate from a school, parts of which they love. But they have had some family things in the past few years that I think triggered a “life is too short” mindset, so they’ve assessed their situation and thinks they should make a change. Even though there are no guarantees, they’ve seen others do it and although not perfect, find a little more happiness and a better fit. So from our perspective we think at a minimum exploring their very limited options is important. And either way, they’ll probably have regrets—what if I stayed, what if I left. It’s not going to be easy on their heart but they do know they have parents in their corner supporting them and they have people at their school who when they got wind of them wanting to leave have tried to make sure they know they’re valued for many reasons. I think that’s what happens when you have a kid who has no big academic, social or athletic/co-curricular problems—they float through without a lot of attention, yet they actually need some.
I am so glad that your kid sharing with you to get help. I have seen multiple high school kid transferring 1-2 times and eventually liked the new school, succeed in both academic and life. Also there is option for leave of absence for medical reasons if you can consider and repeat.
Thanks. We wish they had shared sooner so the school and we could have tried to help, but we are so happy and proud that they finally did. Even though it’s not ideal, especially in these Covid years we know of numerous kids who have attended 2-3 high schools. It will be a part of their story and in most cases that we know of personally, there were a lot of positives taken from each experience. Our child sees those positives even in their current situation.