Applying to BS, but just one

DC recently revealed that they would like to apply to a specific BS across the country. It’s near where they spent a lot of time this summer, good family friends are on faculty so DC has spent a lot of time on campus, and this school offers a sport that is not available at our local schools. In this sport, based on my research, it seems DC would be able to contribute at a varsity level as a freshman (or even now). DC is at a K-8 so they will be applying to high schools in this admissions cycle. All other schools on their list are local privates. Is this crazy? It seems crazy to me given all I’ve read on here about casting a wide net, it basically being a lottery at the tippy top schools. This is a very competitive school and no one in our family knows much about BS. DC tests extremely well and other extracurriculars are varied and fine but not amazing.

It’s not crazy if he has a strong local option that needs his needs.


Thank you. It seems like such a long shot, and I don’t want positive associations with the area and this family to be harmed. I would need to manage expectations I think.

Mine applied to only 3. And they were all HADES schools. She got into and attended one of them as a repeat Junior. I am glad I didn’t know about this forum when she applied :joy:

I think it’s fine if you are happy with your non-BS options. For many kids, once they have a BS as a possibilty, they get more attached to the idea of boarding and find day options a disappointment. You might want to talk about this scenario with your son to make sure he fully understands how the process might change his perspective and that he won’t have options if that happens.

Do make sure to reach out to the coach at the BS to get their support and to understand how the team/sport there works. If your S wants to remain at the top of his sport, he may also want to know whether there is a local club and how that fits with the school schedule. While these schools all love having excellent athletes, it is generally quite difficult to balance elite training with BS. Time, transportation, etc. can all be tricky in an environment that has a lot of ways to keep kids busy.

I definitely know people who only applied to 1 or 2 BS for a variety of reasons, so not crazy!

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Thanks all.

Nothing is crazy, it is just about priorities. Personally I think it is worth seeing other BS just to have a strong comparison. My child did a summer program to try out boarding school and loved it, but after touring other schools, etc. It was lower on her list. I think your family needs to decide how much do you want to go to BS as it is very different from the day school experience. Was it having family friends there? the school? the sport? etc.? How disappointed would child be if not get in? And do other schools check the boxes? I am a big believer in casting a wide net and then narrowing down as you learn more. What school are you considering as ppl here maybe able to offer similar school experiences to consider? Good luck

I concur. I get the reasons mentioned by the OP, but if they can take the time and spend the $ to visit comp-ish schools I would. Who knows?

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I understand this perspective, if we were really jazzed about BS as a concept. But we view BS, and him leaving home early, as something we would support as a unique and incredible athletic and academic opportunity for him but not something we are cheerleading—he is the one driving the interest in this school. There are maybe 2 or 3 other schools that would offer the same approximate opportunities but he has not expressed an interest in those. We would fully support him if it were his decision and be there at every visiting day with bells on etc, but selfishly would miss him terribly and never envisioned this for our family. I know others feel differently so no judgment here!

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As it should be


I think you’ll find that, in fact, most of the parents on here never envisioned sending a student to boarding school. You are reading replies and posts from people that have now experienced the transformation of their children through a great experience. They were likely just as surprised when their kids brought it up. I know we were of the mind that we would support our kid through the process, but we kept telling her at every turn, “You know, you don’t have to do this” and “If you change your mind at any point, you can stay here - even if we’ve already paid for the year.”

She is super excited to start at her chosen school next week! And, we have come around to the idea. We are hopeful she will have the same transformative experience others have mentioned.

Good luck!


Children should not go if they are not championing the process as it takes a certain kind of kid to thrive in this environment. As a parent I personally would not want my child make a decision on one bit of information which is why exposing them to more helps these ‘children’ understand the possibility and opportunity. It may still be that is the only school your child is interested in or it may be that they discover more about themselves in the process and understand really what they need and want from this stage. While many of the BS discussed here have similarities and great sports and education, each has its own heart beat. I hope your child finds the right one regardless if it is a day school, this BS or an another. You sound like supportive parents. If I can be so bold - push to educate yourselves and your child beyond your friends and this one experience. We changed our thinking throughout the process.


I think I will be in a similar position next year. My daughter is in 7th grade and she is expressing interest in BS, and I think it would be a great experience for her and she would probably thrive. My only hesitation is that I would really miss her, and I love watching her grow!

So we live in Seattle but I am from the east coast. There are 3 boarding schools very close to where my family lives. What drove this interest was discovering a unique program at one of those schools, but after looking into it further we realize that it wouldn’t be better than our local options. At least academically and in other ways - the unique program is still a draw, but I think not enough of a reason to choose that school.

One of the other schools is a top school that would be a big reach, partly because we would need financial aid to make it possible. So we might only apply there, because it’s the only school that would be worth sending our daughter away for. My mom has friends who taught at the school and one with a daughter who is an admin there- it may not help at all, but you never know. She plays golf with one of those friends at the school… so she is very excited about this possibility.

I don’t have a great sense of the other school - it might be amazing. I know they have a good rowing team, which is something my daughter is interested in. My husband and I are rowers, and my daughter has done a little rowing but that doesn’t really start until 8th grade.

Anyway when we visit my family next summer we will visit all 3, but I can imagine only bothering with the one reach school. We have some great independent schools in Seattle, and even the local public school is a good option - my older daughter goes there, and it has a strong IB program. There are pros and cons to everything.

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