Are there any downsides or benefits of reclassing?

Hello everyone,

I’m currently planning on reclassing as a 9th grader in the upcoming admission cycle, and I’ve been wondering the potential advantages and disadvantages of taking this step, aside from the obvious benefit of having an extra year for extracurricular activities and personal development. Some of my friends in boarding schools have told me that there are no downsides to reclassing, but I’d like to know a bit more to make an informed decision. Are there any potential downsides to reclassing that I should be aware of? Your insights would be greatly appreciated.



As a mom of a son who reclassed and a second who is considering it, there really aren’t any downsides. The closest to a downside I can say is that if you’re already older in your grade and you’re going to end up being a 19-yo senior, you might chafe against some of the social limitations of boarding school, compared to others who will already be in college at that age. Whether you care or not, is up to you.


I appreciate the information. Thank you for your response!

Here’s a downside that might not occur to you but may be very noticeable to whoever pays the bills in your house:

  • an additional year of prep school tuition!!

I agree potentially age, if you are older, IF that bothers you: when you start college if you are already old for your grade then re-class, you will be 20 at the start of college or somewhere in first semester. Most kids are 18 and turn 19 during the year. And, many kids are 17 at the start and turn 18, due to different cutoffs around the country. Both of my Ds have/had multiple freshman hall buddies celebrating 18th birthdays in the first 2 months. Will it bother you to be 2 years older than some and 1.5 older than most?

I’m not in a prep school currently and I’m in a public high right now so if I do get into prep this year my parents would only be paying for 4 years like usual. Thank you for your input!

I don’t really care about the age gap that much. Currently in my public high theres kids in my class who are already older than me by 1-2 years so I don’t really care that much. Thank you for your input!

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If you play a sport you might only be eligible for 4 years of varsity depending on the state and conference. So say you’re good enough to play your sport at the varsity level as a freshman and then reclass, you might miss out on playing in your senior year.

I plan on doing varsity swimming in my public high, but in the prep schools I can not since in a lot of the schools I’m applying to, the swimming schedule and music schedule conflict and I would prefer to do music over swimming. Thanks for your response!


The first question is why do you want to reclass? Many students go to school and do well without having to repeat a grade. If it is an academic, maturity or growth reason worth considering. While you would not have to repeat all classes ( math and language would be placement ). You might have to repeat some subjects you already took which might be boring or not fill a quench for learning. Your peers may seem less mature. There are the financial implications.

My child is on the very young side, but reclassifying would not have been right for her. I think you have to consider the why?


My reason to reclass is to get the full prep school experience. I feel like if I join in the middle of high school in 10th, I would feel like a outsider since most of the other students were already together in 9th. I don’t really care if I redo the classes I already took. I feel like the boarding school classes would go more in depth or would be more fun than my public school. I don’t really care about the peers being less mature since I younger kids in my grade and I have my siblings so I’m already dealt with immaturity.

The main reason I thought about reclassing is because my friends in boarding school have mostly all reclassed and they see nothing bad about reclassing. They say its fun and fine to reclass. Another reason I even first thought of reclassing was be of the Exeter Associate Head Of Admissions. She told me that if I do plan on reapplying this year, maybe I should consider reclassing. She says its a good experience and thats theres nothing really different than going from 9th to 9th than 9th to 10th.

Neither of my twin daughters reclassed. One was accepted her freshman year, the second was accepted her sophomore year. They just started their junior year. The truth is that it hasn’t made any difference in getting the full prep school experience. I can’t speak to the admissions benefit of doing so.

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That depends on the prep school.

There are some schools that intentionally have a nontrivial percentage of openings for 10th grade.


I think these schools tend to be pretty good at integrating new tenth graders - it happens all the time because several junior boarding schools go through ninth grade.

But if cost is not an issue and you would rather go to high school for five years than four, you should absolutely do that. Outside of the more extreme cases (I remember folks posting here about a Kennedy kid at Deerfield who was an 18-year old junior), there is no stigma attached to being older. And you trade one year of adulthood for one year of still being in school and having no responsibilities - sounds like a good trade to me!

I’m not quite sure yet. I really want to go to bs but I’m not sure if I’ll fit in if I do apply to 10th.

I’ve heard some schools are great at integrating new 10th but from some schools I’ve heard its hard to fit in going into 10th. So I’m not quite sure about anything yet. I’ll look into applying to 10th and reclassing.

I know lville adds a bunch of new 10 th greaders. I would suggest reaching out to the schools and finding out how many spots they offer in 10th grade as that will be very telling. Additionally, when you tour ask to speak to some new 10th graders. Re-classing is not a big deal and pretty common. I think you need to craft your story as to why and do some reflection. Good luck no matter which grade you decide.

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Thank you for your response! I’ll make sure to check and see.

I don’t believe you would be repeating academic work at any boarding school. If you’ve already taken say Biology, you could take Chem or Physics. Same for history - there are plenty of electives if you e already taken the standard 9th grade history class. Some schools even offer alternative English classes for reclassifying students - I believe it has to do with maintaining NCAA eligibility for student athletes. So that isn’t a real concern IMO.

10th grade used to be a bigger entry point, but it’s still a significant one. However, schools may recommend reclassifying if they think that your academic preparation is better suited for an entering 9th grader.

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This suggests that at Exeter, it would be a good idea. This is generally what this comment means, and youare smart to considerit. . You should socialize this idea at your interviews and guage the feedback.

At certain schools, there are so many kids who either reclassed or who had summer birthdays and started kindergarten late (or both) that if you are what you think of as “regular” age, you’ll actually be a year younger. And remember too that most BS look for kids who can be independent, which suggests a level of maturity in and of itself. There are other schools where this matters less.

Most schools do a great job of integrating new students, so concerns about entering in 10th should not play into this. Fitting in with classmates should though!

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