Boarding school questions!

Boarding school- questions

Hi! I’m a ninth-grader from South Korea and I am applying for tenth-grade spots!

I have some questions about applying to boarding schools.

My first choice school is George school(Pennsylvania) but I will still be applying to others schools including Loomis, Blair, and Milton.

I am so motivated to study in the US but I will need financial aid.
Therefore, I wanna ask if it is actually possible for me to get lots of aid as an international student.
I asked the financial office(George) whether or not my aid can exceed 50% of the tuition but they replied telling me that they are pretty firm about not exceeding 50% of the tuition when it comes up to international students unless it is a very ‘special case’.
So first, I would love to know what the special cases are.
Secondly, I have a B for art and C for PE, will this negatively affect my application?
Also, my school imposed a narrative evaluating system for seventh graders but I have my report cards for eighth and ninth grade. (+ only first semester of ninth grade has ended though)
Additionally, my math classes are ‘math’ instead of algebra, calculus, or etc.

Plus, all those schools have a test-optional policy thus, I’m not planning on taking either the SSAT or the ISEE.

When it comes up to ECs, I didn’t join any varsity or JV teams.
However, I am in my school’s math club I am currently the vice president of my class, joined a badminton club in seventh grade(not anymore), and have been volunteering since 8th grade.
Plus, I have experience studying abroad in China for about 5 years so, I passed the HSK5.

Are there any chances for me to get into the schools I am applying to with lots of aid? (a lot as in a lot)
Plus, can covid possibly lower my chances of being accepted?

My best guess is that without an impressive SSAT or ISEE score & without any special or notable talents or accomplishments is that you are not a strong candidate for admission. Of course, this is just a guess based on the scant information shared in your post above.

You need to inquire whether your target schools are “need aware” or “need blind” with respect to the admissions process. If “need aware” (as I suspect that all of your targeted schools are), your chances for admission may be reduced greatly due to need for a full scholarship.

Additionally, there are fewer openings for 10th grade applicants than for 9th grade applicants so your chances for admission may be affected by this fact.

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To the OP - interesting….I think you should be prepared to explain the reasons why you want to attend boarding school in the US. Is it just to study in the US? The reasons may be ones that open more educational opportunities for you, as well. Interesting that for someone so young you spent 5 years studying abroad in China. Are you from China, originally? Are your parents in foreign service? These might make interesting essay topics. Also, be prepared to explain why you want George school (as your first choice) in particular.

A few years ago, there was a young man from S Korea or Vietnam who posted on this board regarding his acceptance with aid to smaller, faith-based Catholic schools in Texas and MN. In reading his posts, it seems he was given good financial aid or merit scholarships. You may want to explore schools that are supported by the Catholic Church. I have heard they are generous to foreign students who are excellent students. One school that gives FA or merit scholarship is St John’s Prep in Minnesota. They partner with Ameriwal International.

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It sounds like that I might need to take the SSAT or ISEE. What percentile do you think I should get to be considered as ‘impressive’?

I am originally from Korea but my dad got to work in China so I got the opportunity to go and study with him.

If st. John’s prep is generous with FA to international students i should definitely check it out! thank you

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You may want to also check out single gender schools - they tend to have good FA/Merit and some specific scholarships…

I’ll try. Thank you!

Re: test scores, check niche, boarding school review, and school websites themselves to see what their mean percentile is. As far as being “impressive” via scores…that’s really tough as there are a lot of BS applicants whose scores put them well into the 90-99th percentiles. Regardless, I’d echo that you should take the SSAT if at all possible. Hopefully your scores are meaningfully above the mean at at least some of your target schools.

NB however that even that does not make you a lock for admission. If you really want to go to BS in the US and need a high amount of FA, cast a wide net, include schools with meaningfully high acceptance rates, and hope for the best.

I’d echo @Golfgr8’s comment that your experience studying in China could be a source of interesting essay ideas and a means of standing out. Good luck!

I’ll try to take the SSAT and aim for a good grade. Thanks for all the suggestions.

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