Can I get into Choate Rosemary Hall?

Hi! I am a freshman living in New Jersey that is looking to apply for boarding schools next year. I am applying for Exeter, Andover, Choate, Lawrenceville, and Hotchkiss school. Currently, I attend a private school and have been since third grade and my school focuses a lot on academics. I play the violin very well, as I got 1st in the state for middle school last year and have been playing for a while. I do play volleyball, but I only play at school so this year I was on JV. However, I do a lot of community service outside of school. During the summer I went to japan to perform with my orchestra and performed at many different schools and halls for community service. The year before, I hiked and did service on the trails and went to food banks at a camp for 2 weeks. And currently, I have been teaching underprivileged children violin since the beginning of September.

I have only recently gotten my parents on board with me going to boarding school because they are over protective and I am the middle child of two other sisters. Because of this, I don’t have much time to prepare for the SSAT/ISEE, but I think I have average grades.

Latin: A+
Algebra II: A
Biology: B/B+
English: A/A-
History: A

I do not have any connections that like legacy or know any graduates that could write a recommendation letter for me. My parents are wealthy enough to afford to send me to any of these schools (thankfully). It is only a matter of me getting in, but I do not have as much preparation as other students who had the whole year while I only have two months.

I would really appreciate if someone could tell me the chances of me getting into any of these schools, but Choate Rosemary Hall is my top. Also, I know that Exeter and Andover (and many others) are super difficult to get into, but if I am applying to multiple schools, why not try? Thanks for reading all of this and helping me :slight_smile:

I have gotten over 50 reviews, and still no reply. I would really appreciate it if someone could help me.

Choate had a 16% acceptance rate this past year. That means that you have a narrow chance of acceptance even though you are a strong candidate. If boarding school is a must for you I suggest you add in a couple schools that have a larger acceptance rate.

Without an SSAT score it’s hard to tell. Middle school grades are almost pointless. 100’s of kids have all As/A+s so it’s hard to tell how strong a candidate you are from that.

Violin is a great asset. You or your parents need to figure out who is in charge of the orchestra or ensemble at each of the schools and get in touch with them. Hopefully you have recordings/videos of your performances to send for review.

Practice for interviews so that you can make a great impression there.

Spend time over Christmas break crafting excellent essays.

With strong SSAT scores and really good essays you will be a strong candidate.

what are you looking for in a school? why that particular list of schools? what are your criteria for choosing a school?

I am looking at these schools because of the strong academic program and the location. All of these schools have strong school spirit, which is one of the things I am looking for in a school and they also strongly believe in helping others. Since I am very privileged, I think it is important that I remember that and help others who are not as privileged as me. These are all schools that offer lots of opportunity, which is not offered at the school I attend. I think that by going to one of these boarding schools I can find who I am, which is the question I have been trying to find the answer to since the beginning of middle school. Even choosing my favorite subject was difficult because I just didn’t know what kind of person I was. Choate is my top choice because of the music program, the environment, and the values that they hold.

For all the reasons that Choate interests you, George School could be a great fit. It’s very intentional about helping students explore who they are and want to be and is very strong in service learning. CRH probably has stronger ensembles, but music instruction and opportunities abound. It’s probably close enough to home to check out.

You sound like an interesting applicant.
Because all the schools you are considering can be tough to get into simply due to numbers, if you are committed to going to BS, you should expand your list a bit.

All of the things you mentioned apply to about a dozen or more schools, too… Dig deeper? The schools you are applying to will want to know why you have chosen them and right now your answers sound a bit generic?

(I have a feeling you’d really like St Andrew’s School in DE and George School in PA. Have you visited either? They are both near Philly.)

Thank you for the recommendations! However I am an atheist and don’t think a religious school fits me. I know many people attend those schools even though they are not Christian, but most of my family is atheist and I think that might make it a little difficult for me to adjust to a religious school because we have different beliefs. I don’t know how religious the schools are, but I will take them into consideration!

Another reason why I chose the schools I mentioned above is because of the percentage of students boarding there. I like the sense of community boarding schools have, and I believe that a school with only half of the students boarding won’t have that feeling as much (although I might be wrong).

I would like to add that my parents have mixed feelings about me going away, so if they want to send me away they want the school to be the best of the best. If I don’t get in, they want me to stick to the school I am currently at. The reasoning for this is because although they know that boarding school will be good for me, they are hesitant since I will be alone and they can’t help me study, get me a tutor, or physically support me if I need it. My friend went to the Hills (which is already a wonderful school) and slacked off on her academics and my mom is afraid I might turn out like that. My parents understand that they have to let me go to try and figure things out on my own, but they think that the best time for me to do that is in college not in high school.

Deciding to apply to boarding school was the most important and independent decision I made especially since I proposed the idea to my parents, not the other way around and it took me a lot of courage to tell them my true thoughts. I really think the boarding experience, new environment, and a school that offers more opportunities will help me grow, as I have been searching for what kind of person I am for years and still haven’t found the answer. It has gotten to a point where I am seeking for something that I can’t find at home and every time I hear the word change and my name in the same sentence I might tear up (literally the tears just fall down my face. I can guarantee I am mentally stable though, as I am super close with my family). But if I don’t go to a school that my parents can compromise on, I will have to stay at my current school and try again next year (but the earlier the transfer the better). I genuinely love these schools, especially Choate, but I don’t think my parents can accept anything lower as a safety school. Basically, my parents are helping me apply to schools that I like, but I have no safety schools because my parents don’t like the ones that I do.

I don’t want to sound like a brat complaining about my parents or anything. I just only want advice from non biased people. I’m sorry that this was kind of personal and somewhat not necessary, but I hope this gives you an idea of why I am applying to these schools and what kind of school might suit me best.

you would need to get over 90 percentile of SSAT for these schools.

Many schools were founded in a religious tradition. Most use that tradition to guide their culture and provide a forum for inspiration. Many schools have “chapel talks”, where students share inspirational thoughts with their classmates. Quaker schools (most of which have fewer than 15% Quaker students) have Meeting for Worship (which is such a nice practice that non-Quaker schools do it as nd call it mindfulness!)

You should expect to change. Not completely, but you are still growing, and you should be hoping for a place that will help you grow into the best version of yourself.

As for boarding/day mix… There are schools that are 100% boarding yet most kids leave for the weekend. There are schools where boarding and day students are pretty separate. I would definitely look at the number of boarders and ask how many stick around on weekends. George and St Andrew’s have roughly the same number of boarders. Both are known for their exceptionally warm, nurturing communities. Your parents probably need to learn a lot about BS if they think that the academics vary enormously between most of them. Of course, if you are already at as good school, then you already have good academics so are looking for BS for the environment. Just food for thought…

Lots of atheists at all boarding schools, including St Andrew’s (which is 100% boarding) and George (which is larger).

If your parents are worried you’ll slip through the cracks, look for tightly knit communities with a strong culture, formal sit down dinners that ensure everyone knows everyone else (and give students more interactions with adults) and a low student to dorm parent/team ratio. (St. Andrew’s, Tabor?)

Choate is an amazing school, but it feels like a small college for kids who are ready to be quite Independent. The same is true of most of the schools on your list. If your parents are worried you might be the type to slack off or slip through the cracks, it might not be the best choice.

Also: Do NOT think of these schools as “higher” or “lower” . The teachers are all of comparable quality and the college matriculation lists are pretty similar. The cultures, however, can be quite distinct.

I feel like I need to hug you. No matter what happens with school, you sound like a kind and thoughtful kid. Your parents have a lot to be proud of. I can understand why this boarding school idea is hard for them.

Atheist family here. My kid is staunchly atheist. He refused to even look at schools with “St.” in the name. He ended up at one with a chapel with a huge cross. Woops! I believe, and more importantly he believes, there is no better place for him on the planet right now than this school. It is in California, so that might be a little too much for your parents, but my point is that there are lots of schools out there that will give you what you are looking for, and whether there is a Christian tradition somewhere in its history has nothing to do with it. Even those whose names sound religious may not be at all, or do it in a way that is not offensive to those who don’t believe. You can’t tell anything by the name.

I can also assure you and your parents that there are plenty of schools beyond those few you mention who can give you the academic challenge you and your parents seek. It sounds like they need to better understand the options out there. If I were you I would go over to the other sections of this prep school board, find threads that discuss the culture of the various schools, and have them read them. They are eye opening and comforting from a parental standpoint.

There are schools that are more “sink or swim” - if you slack that is entirely on you - and there are schools that surround you with scaffolding so you can’t blow things off. the intervention is swift and early. What works for you is up to you. My impression of Choate that it doesn’t have as much scaffolding (is more college-y) than many. That isn’t a bad thing, and I am not saying it isn’t also warm and supportive place. But is it right for you? You decide.

Clearly you are a sensitive kid, so you need to discuss with your parents what environment will be best for you, and seek the school that matches. The academics will be there. Don’t let the name of the school drive your choices. There is so much more to it than that.

Re: slipping through the cracks

My kid goes to a smaller new england boarding school. Lot’s of one on one faculty interaction plus my kid is slightly over drive on that. His advisor asked the group in the first week “how often do you want to meet?” My son blurts out “twice a week?” and all the other kids are like “once a month?” Anyway, my son sits down with his advisor once a week, just the two of them, cause that’s how he is. LOL

At parents weekend I connected with some parents who had themselves gone to Andover. They were saying they were so glad their son went to this smaller school and had the chance to struggle with great faculty support while at Andover “you are kind of on your own.” Just their perspective.

Anyway, if that’s something your parents are worried about, maybe think about a slightly smaller or “warmer” school. There are some that are academically as much of a grind as Andover.

Oh, one other thing - if you go to a school within a couple hour radius (and there are lots to choose from!), your parents can visit all the time on weekends. Plus lots of kids ( not mine…sigh) call and/or text daily. You will be home a lot, too. Please tell them they will still be very connected to you. They may not need to hire tutors, but they still have an essential role to play in your life.

@sophmoreboarding , I think you sound like a terrific kid and I can understand why your parents are reluctant to let you go away.

I would challenge you to think about what it might be you feel you are missing now, what you might hope to find, and in what kind of place (and with what kind of people) you’d like to go searching for that elusive “it”. You seem mature and self-aware enough to understand yourself that way. Life will be a series of such quests. With the right mindset (and some skill!), they needn’t be a struggle but instead a source of enlightenment and growth.

Choosing a school presents a great opportunity for some introspection. Even if you stay home, the time you’ve given yourself to think about who you are, who you want to be, and what gives you joy will be a gift you’ve given yourself. Try to enjoy the process.

If Choate is your favorite and if that decision is driven in part by their music department, consider auditioning for the head of their music department. My kids did when they were going through the process. Hotchkiss will appreciate your music and has a comparably strong music program.

And, while it helps, you don’t need a 90%+ SSAT to get into any of these schools. You need a decent score and for them to feel like you are a good fit and that you can do the work. It improves your chances if you fulfill an institutional need. Your violin may help with that.

Based on your posted information, I wonder whether boarding school would be a wise option for you.

My impression is that you are a bit closed minded, that your parents are not in agreement that boarding school is right for you, & that academically you might be overwhelmed at Andover & Exeter as your grades are above average, but not great.

Lack of time to prepare for the SSAT is not an excuse. Because you lack any hook–especially athletically–you will need to score in the 90s on the SSAT in order to receive serious consideration for admission to Exeter or Andover. The others will need at least a score of 85 on the SSAT.

Don’t be shocked if you score in the 70s on the SSAT as do many straight “A” students.

I am in agreement with the above posters who recommended St. Andrews School in Delaware.

Since you are from New Jersey, I see the Lawrenceville School as a reach for you even if you earn a 90 on the SSAT due to your lack of athletic accomplishments or skills.

Nevertheless, until you have an actual SSAT score in hand, there isn’t much to talk about if your only focus is on these ultra-selective schools.

I am really thankful for your words of encouragement. I will probably be taking the ISEEs as I am strong in math and predict that getting a 95 percentile and above is possible for me. However for English, reading comprehension, analogies, vocabulary, and etc. I am not as strong and predict I might get around 80 percentile (hopefully higher). I am not sure, but these are all predictions based on my standardized testing scores at my school from last year (we take the ERBs).

For auditioning for the head of the music department at the schools I’m applying to, how should I get in contact with them? Should I ask the admissions office? Should I ask during the interview?

Try to arrange it before you go to interview so you don’t need to make an extra trip. I might send one email to both admissions and the head of the music department so they are both in the loop.