Chance Me (4 BS's)

Hey yall! I am a female 8th grader applying to boarding school for the upcoming admissions cycle. I would appreciate yalls feedback / if you could chance me! :))

My school does not post grades of A+, so our grading scale is based on multiples of 5. (90-94.99 is an A-, 95-100 is an A). I have all A’s and A-'s from 6th-8th grade.

Competitive Dance - 2 years, on three teams. (One of the teams is known to perform for events, and might open for an incredibly famous dance company this year! Will definitely perform at halftime shows)

ESL Mentoring - I teach English to refugees on the weekends, as well as help them with homework, projects, and studying for tests.

Competitive Chess - Played competitively for 8 years, mentored elementary school girls by
teaching them tactics, openings, ect.

Peer Mentoring - Worked with younger students in my school on projects and homework.

Financial Literacy - Managed a large financial portfolio (highly selective application)

Speech and Debate - 4 years, School is one of the top schools in state.

Community Service - Worked with 4 different organizations over the course of 5 years.

Essays - Recs - Interviews
I am not extremely worried about my interviews because I have been preparing for then for a while. For my recs, I have a very strong relationship with my teachers, so I am not nervous. Same with essays - I am not worried :))

I haven’t taken the test yet, but my practice tests are predicting 90th percentiles. I have two months left to study, so once again, not worried as I plan on working very hard.

My school does not offer ANY academic achievements! So no honor roll, top ___ awards, or anything under that general umbrella :))

The schools I am applying to (in alphabetical order) are Andover, Exeter, Choate, and Lawrenceville. Thank you so much!

In which courses did you receive a grade of “B” ?

No B grades mentioned. According to original post, she has all As and A-s from 6-8.


I’d like to ask: what are your options if none of these pan out? Is your local public strong? Day schools? I ask because if your desire is to go to BS, please add schools to your list with meaningfully higher acceptance rates. All too many kids are left with no/not so great choices on M10 because they’ve cast too narrow (selective) a net. Don’t be one of those kids! Check out the Hidden Gems thread among others. Good luck!


As above said, I would expand your list if you really want to go to BS. This isn’t because I think you aren’t qualified (you sound like you are) it is just that these schools get tons of applicants and hard to know what they need year to year.

I know from personal (and friends) experiences that independent schools (both BS or day in competitive cities) can be hard to predict even if qualified.

One of my children didn’t get into what everyone considered their safety (WL), but did get into what we all thought was a strong reach. :person_shrugging:

Good luck!


Hey, fellow student here!
(And, also applying to the same 4 schools)

You are definitely a qualified applicant for all of the schools you’ve listed. With decent essays, interviews, LORs, and SSAT scores, (which I assume you’ll have, looking at the info above) you’ll most likely a strong applicant.

That being said, strong & qualified applicants are commonplace at these top schools. Probably, a large chunk of the applicant pool will have similar applications to you - some worse, some better. Assuming that you’re an average applicant, multiplying the rejection rates for each of the 4 schools (0.91x0.9x0.89x0.85) leaves you with a 62% chance of not getting into any of the schools you’ve listed above. Assuming my math is correct, that’s dangerously high.

(The calculation isn’t perfect by any means and fails to take into account other factors that may improve/decrease your chances, like fit, FA, but I think it’s a decent generalization).

I recommend that you look into more schools to apply to, in case you don’t get into those schools. For example, I’m applying to 10 - Andover, Exeter, Choate, Deerfield, Lawrenceville, Hotchkiss, Loomis Chaffee, Taft, Kent, and the Hill School.

Your math is correct but your thought process is incorrect. What your approach misses is that these are independent outcomes. Otherwise you could keep applying to additional highly rejective schools, multiply by e.g. .9 each time, until the “chance of not getting into any of the schools” drops from 62% to 1% or whatever. That’s not how it works.

Not quite. One needs to apply to schools with meaningfully higher acceptance rates in order to have better chances. Ten lottery tickets have functionally the same odds as one lottery ticket.


Well, thanks for the feedback regarding my answer.

While I agree that if one really wants to go to boarding school it would be definitely wise to apply to hidden gem/safety schools, I’m still confused as to the first section of your response.

Whilst applying to an absurdly large number of highly selective schools won’t guarantee admission, isn’t it also true that if you are a qualified candidate the more schools you apply to, the chances of you finding a school that will like you/accept you also increases?

I have a hard time believing that applying to Andover, Exeter, Choate, Deerfield, and Groton (for example), despite having similar acceptance rates, will, compared to just applying to one, have the same chance of getting into one of them. If each school is looking for a specific factor(s) in admission, wouldn’t it hold true that applying to a greater number of schools will improve your chance of finding a school looking for a factor that you have?

And again, thanks for the feedback given

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I might remind everyone that schools with higher admit rates might seem like a safety/likely admission but the applicant might not be a good fit, as recognized by the school’s admissions team. Consider how any of these boarding schools, regardless of admit rates, might be a good fit including what the school can do for you and what you can contribute to the school.


In the abstract it may be psychologically helpful to think of things that way, but in reality it doesn’t work that way. Again, just do the math. If what you’re saying were true then you could effectively guarantee yourself admission to “at least one” of the schools simply by applying to enough of them. It’s really not the case. Check the various Results threads from each M10 and see how many kids have nothing but WL and Rejections from 5, 8, 10 schools, all highly rejective.

And that says nothing about what @westernNY1 rightly mentions.

ETA: and to speak directly to the idea of “a qualified candidate” - most AOs at these schools would tell you that they could admit an entire class 2 or 3 times over from a given year’s applicant pool with no fall off at all in academics, arts, athletics, etc. It would simply be a “different” class. Grades, scores, ECs, etc. are table stakes these days.

This thread may be helpful:

Another edit to add: I am not trying to be discouraging! In fact to the contrary - I’m trying to encourage applicants to do what they can to increase their chances of acceptance in a meaningful way :slight_smile:

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Hey! I have really good schools in my area (both private and public) so I’m not worried about these not panning out. While it would be a bummer, I already have a Plan B :))


Overall, I’m applying to ten schools. Six of them just happen to be day schools :))

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Glad to hear it! A strong Plan B is super important, so that’s great.

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I think that’s the point @Floorboard is trying to make - assuming the candidate is qualified, the intangible uniqueness of what particular AOs are valuing at a particular school to build their particular “different class” as opposed to another school in building their “different class” means that statistically, if you aggregate the function enough, you will be likely to suit the intangible wants of one school, and are probably guaranteed to get into at least one school.

If the schools weren’t so varied in terms of how many of whatever different types of qualified students they want to build their unique class, then one’s chances would be closer to a binary distribution between acceptable students and non-acceptable students, and odds of acceptance would only go up marginally based on sheer random chance no matter how many schools one applies to.

So the point is, if you can establish that a candidate is qualified with reasonable depth, in the current state of things, adding more highly competitive schools with similar rates will definitely increase your chances of being accepted into one (though not anywhere close to a definable function, so don’t even try that @Floorboard).

I’m not doing a good job explaining, but I think it’s a pretty easy to understand concept.

(also I don’t think there are enough ultra-competitive boarding schools to rely on individual uniqueness (w/ school AOs) of desired qualities giving you better chances, so in a practical sense everything I said is useless)

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As I wrote. The results threads every year on M10 makes this clear. 99th%ile kids, 4.0, great ECs, etc. No BS acceptances, every year.

But if it makes the process feel more palatable, or gives one a sense of control or whatever, then have at it.

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My daughter, her first year applying, was a great well-rounded applicant and was waitlisted at 4 GLADCHEMMS schools- all of whom swore she was a great fit etc. etc., rejected by one, and waitlisted by her backup plan. Please understand that on March 10th, after the dust and dread settled, we realized that she was NOT THE ONLY ONE. This happens every year- again and again to lots of amazing qualified applicants who are just as good as the chosen ones. Take the advice, widen your search, check out the hidden gems. Just in case. Also, in making the case for really looking around, my daughter’s “dream school” in her mind didn’t feel right once she got on campus. When we started touring, it was a school not on our original list that became an easy #1 and she never looked back.


Thank you for your response :)) I have plenty of backups in my area, so all of my bases are covered!


You talk about the entropy of the process but fail to acknowledge the aggregate effects of entropy in regards to probability. Read my comment again.

No need. What I said holds true. What you are essentially advocating/describing is shotgunning. Throw (enough) stuff at the wall in the hopes that something sticks. Hope that somewhere out there at some BS there’s a “match” for you.

Not only is it a poor strategy, it’s a demonstrably worse strategy than is doing a deep dive to understand and appreciate the many differences among these schools (similar though they may seem at a glance), taking the time to do the honest self-reflection to figure out “who you are,” then seeing where the overlap is, and working through applications to make sure you demonstrate this amply. And not only to the schools with 10% acceptance rates.

You’re far better off applying well and thus successfully to 3 or 4 schools than you are to 10 or 20. You see this all the time with the lists kids come up with. Schools that are almost nothing alike aside from the fact that they’re part of the same acronym, and are boarding schools.

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No. @DroidsLookingFor is NOT talking about the entropy of the process.

The % of applicants accepted in any year is not a predictor of in individual applicant’s probability of being accepted. None of the schools discussed here admit by lottery; the AOs are not determining incoming classes by drawing names out of a hat.