Chance Me (again) for the new application season!

Schools Applying To (In order of preference):

  • Concord Academy
  • Middlesex
  • Hotchkiss
  • Putney

Stats:
• SSAT/ISEE/TOEFL/PSAT: Last year I ended up with a 97%ile but I haven’t scheduled a date yet
• GPA Unweighted/Weighted: 4.0/4.5

• Sports (if any): My school doesn’t offer any high school sports and I was thinking about starting fencing but since COVID-19 struck, I haven’t been looking for any places yet.

• Instruments (if any): Recreational guitar

Other ECs (if any):

  • Executive Council Member (by appointment; PR Outreach)
  • Yearbook (by application)
  • Art Club (3 years; not sure if I’ll continue it this year)
  • Mid-level administrative position on an online NPO
  • Computer programming projects on the side

Plans:

  • Take part in a state competition my school is hosting, see how that goes
  • Start a JCL chapter at my school and take the NLE for Latin II

Location/Person:
• State or Country: NH, USA
• Current School Type: Public Charter
• Ethnicity: Asian American
• Gender: Female
• Grade Applying For: 10
• Age: 15
• Financial Aid/Full Pay: Financial Aid

I think my main problem last year (I got waitlisted and rejected everywhere) was that my essays were boring and my ECs were lacking. My ECs have gotten better and I’m working on my essays but it’s still a little iffy. To be honest, I do like my current school but I thought I would regret it if I didn’t try again, at least for Concord which was my favorite school last year.

@mondaydevil I’m so happy to see you this year! More later but just wanted to point out that a lot of schools are accepting last year’s scores. Since yours was so good it might be worth looking into using it.

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@Calliemomofgirls Thank you! I did a quick Google search and from what I can see, none of the schools on my list are accepting last year’s scores but thanks for the tip! (:

Hotchkiss seems to accept last year’s scores (or no score at all; test optional). Anyway, if you have to take it anyway for some schools, that’s of limited help.

Oh yeah, it seems that Concord Academy is test optional (and subsequently accepting previous scores) too!

Since posting this, I’ve gone off to do some more research and for now, I think I’ll apply to Masters and NMH too. I’m unsure if I’ll apply to Masters since they don’t have many computer science offerings but I love their essay prompts so I might at least write their essays just for the fun of it.

@mondaydevil Fun fact: I attended Masters for a year (about a hundred years ago when it was still all-girls).

@Calliemomofgirls Whoa! What did you think of it?

I loved it! I left for reasons that had nothing to do with the school. But it was a very different school back then, being all-girls. FWIW, there are many things that I read on their website that thoroughly impressed me, and made me feel like I would really love the leadership there. That said, it never made it past the “maybe” list for either of my daughters so I haven’t visited in almost 40 years.

I agree, the school does seem pretty impressive. The Ethical Leadership program reminds me of the Human Development courses at Hotchkiss which I really like the idea of. (Also I think attending school in New York would be super cool haha) It’s also on my maybe list right now, especially with only two computer science courses. It looks like a great school for engineering though.

You’ve done a lot as a freshman! I think with your strong SSAT, high GPA, and activities, you’ve got a good chance at these schools! Make sure to highlight the details of your computer programming projects when you put them in the activity section (i.e. rather than saying “Computer programming projects” say “Used Python to develop autonomous cat feeder etc.”) and when you have your interviews!

As long as you put a lot of time and care into your essays, I think you could go to any of these schools! Of course, it’s a crapshoot, but you’ve certainly got your foot in the door.

Concord is completely remote this year. Time will tell whether this will affect enrollment - in your favor.

Thanks @CavsFan2003! I’ll make sure to specify (:
@stalecookies Thanks for the info! Do you think some applicants are less willing to apply because of its remote situation?

I don’t know. However, someone in a parent group I’m in commented that their friends with children at CA were “very upset” that CA is completely remote this year.

The LPS, Concord-Carlisle HS, has a decent reputation, and has reopened on a hybrid plan. Middlesex has boarders on campus.

So I am extrapolating some might seek to transfer out of CA, questioning why they’re spending so much for a community that they’re not getting. Paying even just day student tuition for virtual learning might fail some parents’ cost/benefit analysis.

I do know that no matter what a prep school does, there will be factions that criticize, no matter how open and collaboratively the leadership has attempted to be in its planning. You can’t please everyone.

@stalecookies That’s really interesting. Personally, I think it’s the best option to learn remotely but I understand where they’re coming from, especially if the tuition has stayed the same.

Alright, looks like I’m adding Berkshire too haha. I’ll probably end up cutting some schools from my list as I do more research but there are so many cool schools out there that I can’t help it! If I get anything out of this process, I’d hope that I become more comfortable with writing about myself (:

Also, @one1ofeach you gave really good insight to my application last year, do you have any thoughts on how I might fare this spring?

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Ok, I went back and re-read all your old threads too. Honestly, none of us know why you didn’t get in last year. I am going to speculate in order to give you advice, but it really is just speculation and so if I seem totally off just ignore me. I think maybe you didn’t come across as interesting and passionate in your interviews and essays. You are the most ORM applying to BS (pretty sure) or at least I have heard AO’s say it is the most qualified applicant pool they get. Your stats are in line with ANY school. You don’t have a hook and that’s where the “you cannot be boring” part comes in. I love the way @CavsFan2003 reframed your computer programming EC. That needs to be how you look at everything in your application. From last year @Calliemomofgirls gave you great advice about making whatever you are writing your essay about pop. It isn’t the topic, it’s the way it’s written (my older daughter wrote about her younger brother crying for one essay - that’s not a killer topic but it was super sweet because she wrote it well).

What are the essay topics this year? Can one be written about one of your ECs and incorporate how much time and engery and passion you pour into it?

Also, you need to practice zoom interviewing. Do you have a family friend who could help with that?

Agree with @one1ofeach. @mondaydevil you were one of the kiddos whose results had me scratching my head. You were one of the kiddos who made my heart heavy because it just didn’t seem right that you didn’t have options come M10.

So in thinking about you for this year, I came to the same conclusion as @one1ofeach – it must have been something that we couldn’t see. And that means probably somewhere in: interview, essay, recommendations. You come across as truly lovely in your posts, so that tells me that something is not getting communicated well. (I say that because in full honesty – not every kid does come across as super likable through their posts, and I think many of us adults read along and think: “oh boy, this is not going to go well in an interview for this kid!” And you need to know: this is NOT you! You are very likable!)

How can we help? (I suppose I should say “how can I help” since I can really only speak for my own willingness – but I think you know – these folks here are incredibly generous with their time and knowledge.)

I am absolutely fine with you DM-ing your brainstorm, or outline, or even last year’s essays to me. However, know that I do have a kiddo applying this year. So there is the mom in me that says: don’t send your essays to a stranger on the internet whose kid is your competition! (I hope you have gotten to know me well enough to know that I do not see it that way at all.) (and she is a year younger).

Know this, @mondaydevil – you have a group of folks who will be cheering for you come M10 this year. However I can support you in making that a super happy day, I am IN.

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@one1ofeach @Calliemomofgirls Thank you for your comments! I definitely think that the main reason was my essays (I haven’t seen my recommendations but have good relationships with the teachers I asked and my interviews seemed to go well).

I think my essays last year were boring, lacked confidence, and didn’t represent who I was well. Since then, I have become more confident, but I’m still working on the boring and representing who I am parts. I’ve been doing some research, both on CC and the internet (mainly by looking up techniques for college essays since the process seems similar). I took @Calliemomofgirls 's advice and formulated a master document of who I am with points that I wanted to include for all of my schools. I also went ahead and did some brainstorming exercises from the internet with the intent of gathering anecdotes and other topic ideas. I’m having some difficulty making sure that all of the prompts are incorporated into the essays, so I might need some help with that later down the line.

I also made some friends with some really good writers who have been letting me use their college essays for reference and I’ve been taking note of what they do well to try and incorporate them into my own essays. Just things like figure of speech and imagery, structure of the essay, how they introduce and conclude their essays, etc. I think it might still be a little difficult to make sure my essays really pop, as one1ofeach said so if you could look over a couple of them (or even all of them?) to make sure they’re interesting and come across as likable, that would be so awesome.

Two questions: What do you think of my list of schools? I’m not sure if it’s well balanced enough to ensure an acceptance come March 10. Do you generally have any tips for sounding more interesting in essays?

Sounds like you are on the right track.
The only thing I would caution you on with regard to reading others’ essays – try to think very broadly about what worked for them. I might avoid getting too specific about figures of speech, etc. What is more important than “popping” is the essays telling the admissions team about who you truly are. Less about pop or flash and more about a true or tender connection. Authenticity more than dazzle. Does that make sense?

Also, I think I said this last year to you, but I’ll say it again: read what you wrote aloud before submitting anything. Ask yourself: Does ANYTHING, even one word, feel like it’s not 100% YOU? Also ask yourself: are you more in love with yourself (in a good, healthy, non-ego way) now that you have just read that essay than you were five minutes ago? ( you should be.)

Finally, you asked how to “sound more interesting.” I would say, if you don’t already think you are interesting, then you have some personal digging to do. In other words, don’t write anything you don’t deeply believe. (And, I believe you ARE interesting. You just need to dig for it.). Your brainstorming exercises with college essays will really help you find what is fascinating about you. Worry less about being a “good writer.” Make the writing reflect you. Your goal is not to impress them. Your goal is to make them really want to sit down to a cup of coffee and ask you more.

I think your entire comment was filled with great advice, but this one particularly stands out to me. This is so true!! I remember not wanting to look at my essays because I was pretty much embarrassed of them, but that’s definitely not the way to go.
I actually found a journal entry from February that I loved because it felt like such great representation of my brain at its happiest to the point that it makes me happy, and as you said, makes me love myself. I actually printed it out and put it on my wall and I think that maybe this might be a good comparison to essays since we should write essays that make us happy and proud of ourselves, to the point where we can put it on our walls!
Thanks for the great advice again! ((((:

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