Chance me for Andover, Exeter, Choate, Hotchkiss, Deerfield, and Groton! (With some questions as well)

Hey everyone! I know this is very early on in the process, and I haven’t even made up my mind about the schools I am applying to or have all my info, but this is just to get some more insight on where/if I should I apply!

Background Info: I am a white man who is going into 10th grade at a private day school. My school is considered by many to be the best in my state academically, but I haven’t really felt challenged at my 7 years going here. I had never thought about leaving until 8th grade when I had some very bad experiences and applied to Exeter. I started very late in the process (late November) and I got waitlisted. My application was very bad though, I had almost no EC’s, I applied test-optional because my SSAT score was not great (75th percentile I think), and my essays were pretty weak. I am now applying to these schools because ever since then my school hasn’t felt like a safe space as someone in the LGBTQ+ community and I am looking for stronger academics, sports, and a fresh start! I would be applying to Exeter as a day student and the rest of the schools (barring Andover) as a boarding student. I have a question about Andover later that would decide whether I would apply as a day student or boarding student. I also have a question later about which grade I should apply for.

Grades and Academics:
8th: I don’t really know my GPA right now because I don’t have my transcript but it was somewhere in the mid 90s
English: 93
Geometry: 95
Physics/Chem: 94
Ancient World History: 94
Mandarin: 96
String Orchestra: 97
GPA: 94.83

Next year I am going to be the only person skipping a level of language (Mandarin 2 to Mandarin 4) and I won a 9th grade departmental award for language! I will also be taking the most rigorous schedule possible for a 10th grader. The only grade in the 80s was in my 8th grade year when I got an 85 in art. Also, my school sends lots of kids to Exeter after middle school.

My EC’s are kind of weak but I am working on strengthening them!

Tennis: I play USTA tournaments, go to college recruitment camps, I have played on my school’s varsity team since 8th grade, last season for varsity I was the only regular starter who was not a senior on a team who got our best result in a long time, on varsity I am projected to be the #1 player this year, I have played u14s and u18s USTA Junior Team Tennis since I was 12, and other stuff. I am looking for a stronger tennis team and I will be reaching out to all the coaches!

Music: I have played the double bass in my school orchestra for 5 years! I have done recitals and work with a private teacher! The issue is that I’m definitely not good enough to play in one of these schools’ orchestra. I am working to improve though!

Social Justice?
I am a passionate activist about all social issues. I am a co-leader of the Diversity club at my school. I am also working with some other students to create an activism coalition within my school. I have attended NAIS SDLC, and SJLI at Governor’s Academy where there were students from a lot of these schools. I am planning to start a social justice based non-profit. I have applied for a spot on the USTA New England Youth Player Council (which involves tennis, diversity, and inclusion.) I have also reached out to local organizations to volunteer. The reason I put social justice as a question mark is because I don’t want the schools to think I am putting this on my application as something to brag about rather than something that I deeply value and want to continue at one of these schools.

I don’t know my math and English teachers for next year yet. I have a good relationship with my counselor. I also have a good special interest recommendation in mind! I have a unique situation though because my English teacher is teaching at Exeter this year and we had a great relationship! Do you think this would be a good personal recommendation?

What are some other EC’s that you think I could do?
I live about 50 minutes from Andover’s campus. I want to apply as a day student but my town isn’t on the list of towns that have a choice. Does this mean I have to apply as a boarder or can I still apply as a day student?
(At all schools) Is the acceptance rate for 11th graders really low? Should I apply as a repeat 10th grader?
What else can I do to get in?
And obviously, what are my chances?

Sorry if this was long. Thanks!

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Sorry, I forgot some info! I can pay tuition in full. Some extra activities that could maybe be classified as EC’s. Throughout middle school I played Soccer and Basketball. I currently play on JV Basketball at my school. I was on math team from 5th - 7th grade but stopped because of COVID. I am planning to start debate and Model UN next school year. Also, me and some other students are most likely going to be on my school’s diversity, equity and inclusion council for teachers as student representatives. I was accepted into sort of an academic pathway at my school that focuses on social justice, community service, and global studies. Finally, my GPA on the more average scales are 4.0 and straight A’s. Also, if you have any suggestions on schools to apply to, I would love to look into them. Thanks!

For your chances make sure to check this out:

And make sure to reach out to the tennis coaches with info about how your ranking or whatever slots into the team (or doesn’t).

But in answer to your question about PA, reach out to an AO to ask. The official policy is “no” you can’t be a day student from there, but they’re not immoveable on stuff like this IME.

That said I would very strongly recommend not spending 2 hours in a car every day to get to/from PA. It would have a meaningful negative impact on your ability to lean into the experience. Not to mention sleep.


I think you have a good chance. Your ECs should be things that you enjoy. If you want more, think about what interests you. But don’t them just to put it on the application. Now is a good time to start doing test prep to improve your ssat score. For your essays, choose the prompt that you find the most interesting and write about something you didn’t show as much in the rest of your application so they can get to know you more. Also, concerning PA I agree with @DroidsLookingFor, I don’t think it’s practical to commute 2 hours daily.


Thank you @DroidsLookingFor and @basedviolinist! Also, Andover Admissions replied to my email and they said that I’m not allowed to apply as a day student. king about it more you both are definitely right that the commute would be exhausting and almost impossible.


If you can, apply to repeat 10th. Since most kids from junior boarding schools apply for 10th grade, the schools you are looking at carve-out spots in admissions to grow that class by at least 50%, whereas your chances of entering as an 11th grader greatly diminish as spots become more space-dependent.

I was in the same spot as you a few years ago and the coach for my sport highly recommended that I applied to repeat 10th instead of going into 11th. Glad I did, since I remember there were only a handful of new 11th graders that fall.


Not just that, but it’s a lot harder to “establish yourself” at a school as a new junior—most people will already have set themselves up for (or even acquired) leadership positions, and it can be very difficult to “break in” as a new student.

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They do let in plenty of 10th graders, but not 50% more. Not at PA anyway.

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Your ec’s are fine as is. Thinking about adding some as a way to pad your resume is a folly. If you are a serious athlete + a musician that’s enough already. Then you have your social justice group on top of everything. Those are enough to fill your time if you are an A student.


I agree that you are a strong candidate. Sure, try to get the ssat up, but it is not the end of the world if you don’t. Kids get admitted to those schools with a score in the 75th percentile. The Head of Admissions at Hotchkiss once pointed out to me that there wasn’t actually a big difference in the score between someone in the 75th percentile and the 85th percentile.

This is advice I would give every applicant: just make sure you apply to some less rejective schools as well, as all Admissions (prep and college) can be unpredictable.


I didn’t go to PA, but where I went (one of the schools listed above) the freshman class would be around 100, then the sophomore class would grow to about 150-160 by admitting 50-60 new 10th graders. So around a 50% increase in that class size.


I would say you have an excellent chance at Exeter since you made their waitlist once before. All you need to do is fine tune your application.

Otherwise, if you’re from MA then Andover, Deerfield and Groton might be a little harder than the rest since you don’t bring much geographical diversity to their table (s).

Choate could help boost your interest in arts/music given their substantial investment in music/theater/performance infrastructure. The school offers outstanding arts facilities possibly the best in New England. Plus Choate is a huge proponent of social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion.

Hotchkiss might welcome your application since you would add geographical diversity to their campus. Hotchkiss -similar to other CT boarding schools -seems to attract a disproportionate amount of students from NY/NJ and Fairfield County.

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Thank you for this response! I’m not from Mass though, I’m from Maine!