Chance Me For Top Boarding Schools!

So I’m an Asian male who currently is a sophomore at a top 5 school in New Jersey. I wanted to go to boarding school in freshman year, however I got very bad grades in eigth grade and got denied/waitlisted everywhere. I’ll be applying again ths=is year as a repeat sophomore.

8th Grade Grades
Really bad. I had mostly B’s to A-'s, had a couple B-'s, and two C’s. So this is my biggest weak point for sure.

9th Grade Grades
Last year I moved to a top day school in NJ, and I did really well. I currently don’t have any grades less than a 93 (A), so essentially I have a perfect gpa as of now. My school doesn’t offer many advanced classes freshmen year, so I took Advanced English, French II, but skipped Advanced Biology (will this hurt me?).

10th Grade Grades
This year I take AP English Language, Algebra II/Trig, Advanced Chemistry, AP World History, French III, and a second level coding class (required). I have all A’s this year at minimum and have really good relations with my teachers, so I expect at bare minimum slightly above average recommendations.

JV Cross Country (mainly for fun/excercise)
JV Tennis (have won a couple of tournaments and sent a “recruitment” video with my application, however I definetly don’t think I’m good enough to go on sports alone)
Debate/Forensics Club - This is my strong suit and I’ve gotten high rankings and won many competitions at places like Yale and Duke along with qualifying for many national tournaments this year. Will be sending my rank as well.
American Politics Club - I started the Young Republicans Club as a “sub-club” of the broader American Politics Club in my school and we schedule regular debates and events with Dems on campus.
Investing/Business & Economics Club - I along with other students help manage the school’s endowment, research what to invest in, and simply learn more about investing/economics through monthly speakers.
Research - I’ve published two research articles (“peer reviewed” by the AP MacroEcon teacher) on economics regarding the effect of minimum wage on the poor, and the effect of tax emept securities on the economy.
Podcast - I’m starting a professional podcast (we have the equipment and everything) extremely soon with my best friend that we’ve planned since last year (COVID problems) on weekly political new and stuff like that.
Volunteer for Rik Mehta (NJ Republican Nominee Senate Candidate against Cory Booker) Star Scout in Boy Scouts
1st Dan Black Belt in TaeKwonDo
Clarinet - I’ve played since forth grade and play for my school’s band and selective wind ensemble, I’ve sent them of a recording of some scales, intro to Rhapsody in Blue (classic), and a little bit of Brahms

Other Stuff
SSAT - I got a 97 on my third attempt
Financial Aid - None/Full pay
Essays - I feel like most of them are very good and I’ve worked/edited on them in my schools writing center with a teacher. They go over all the range of my interests and hobbies. My main essay is essentially how I felt I needed to work harder to get the grades I wanted (A’s), and how I was able to go from getting bang-average grades to straight A’s. The actual essay is a lot mroe interesting, that’s jsut a quick synonopsis (I felt this needed to be addressed).
Awards - Mainly just some school and debate awards (nothing major yet since usually only extremely good juniros and mostly seniors represent the school at big national competitions)
What i’m interested in - I really like politics and economics if you couldn’t tell already :smiley:

Why I’m Applying
I’m applying mainly because of more academic freedom. My school’s course selection is really bad/basic, and is really stiff in wht classes you can take here and there. My biggest problem is that my school only offers one course in economics and politics, while most boarding schools have 6+. I don’t really like the idea of only taking two courses in my high school expirience that I’m “realy passionate about”.

Where I’m Applying
I currently go to an extremely good school which is somewhat of an Ivy feeder in it’s own right. So if I’m going to spend and extra year in high school, and an extra $100,000; it’d better be at a school that’s way better than now, so I do lack “safety” schools and even “match” schools, because I simply don’t see the point of going. So here’s the list: Exeter, Andover, Choate, Lawrenceville, Hotchkiss, Nobles, Deerfield, Groton, Loomis Chaffee, Milton, St. Paul’s, Taft. Another thing to note is that my family will probably be moving to Texas next year, so I am casting a wide net since I’ll probably have to leave my current school anyway.
P.S. Sorry for such a long post.

Just a clarification, when I said I wanted to go to boarding school freshmen year, I meant that I applied in 8th to go into freshmen.

A real issue is “fit”. A lot of the schools that you are applying to, in spite of their historically staid reputations, are now more liberal/inclusive.

I do understand, but I’m actually quite willing to go to a school where my views aren’t exactly the most represented. I was thinking that if I got in I could start an activism group or something like that. To be honesst, I don’t feel like I wouldn’t “fit” in to a school jsut because my beliefs may slightly be at odds. If anything, I feel like I’d be able to add needed political diversty.

I’m a 8th grader applying to 9th grader, so of course, I can’t exactly chance you. However, I will say, your passion can clearly show through your extracurriculars, with is amazing! When it comes to boarding school admissions (or admissions for any kind of academic institution), boarding schools are trying to predict who might turn out to be really successful and give back.

Students with a clear passion (and have already started pursing that passion) is exactly what they are looking for. So congrats on that part.

I would work on continuing to develop your passion throughout all your application material, shaping different parts of your application to contribute to the main narrative. For an example, if I want to be a journalist, then my essays should focus on different skills that show I would make a good journalist. Your recommendations can zoom in on different parts of your personality that can further this narrative. A good way to go about this is to maybe take a piece of paper, write your passions in the middle, circle it, and create a mindmap of different qualities you need to be successful in that passion.

One last piece of advice- apply to schools that you will genuine be happy at, because let me tell you, they can tell if you would be a good fit. That means not just huge schools. There are so so many amazing schools that have amazing programs that fit your needs, and still send quite a few kids to Ivies every year. Like, have you checked out Kent’s pre-business program…? I think you would love it!

Also Episcopal is literally right outside the US capitol, and has a really cool externship program! I’m an entrepreneur, and at my local high school, there aren’t really any good entrepreneurship classes. I was kinda in the same boat as you, thinking that “What would be the point of spending 200,000 dollars to go to a school that is barely better than my old school?”. Like, I was thinking about prestige. But trust me, you are far better off with a school that understands you and has specialized programs for you. I know I’ll be considering the school schools I mentioned above.

Credit to @Calliemomofgirls for being the one to give me the above advice in the first place!

Thanks for all the advice guys! But I’m still wondering if I have a good chance of getting into where I’m applying, although maybe I will look for 1 or 2 other options. Chance me anyone?

I’m just a boarding school parent, but it seems to me you have as good a chance as anyone, and probably better than most, of being admitted. You are a strong candidate! Does that mean you will definitely get in? Of course not.

If your family may move to Texas, in that case you wouldn’t stay at your great NJ school, right? If that is the case then wouldn’t it make sense to apply to some safety schools so that you would have a boarding school option in the event of a TX move?

The best anyone can do is a ‘maybe’. I don’t know if I heard it on here or somewhere else, but I remember someone saying that chancing for boarding school is a lot like dating, and I’ve taken it to heart.

If there is a guy/girl you really like, and if you ask a friend, “What are my chances of them falling in love with me”, the friend can only predict so much. You and look and say, “Well, you both are interested in horses, and you both want to live in Hawaii someday”, but you can’t predict whether they will fall in love or not.

But to answer your question- yes, you certainly have a chance, and you are a strong applicant. Following the advice others have told you will increase your chances! Good luck!

Maybe you will get in. Maybe you will not. Your chances are as good as any qualified applicant.

Thanks for the support! I am currently looking at places a bit easier to get into than M10, so probably Mercersburg and Blair.

You have as good a chance as anyone. Your EC’s are focused and related. That’s a plus.
Coming from NJ is a bit tough ( more candidates) than some other states. Also, you are ORM. Full Pay is helpful.
BTW< Nobles has only a tiny boarding population. It’s known for its sports and also has lots of legacies with Ivy league degrees so if you looked at it as a “feeder” you would have to dig much deeper.

I do hae one question on admissions to the 10th grade. I have heard very confliciting views on the subject. I have heard that it is easier to ge into schools sophomore year, however I’ve heard others say you need to “pray for a miracle”. On the other hand schools like Nobles accept 10 students max 10th grade, while Choate gets around 50 per year. So who is right? Would I be wrong in thinking the admissions rate is about the same given what peope say for most schools?

While it may vary by school, admission rates to 10th grade are similar to 9th grade. There are fewer 10th grade spots. But there are also fewer 10th grade applicants. Junior boarding schools run through 9th grade, so many 10th grade admittances come from there.

11th grade admittance is pray for a miracle

I want to second @cinnamon1212 's advice – if your family is moving to TX, your day school in NJ isn’t a fallback.

You look like an interesting applicant. With that said, it’s a real roll of the dice as to whether schools will see you as a fit AND need someone like you in their community. Make sure that in casting a wider net that you are picking schools where you can genuinely say you’d like to go. You might like Hill, btw.

As for entering in 10th, quite a few schools have a number of spots for 10th. Particularly for entrance after 9th, it helps to be FP.

Personally, I think odds are good that you’ll have a couple of options on M10.

Agree with what has been said! And @mssweeteaa, I love how often we are on the same page! Regarding the dating analogy, you might be referring to my “motherly” letter, which I link here because I think now is excellent timing as we head into the application season!


Regarding Nobles, what so you mean about the school? Are you suggesting that kids from Nobles mainly only get into top colleges because of legacy status/being a recruited athlete?


It’s good that you are aware of that.

What none of us here can assess is how you come across in your application and, more importantly, interviews. And I believe that it is worth a little self analysis here, especially for schools that have previously waitlisted/rejected you. For those schools, focus on your growth - not just as a student with better grades, but as a person.

If you come across as a interesting person who happens to be conservative, you might have a fair chance.

If you come across as irritating (at best), your chances decrease.

I can’t put my finger on it, but there are hints of red flags in your posts.

You need to cast a wider net. Like, include some schools where you wouldn’t need to create an activism group to accept you - either because such a group already exists, or because you “fit” better.

@Boona716 -
I like that you are willing to go into a place where your ideas might not be matched. While you mention how you can add diversity of thought to a community, be prepared also to have your thoughts challenged back. In other words, if you are imagining the information flow going from you outward, you are missing where most the flow will happen – from your community to you. I say that just to point out that it’s not like you are sitting down for coffee with one friend who disagrees with you and you will engage is some intellectual banter with equal footing. And I don’t mean this as a negative thing, but you do strike me as being pretty convinced of your own thoughts. Again, not a bad thing necessarily – but it’s worth pointing out and suggesting you consider this as you are imagining your future at Exeter or wherever.

A few thoughts in no particular order:

If there is any part of you that is thinking that you will be improving your chances of an Ivy by going to a top BS, I would suggest that you remove this from the equation. Especially if you feel like you are already in an “ivy feeder” school. (Your potential move to Texas aside.). Your 100k isn’t paying for a better shot at college, at all. So if that is what you are hoping to get, save your money, in my opinion. (And as someone mentioned above, be careful about assuming that a matriculation list isn’t dazzling because of legacies, recruits, etc… Just because a schools sends 20% of their kids to an ivy does NOT translate into an unhooked candidate having a 20% shot at getting into one.)

I don’t know if you just used the wrong words, but to be clear, you did NOT cast a wide net. You have a handful of schools that are very similar in their acceptance rates. If you decide you really want to to go BS, then you might consider truly casting a wide net.

Make sure you don’t just see electives in a catalog and get excited about taking every last one of them. I really doubt there is any school curriculum that will allow you to take 6 political electives. So you may not need more than 1 or 2 good ones. 6 may not be “better.”

Just a logistical question: how have you taken the SSAT 3 times already since they just opened up last month? I’ve been wondering how the SSAT at home vs. prometric testing was working and if there was a new test each month, or do they just have a bunch of SSATs lined up in the queue? Anyway, this is just a point of curiosity. Can you really take one test every week, essentially?

hope this helps!