Chances for Elite Boarding Schools Please? (UPDATE)

I already submitted my applications so this is another update lol.

WARNING: This is pretty long…(this is probably even longer now)

Schools I’m Applying To:
Phillips Academy Andover (Endeavor)
Phillips Exeter Academy (Eggster)
St. Paul’s School (St. Pole’s School)
Choate Rosemary Hall (Coat Rosemary Hall)

(I have a back up public high school in my area so that’s good for me.)

Basic Info:
Location - Massachusetts
Current School Type - Public
Ethnicity - Asian American (Chinese)
Gender - Female
Grade - 8th grade applying for 9th grade
Financial Aid/Full pay - Full pay

SSAT Percentiles:
Math - 800 scaled score, 99th percentile
Reading - 713 scaled score, 86th percentile
Verbal - 800 scaled score, 99th percentile
Total Score - 2313 scaled score, 98th percentile

School grades me on a 1 - 4 scale (it doesn’t do GPA’s).

Just so you know, my school has a weird grading system where we get several grades for each subject for each standard.

1 = Needs Improvement
2 = Developing
3 = Proficient
4 = Exceeding
There are also .5’s: 1.5, 2.5, 3.5

Here are my averages:
Math: A+ (a 4)
ELA: A or A- (a 3.75 ish)
Social Studies: A or A+ (a 3.9 ish)
Science: B+ (a 3; our teacher says 4’s are literally unheard of in her classroom (but I did get a 4 on the CER once…))

For math, I take Honors. I’ve also been taking advanced math ever since fifth grade (there’s a placement test every month. I’m still keeping my epic streak. It’s just a fun thing to keep track of lol). My middle school doesn’t offer many advanced classes though.

Additionally, I participate in classes, and I also help out with class activities.


  • Violin: Been playing for about 7 years. Part of a very advanced (and well known) youth orchestra in our state called Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. I used to be concertmaster of a local youth orchestra in our district until I moved on to BYSO JRO level. I take private lessons each week and have a steady practice schedule (1.5 - 2 hours a day. Sometimes 3 hours). I already submitted a video for the application. (I know I’m not as talented as others who’ve been playing for 7 years. Music doesn’t come to me naturally and it took me a HUGE amount of effort to get to where I am today.)

  • Piano: Been playing for about 5 years. I’m not amazing at it, but I’m proficient enough (currently playing pieces like Arabesque by Debussy, and Rondo Alla Turca by Mozart).


  • Skiing: Although recreational, I’m pretty good at alpine skiing (carving, parallel skiing, jumping). Been playing for about 3 or 4 years. I do it every ski season. I’m pretty consistent and I think I’d be a great addition to the SPS ski team.

  • Swimming: Self taught swimmer. I know how to do the basics like breast stroke, freestyle, backstroke though idk if that helps me at all.


  • Participated in Math competitions: I’ve participated in some math competitions (I’m not that good tho :’))and won some awards: 8th place nationally in Math Kangaroo (5th in my state), silver award in MOEMS, and one of the highest scores in my school for AMC8 and AMC10.

  • RSM: A math extracurricular who teaches students. Very advanced, and competitive. One of the top students in both Algebra and Geometry. The principal did my personal recommendation and she knows me pretty well. The program gives a lot of homework. I mean a lot.

  • Tutoring/Volunteering: I’ve been tutoring kids for violin for 2 years already in an orchestra program. I’ve also played for the elderly multiple times, and we’ve also played in multiple hospitals. (ISSUE IS I FORGOT TO MENTION THIS IN MY APP. I’m sure Special Interest rec did tho :slight_smile: )

  • Coding clubs such as Robotics, Hour of Code, and many coding classes. I find it pretty interesting and I would want to continue this journey at the schools I’m applying to (I emphasized this in the Choate Interview).

  • Drawing: I used to take an art class but now drawing is just a frequent hobby of mine. My artwork has been put on display multiple times in school, and has even been put in the town hall.

  • Eating Food: I just added this for fun. If you need someone to eat your birthday cake, you can count on me. I want cake now. Yeah, this is not gonna go on my application. I’ve gone crazy.

I’ve already mentioned these but I’ll just organize them here:

  • 8th Place National Math Kangaroo (5th place state) (most recent one)
  • Silver Award MOEMS
  • One of best scores in AMC8 and AMC10 in school (ranking not specifically announced)
  • Drawing put on display multiple times with awards, and also put in town hall
  • Was the youngest member, 1st violinist, and concertmaster for local orchestra (Worcester Youth Orchestras)
  • Member of BYSO

I pretty much had a spike in 7th grade. I didn’t mention some things because they were so trivial (Select Orchestra in my school, recognition thing from school for my math skills, some trophy for an act of kindness (???)).

I haven’t done any Concerto competitions yet because I hadn’t been playing violin seriously until near the end of 6th grade. After that, my violin skills dramatically increased.

Ok so… I suck at writing personal essays. Or essays in general. Actually, I just suck at writing in general. I’m terrible at phrasing things and it takes forever to think of what to write…

Endeavor (Andover) - Probably the worst out of the 4. My main essay was about math, but I could’ve written about MUSIC. I literally had a great idea for the Tell Your Story prompt, but I didn’t think of that until after I submitted :grimacing:. One of my short essays was also pretty generic (about reading).

Eggster (Exeter) - One of them was pretty good, the other one was organized, but lacked detail. (My essays suck)

Coat Rosemary Hall (Choate) - Short essays were good, main essay was the same as the 2nd Exeter essay.

St. Pole’s School (SPS) - Most personal out of all of them. Talked about how my father influenced me to be hardworking and ambitious (yea sure it’s generic, but I like this essay because it really describes who I am). Concise and organized. Wording could’ve been better at some points though…


ELA Teacher: Although I didn’t see the rec, I’ve seen her report card comments before. She mentioned a lot about how I helped my peers in class, and how outstanding my essay was. Hopefully my rec is good lol.

Math teacher: Well… math is my best subject so I think it was good. Too lazy to add anything.


Principal/Counselor Rec: Not very close, but my report card grades and comments are decent, so maybe neutral? She probably didn’t even know I existed before this lol.

Personal Rec: I already mentioned that I had the RSM principal do it. She was also my teacher for 3 years, and I’m very sure she’s going to write about how I started at the bottom of the class (I struggled in math before), but then climbed my way to the top in 6th and 7th grade.

Special Interest Rec: He was my orchestra conductor for Worcester Youth Orchestras (WYO). We have a close relationship, and I think he’s going to write about me being concertmaster, and tutoring violinists. He said he proofread it a lot.

My interviews were… I dunno. This is how well I think I did (best to worst interviews):

  1. St. Pole’s School: I feel good about it because I think I was well spoken. Not gonna get my hopes up though because I’ve seen a lot of good applicants get waitlisted (and a lot of those waitlists were Asian. Oh no.). There were times where I accidentally interrupted to make comments when he was talking about St. Paul’s School. I’m doomed now. I’m doomed I’m doomed I’m doomed. I want to change this to number 2 but I’m too lazy to.

  2. Eggster: I stumbled with my words a lot in Exeter and the WiFi was super bad for the AO so there were a lot of interruptions between questions. But I also feel sorta good because I think I expressed my traits pretty well. The interview also ended a bit later, which is probably a good sign. She was also super nice the whole time, and she asked me a LOT of questions. I like this interview because I really felt like I was myself.

  3. Coat Rosemary Hall: Interviewer was very nice! I loved her the most out of the rest of the interviewers! But I probably didn’t do that well because it was my first interview. It also seemed as if I was lying when I said I was interested in current events. She asked if I watched the presidential debate, and I literally said UHHHHHHHHHHHH for a whole 5 seconds, then I kept alternating between yes and no until I finally said “a little bit” (I did watch a little bit). We talked a little about it, and how crazy the debate was lol. There were also times where we laughed, but yeah. I really enjoyed the conversation though! It was one of the most enjoyable interviews (for me)!

  4. Endeavor: Yeah I probably failed this Andover. I didn’t stumble as much but I did ramble, and sometimes I left things out. For example, I forgot to mention that I wanted to try a new language and that I wanted to try volunteering work at Andover when she asked me what things I wanted to try out. She also seemed sorta uninterested. I mean I made her laugh a lot, but I also feel as if I didn’t do so well because it ended a few minutes earlier than it was supposed to. She did smile most of the time but I’m pretty sure she was just trying to be nice. And I also made mistakes.

Strengths: SSAT, Recs (?), Awards/Achievements (esp. BYSO, and Math Kangaroo), Full pay

Weaknesses: Interviews (?), Essays, ORM, Generic ECs (Violin, Piano, Math, Skiing, Drawing), I’m also uninteresting and I’m not as talented as other candidates, Not a recruited athlete, not much volunteering, not much leadership skill, didn’t play at Carnegie Hall, Not many awards, ORS (Over-represented state).

Additional Notes: Idk why I decided to do this when I already know my chances (hint: it’s 0.000001%), but I appreciate you for reading this!

If any of you are applying to any elite boarding school, then I wish you the best of luck! You got this! :smiley:

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Have you placed in any concerto competitions? Been to any national or international music camps? What violin concertos have you played?

Yeah I’ve never actually participated in any concerto competitions which is a problem. I’ve also never went to any music camps except for BYSO’s music camp which
I participated in. I’ve played many concertos: Concerto in A Minor by Bach, Concerto in A minor by Accolay, Concerto No. 22 by G.B. Viotti, and I’m currently learning Impromptu by Balakirev.

You have great scores and excellent grades. The fact that you are full pay will also help. Your EC list looks very similar to other Asian students. Overall I think you have a great chance.

You might have better luck at boarding schools farther away from home. Getting in as a day student to Andover is quite tough. Have you considered Hotchkiss, Lawrenceville or others schools farther south?

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Oh actually, I’m applying as a boarding student. Andover is actually farther away from the town I live in and it takes over an hour to drive there. Thank you for the recommendations though!

Have you considered adding Milton, St. Mark’s, and/or Concord Academy to your list?

I can’t Chance You, but you seem like a great kid with a good sense of humor, accomplished, and a terrific writer for your age. Best of luck to you.

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I suck at chancing because i’m a child, but i can confidently say you are qualified. tbh most candidates are qualified. just sell yourself in essays. my advice(if you really want to go to BS) you should apply to more schools. cast a wider net, it’s not guaranteed you’ll get in. only time will tell. good luck!

You certainly have the grades and scores and EC’s to pass the threshold and be considered seriously. Whether the schools fall in love with you is too subjective for us to say beyond stats you already know which is 13-20% acceptance rates approximately, times four schools, so maybe approx 60% chance of getting in somewhere with this list (again just based on stats.)
Normally I would say expand your list. But it seems like you are comfortable with your public option, so I would say you can’t lose if you find both BS and local school equally appealing. This is a great position to be in!

One thing that jumped out to me: you said your parents asked your teachers for recommendations. That’s a yellow flag for me. I am definitely of the mindset to help my kids on this journey (hey I’m a mom sitting here on a prep school board!), but meeting with the teachers to ask for the recommendations is definitely a student’s job. Did you at all connect with those teachers? I’m just a little nervous about this comment and what it means for both the recommendations, and the other components on your application. (Also: I may have misunderstood.)
But again: strong stats.

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Thank you very much for your feedback!

About my recommendations… I have a very good relationship with my teachers. My parents have told me that they‘ve seen the recommendations and that the recommendations were really good, especially for math, and my parents are usually strong critics (especially for my report card comments). I also impressed my ELA teacher with my narrative writing at the end of the school year, and her comments for my report card said nice things. So I trust that the recommendations went well. I did reach out to a few of the other recommenders and everything has been going well. The only thing I’m slightly concerned about is my school counselor recommendation. I’m not very close with them, and I don’t think they know me all that well, but I’m pretty sure they won’t say I’m dumb (hopefully).

I appreciate the call for concern though. I will definitely make sure that I contact my teachers in Fall of 2021 for the next application season if I don’t make it this time. Thank you!

@lilyesh @UltimaCroix Thank you very much both of you! I appreciate your feedback. I’ve heard of schools such as Hotchkiss, Milton Academy, Concord Academy, and Lawrenceville but only after I applied to the four schools, and also the fact that my parents think it’d be too much to handle. They think it’d be best if I focus my time on a select few so I can do my best on the essays, and other parts of the application.

I understand how difficult and complicated the application process is. However if you are overwhelmed by a few more essays and recs, and your parents are taking the lead in everything (not you) maybe its best to reconsider which schools you are applying too. I think you are a great applicant, but schools like Andover, Exeter, etc are extremely overwhelming and rigorous, and if you are still very parent/support dependent you might feel like the floor being pulled from under you. I am applying as a repeat sophomore because I never would’ve been able to handle an environment like that as a young freshman (and that’s okay! Its whatever works for YOU. ) So consider which schools you feel would be best for you to not only academically handle (which you obs can) but socially and emotionally.

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Wow, you make really good points and I see where you’re coming from! To be honest, I am pretty nervous about the environment. However, I’m excited to be independent for once and I view it as an opportunity to grow as a person. I strongly believe that I can do things for myself, and this is a chance for me to prove it.

My reason to apply for these schools isn’t because my parents told me it’s the best for me. I’ve done a ton of research on each and every school, and I’ve chosen that I truly want to go to these schools. It’s been my dream for a while (Choate is mainly focused on the arts, math, and science. Arts and math are strongest ecs. Phillips Andover is about “non Sibi” and I really want to contribute to the volunteering programs, join their Nordic ski team, make new friends. Their sense of community is also alluring. Etc.)

About the application, it’s true that my parents did contribute significantly. However, my interviews, and essays were all prepared with little to no help from my parents. I helped my dad get into contact with a few of my recs, and the others I contacted myself. I didn’t actually need much help, but my father has been very involved in my life ever since I had to stay at home due to the pandemic and he insisted on helping out (he’s a great parent :D) About the extra essays and stuff…

I forgot to mention that by the time I considered these schools, it was already almost New Years (I’ve been so involved with violin, piano, BYSO, skiing, RSM Geometry, RSM Alg.) and I barely started my essays and I also needed to record those violin pieces. So uh adding more essays and squishing in interviews and recs by January 15th isn’t the best thing to do.

But I appreciate your post, and if I don’t get in, I’ll work on my independence and do most of the application on my own.

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I understand! I was a little worried at first, but now that makes total sense! I wish you the absolute best in your applications- and as someone who still has 4+ interviews and essays to write by the 15th (I’m applying to a bunch of schools) you dodged a bullet by prioritizing. Just have a backup (be willing to attend local public school or current school) in case you don’t get into any of the schools u applied too because u can have good qualifications and still get rejected.

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Thank you very much for your feedback! Luckily I have a good public high school in my area in case I don’t get in to any of them :smiley: I appreciate the concern! It has made me more aware so that I don’t go blindly into some environment I might not like.

Also, I wish you the best of luck on all of your applications! It must be real tough to fit all of that in a matter of 10 days. I hope you get into at least one school. You can do it! :smiley:

In my humble opinion, I think you have a pretty good chance to get into at least one of these schools. I don’t think that you’d get rejected at most of the schools you applied to because you are very well qualified. It really just depends on what the specific boarding school is looking for this year. You have an amazing personality so it would be the school’s fault if they don’t want you. We have pretty similar stats so I hope everything goes well for you (cuz I’m probably gonna get the same result as you).

Love your names hahahahha!! your stats look good : )