Chances for Top 10 Boarding with Bs

Hi, a parent here. Daughter applying for 9th grade 2023 in Top 10s.

SSAT - not taken yet but did a mock test with no preparation, 2274/2400

7th Grade: Literacy, Science, Social Studies As, Math B, French B
6th Grade: Mostly Bs.
She goes to an independent school for gifted students that offers curriculum above grade levels with very rigorous grading systems. 6th grade 93% in literacy and science were Bs. Class was divided into 3 groups for math (fast, average, slow) and she has always been in the fast with grades of “B”. However, her standard test for math was 99 percentile.

Top prize for State Junior Science competition; Best in Category award (Aerospace)
Participated in Robotics competition at world level

Attended Andover Summer program. Grade is at the top of the class so far.

Community: Created and manages an on-line chatroom for her class.

Grade is a weak point. Will strong SSAT and recommendations offset it?

Thank you!

Using “traditional” grading system

7th grade: 91%, 3.6/4.1 weighted/unweighted
6th grade: 89%, 3.5/4.0. Literacy and Social Science would have been As.

I think the schools will be trying to understand why the grades are weaker than the standardized test scores.

Also, why boarding school? Does your daughter want something specific that her current school can’t provide?

I’d also open your search to more than the top 10. There are plenty of academically strong students at other schools.


The standardized tests are a lot easier than what they are learning at school.

Current school is only K-8. Certainly she will need to talk about why boarding.

Thank you for the advice.

Just received answer from current school advisor. There is a statement directly on the official transcript that explains the different grading system. Also, “the BS are already familiar with our school and curriculum. They also have had experiences with so many of our students. They understand how well prepared they are.”

That’s great. Also, if you want to have a better idea of your child’s chances, you should be able to find out who from the school obtained admission in past years to the boarding schools in which you are interested. If your child has very similar qualifications, she should have a pretty good chance.

At the K-8 school for gifted kids with which I am most familiar, the kids who combined top scholastic performance with leadership had excellent success (three Andover matriculants, for example, plus two Choates and one Exeter in the past five years), while students who were more in the middle of their group of gifted classmates and lacked leadership experience had less success. In the case of the latter, however, I believe their boarding school “nets” were way too small. Instead of simply applying to one or two tippy tops and earning acceptances to none, they should have applied to more schools (assuming they really wanted to attend boarding school for high school).


Great advice. Thank you!

Lots of applicants are taking rigorous courses and have very high grades so you would probably need to explain that well. SSAT is basically a benchmark, so it would help if you had a good score. Good recommendations would also help a lot.

I don’t think doing the summer program for any school would increase your chances that much. If you really want to go to boarding school, I recommend casting a wider net unless you have a good local option to fall back on. ECs look nice so based on what you’ve shared I’d say your daughter has a good chance.

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I have said this before, and I think it gets over looked because it’s out of a parents control. Teacher recommendations are the factor that helps or hurts the most. There are many many smart kids with perfect ssat scores who get rejected every year from the top schools. Why is that? Of course no school can take every qualified applicant, do you really think they’re basing their decisions on a “what makes you laugh?” essay? It comes down to teacher recommendations. Those are quite literally telling the schools how this student functions in the classroom and in their community. It’s a direct view from a teacher that clearly explains what a kid is like in school. They matter.


How do you know this for a fact? Are you involved in a school’s Admissions Committee?