Chances to Get into Phillips Exeter / Andover for 11th Grade


I wanted to apply to Phillips Exeter and Phillips Academy last year but I didn’t think I stood a good chance so I waited another year to apply.

I’m from South Asia and I live in the UAE. I’m female and turning 14 in a week.

I’m currently in 9th grade and I will apply for 11th grade boarding next year when I finish 10th grade.

I will need FA.

My grades are
English A (7)
Maths A (7)
Biology A+ (8)
Chemistry A (7)
Physics A+ (8)
Economics A (7)
Business A+ (9)
Psychology A+ (9)
(I do IGCSEs so we’re graded from 9-1, 9 being best and 1 being worst. As I wrote above, 7 s an A and an 8 or 9 is equivalent to A+)

In grade 8, I got all As except for two subjects where I got a C.

In 9th grade, I did really bad and got 4 Cs (in history and bio, chem, and physics and a B in maths).

But now I repeated 9th grade and got all As and A+ as I listed above. As for 10th grade, I am predicted nothing lower than an A and now that I’m taking my education seriously, I’m sure that I will do good and get nothing lower than an A and I’m working hard for that.

I haven’t given the PSAT yet but I practiced a lot for the SSAT and I’m in the 90th percentile.

For my extracurriculars, I do football and train a total of 12 hours a week. I also do a bit of badminton and table tennis, but I don’t take them too seriously and they’re both mainly a hobby.

I don’t have any awards or certificates (I got two medals last year in PE because of progress and since my team came 2nd overall but to be honest they’re not impressive or really important).

I’m also applying to a few other schools just in case I don’t get in, but I’m mainly concerned about PA and PEA. I really want to go to these schools mainly because I want to surround myself with the type of extraordinary students that they have and the amount of amazing opportunities they offer. I also really like their football program and the courses they offer and I honestly believe that I’ll be so much of a better person when I leave, prepared for university.

I genuinely think I am a weak applicant and my chances of getting in are very low–if not zero–since places are selective (I’ve heard 11th grade is also a bad time to apply because much fewer applicants are admitted) and I have many things against me (bad grades in the past, international student, needs FA). I still want to know what my chances are from someone else’s point of view. I also want to know if there are factors that I can improve in my application eg do more extracurriculars or any tips since I still have time that I could use to improve my application.

Firstly, if you are turning 14 in 9th grade you are a year younger than “normal” for the highschool track in the US. I strongly suggest that you apply for 10th grade next year. Being young at BS is zero advantage, makes it harder in fact.

Secondly, entering the tippy top schools as a junior is not a good idea imo. It can be a big adjustment and all the kids I know irl struggled and had disappointments when it came to the colleges they were able to get into (because their junior years were a low point grade wise).

I’m confused about why you think pea and paa have good football programs. Exeter isn’t a good team. They are ok. Andover is good when it’s good because of the large numbers of outside club players who play at the highest level. Most schools in the TSAO and ISL are in similar positions.

I’m going to only briefly address your “Exeter and Andover are the best and will make me the best” attitude. Do some research and find some other schools you’d be thrilled to go. There are many BS in the US that are truly exceptional.

You can do some community service - that’s what I’d like to see - something that actually helps other people.

I agree with @one1ofeach and would like to encourage you to think further: what do you really want in a boarding school? Think about who you are, what circumstances you thrive under the most, what brings you joy, and look for schools that are the best match for that.

Consider looking into some of the excellent all-girls schools as well.

Thank you for your reply.
Don’t you think it’s a bit weird if I repeat 10th grade when I’ve already repeated 9th grade? I feel like that wouldn’t look good for universities and it just seems odd.

I’ve been looking a lot into BS especially ones in the US and obviously some of them seem great and I’d love to attend them, but it’s mainly Andover and Exeter that stood out to me. I do realize that just because if I were to attend the best BS of the US does not make me the best, and I don’t need necessarily need a school to improve myself and be the best version of myself. That being said, Andover and Exeter seem like one of the best opportunities to learn and even if I don’t get in, I want to give it a shot and I really do think that the entire experience will be really beneficial.

What, to you, makes them the best? Please think about that long and hard. All the top 20 schools are tough to get in, and offer “the best opportunities to learn” if you are the right fit for the school. Actually (although you might find this extremely hard to believe) there are schools only in the top 21-50 that have opportunities that you haven’t even imagined yet.

What other schools have you looked at?

@vandeej It is OK to want to apply to Exeter, Andover, SPS, Lawrenceville and other “top” schools. BUT you do not seem to be all that well researched so the advice from @one1ofeach is spot on. So to not repeat that advice…I’d add,

Your grades are not great and I am not sure how a practice SSAT is giving you a 90th percentile (which is a great score). When my DS was practicing there was no accurate score until the actual test.

Your world football/soccer stats are not clear. The NEPSAC league is not super strong BUT many teams have a player or two who for a time trained with MLS youth teams and/or DA Academy players. You need to expand on that background.

School leadership and community service is completely absent.

If you want the American boarding school experience you are going to have to take a year to completely up your resume or greatly expand your search.

I am sorry this is so negative, I am sure you were not quite expecting these types of responses. But there is a lot of good advice in these replies to consider. Good luck.

No it won’t seem strange because it will put you in the grade with your age peers. There are lots of repeats at BS which make them older than normal. For you coming in a full year younger and being in a grade with kids two years older than you probably won’t be that great.

The beauty of BS is that classes are often mixed grade so you can take appropriate levels even when repeating

I understand everything said. Let’s say I take a year to do volunteer work, involve myself in school leadership, improve my grades this year and next year when I’m in 10th grade, and then apply to Phillips as a repeat 10th grade, and keep on practicing the SSAT. Will I then have a slight chance of getting in or will I just be wasting my time? I really appreciate the honesty.

Applying for 10th grade is easier - there are simply more spots available than there are for 11th.

Hi, are you still applying?