Coach asking where school falls on list

Hi there, I am not a very active poster - was here with my older kid a couple years ago and now my younger one is applying. Maybe this topic is somewhere in here already but I cannot figure out where. Wasn’t there a parent section?

My kids are very different. My older one is academically very gifted but not particularly sporty. 2 years ago, she got waitlisted at all her BSs, which is fine; she is at a local gifted day school that loved her, and is a great fit. It is not at all a fit for her sister, so we find ourselves doing this process all over again with completely new boarding schools and an inability to visit. This time coaches are in the mix.

My younger one is just a very good all around kid who plays multiple sports and is coordinated but not a national player. She’s a well-rounded athlete, who played 2 club sports and 3 school sports (normally, right now everything is on hold). It is true that one of her clubs has something of a reputation. She’s been in contact with BS coaches and had some discussions. Now she’s getting asked by coaches where their school falls in her rankings.

We legitimately have no idea. None of us has visited this school, as our criteria this time were different and different schools bubbled up. We feel like we have zero power in this process anyway, especially since this time we are applying for FA and we believe that will greatly affect outcomes. She’s also not submitting a test score; she’s not a natural tester like her sister and we prioritized forming a good list of schools and outreach through the scores of virtual info sessions that dominated her fall (I’m sure she did 50-100) over tons of test prep and taking the SSAT, which was optional for her schools. We also just didn’t have the cash to spend on tutoring and many tests, especially since there were many test cancellations happening. She is a truly kind and hardworking kid. Her grades are good and I think her teachers like her a lot. But, this feels like a crap shoot. She may not get in anywhere, we are well aware, and we have a local backup plan that includes public school.

She really wants to go to BS if she can. She would be very happy at this school, we think, but she’s never visited. She has applied to 5, but has only ever been to one school on her list (it’s not the one asking), and that one probably is her top choice because she’s been there, knows kids there, and it’s closer to us, but many kids from her school are applying and we think her odds are slim. All the other schools on her list are in a nebulous pile. We didn’t even see most of them with her sister. Any advice for responding? Do we point out the FA aspect? “It’s one of my very top choices and I’d be super excited to go there but I haven’t ranked any of my schools because I’m applying for FA and I know that will be a factor.” I mean, if cost weren’t a factor, I still don’t know where it would fall because of the inability to visit. It’s probably #3 but that could change if she visited and loved it. That’s a bridge we will cross in March if she is lucky to be admitted to 2+ places. Thanks for any thoughts.

Ranking of schools can be a bit of a slippery slope when kids are asked by AOs and Coaches. I seem to recall @skieurope once wrote a reply to a post that suggested a helpful way of responding to interviewers when they asked kids what schools they were applying to - not the same thing, but similar?

Perhaps he can chime in?

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Here was my response:

I would not tell a school they are a top choice if they are not. And I would not tell a school that they are not the top choice.

And I moved this thread to Prep School Parents.


I can not speak to boarding schools - but experience with day school and college for FA and sports. I think your reply regarding FA is good. When looking for FA, kids and parents are told not to “fall in love” and being honest with the coach about your financial needs and that being part of the equation sounds like a good plan. It may even boost her application if this coach/school can talk aid now or, on the other hand, the coach will move on to someone that doesn’t need aid. You get away from telling him a rank and that should be understandable with the lack of visit and the need for aid too.

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