Do I have a chance of getting to in an elite boarding school (exeter, berkshire, choate, deefield, hotchkiss)

Hi! I’m currently attending middle school (7th grade) in NJ. I’m Indian with some European ancestry. I want to apply to some elite boarding schools (like listed above), but I’m not really sure about my chances of getting in.

Grades: I have mostly As and some A+ (for this year and last year). I have gotten one B+ in English before and I’m not sure how that’s going to affect my admission chances.

There are only two placement classes in my middle school (math and English). I’m in the highest level math class there is for 7th grade (Algebra 1). I am also in the most advanced English class.


I have been playing squash for the past 6 months. I would say that I am at an intermediate level.


I have been playing piano for 4 years. I wouldn’t say I’m amazing, but I am fairly decent. I have been playing percussion (xylophone, bass, and other smaller instruments) for about 1 1/2 or 2 years. I am at a pretty advanced level for xylophone because I play it very often. Playing xylophone is one of my favorite things to do outside of school.


Last year, I was part of my school’s newspaper. I also did a public speaking club.

Unfortunately, the public speaking club at my school didn’t continue on so I joined the SLAM poetry club.

This year I did: SLAM poetry, FBLA, and a volunteering club (as well as my school’s concert band). In the volunteering club, we helped out a small school business (it was a small cafe) and sometimes we stay after school to help children with learning disabilities. We also went on trips with children who were on the autism spectrum so they could have exposure to new places.

Next year, I would like to start a debate team (because of my public speaking and presenting experience) and be the president.

SSAT/ISEE: I actually plan on not taking it because most schools I plan on applying to are test optional.

Interviews/Essays: I actually enjoy writing in general, and I like to write essays. I don’t think writing essays will be too difficult for me. Personally, I think I am a social butterfly and I can easily talk to just about anyone.

Other: I don’t think my parents can afford full tuition, but we also don’t need full support. (I would say we fall somewhere with 20-40% financial aid.) My mom has a really close friend whose sons went to pretty prestigious boarding schools (Deerfield and Exeter). I also heard that Asians are less likely to get in, I’m not sure if that’s true.

I think it will help both you and any future admissions committee if you can explain why you want to go to boarding school and what you bring to the boarding school life. For your write up I’m not clear on why you’d want to attend. And what you offer the school—it doesn’t have to be academic or other achievements, but the boarding schools want good dorm residents who bring life to the community.

Standardized testing can help you narrow down what schools would be a good fit. You determine whether or not to submit the scores to test optional schools. I would take them once just to see where you are.


You will need to decide how important boarding school is vs “prestigious” boarding school.

For example, Groton’s acceptance rate dropped to 7% And that’s about your chance.

If boarding school is what’s important please expand your list of schools. If you are only looking at the top ten schools your chances are very low, as are most kids’ chances.

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I wouldn’t bank on schools being test optional again next year

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I’d say you have an okay chance. You haven’t said a reason you want to go to boarding school, and you should probably expand your list so look at the hidden gems thread.

I got into Exeter, Choate, and Hotchkiss with similar grades to yours (as well as the B in English in 7th grade) and I wouldn’t say it hurt me at all because I explained the reason for it well. You’re taking the most rigorous courses which is always good.

I’d say squash is a unique sport for middle school so it could help if you contacted squash coaches at whatever schools you’re interested in and if you talk about it in interviews and/or write about it.
Your instruments seem pretty unique so that’s a plus.
Being part of the school newspaper is something that I think helped me a ton. I told interviewers how I started a newspaper at my school and the public speaking class that got me interested in starting it. If you’d like to participate in the newspaper at whatever school, tell them!

Being a good writer and being social will definitely help with essays and interviews respectively. You’re an ORM from an overrepresented state so you’re chances are automatically lowered. I’d definitely plan to take a test to help back up your grades and I’m not even sure if schools will remain test optional with the huge uptick in applications.

I am also similar to your aid situation, some schools like Exeter and Andover are need blind and others have large endowments so I don’t think it would hurt too much unless you’re full FA. Good luck :grin:

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I think you should apply to the program called A Better Chance, they assist POC in the boarding/private school application process. Their deadline is April 15th, I know it’s pretty close but they usually make exceptions. You seem like a strong candidate for ABC and being accepted there can only make your chances higher. You also have great stats!

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Yes, you have good qualities so you have a decent chance at getting accepted/waitlisted. However, because a lot of people might have similar extracurriculars and grades as you, try to really emphasize one of your passions (for example leading the debate team is a great idea since it shows how you actually do enjoy it). Also, in your interviews, you need to stand out in order to be “recommended”. Really bring out why you love that particular school and some of your unique “quirks” so admission officers don’t see you as any other high-achieving student.

Also FYI, it’s hard to know what schools actually want, especially after the ranges of waitlists and rejects this year from different schools. For example, Exeter might have too many students like you applying, but maybe Choate is in need of one (idk). So overall, show how you’re unique/different from all the other applicants and try to expand your list of schools. :slight_smile:

Thank you so much to everyone who responded! All the advice and suggestions have been really helpful! Just have a quick question: Should I include the fact that I am starting a local golf team for my middle school (not competitive, but just recreational)? Just asking because this would happen after the whole admission process, (spring season of 2023) and it’s not competitive. Thanks once again!

Oh dear. A Better Chance is to help people who are African American, possibly Hispanic, all from low income households. There is absolutely no way that ABC is for a savvy South Asian child from an upper middle class household.

Hello, just wondering where you got that data from (Groton’s acceptance rate dropped to 7% this year). Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

School emails.

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Financial aid will play a huge part in admissions. If your parents can afford full pay that will make it easier. Most of these schools have plenty of full pay asians to choose from.

If you are within driving distance of any of these, you could consider applying as a day student. Lawrenceville, Blair, Hun and Peddie are within NJ and take day students.

For athletics to have an appreciable impact, you’ll need to have a solid US Squash ranking. Preferably top 10-15 in your age group, plus solid performance in nationals, gold and JCTs. Contact the squash coach at each school you’re interested in.

Definitely take the SSAT. Test optional won’t really help you, in fact it will hurt.