Grades impact on chances for Andover, Exeter, Hotchkiss and other Top boarding schools

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

She goes to an independent school for gifted students that offers curriculum above grade levels with very rigorous grading systems. She received Bs in Math (Honors class) and French in 7th grade but more Bs in 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 tests for math was 99 percentile.

She is interested in science and engineering and won top prize at State science competition. She also participated in Robotics competition at world level.

Question is how much will the “Bs” hurt her chances assuming she gets a very good SSAT score? I understand teachers’ recommendations are important too, just assuming they are positive for now.

Thank you!

It depends on the strength of her nonacademic extracurriculars. For example, if she’s a very high level athlete in multiple sports or a very high level orchestral musician, or hopefully both, the grades will be OK. If not, well, her chances are likely a lot lower. (That’s true even if the grades were tippy top, actually.) Remember, these schools’ recent acceptance rates are closer to 10% than 20%. Hotchkiss and Groton were likely even lower than 10% this past season.

Thank you. Just wondering how boarding schools gauge different grading systems at different schools?

I don’t really know. It probably depends on if the boarding schools are already familiar with your daughter’s current school. It may help quite a bit if your daughter gets excellent grades the first marking system of the upcoming school year. “Bs” in 6th grade are not as much of a detriment as a lot of “Bs” in 7th and 8th.

I’m just a parent of a child who was very successful in the process, but I would say that if the other parts of your daughter’s application are outstanding, the grades as described would not sink her chances.

Your daughter’s chances will benefit from her being a female interested in STEM.

The boarding schools will know how to evaluate grades across different school system. A few B’s is not going to kill her chances. The boarding schools are like mini-colleges – they accept a wide variety of students, and so take grades into account as part of holistic admissions.

But in general, SSAT scores of mid-80th percentiles are typical for the top boarding schools. Plus some other factor that fits institutional needs. This could be geography, international, athletics, minority status, development or a whole host of other things.