My Story

<p>This is just a story about how the application process went for me. Some of you may say I'm scaring 2011 applicants unnecessarily, that I'm being a downer. Last year at this time, though, I would have wanted to know this information.</p>

<p>I was extremely confident going into March 10th. I got straight As in honors classes, was in the 99th percentile for my SSAT, played on all varsity sports teams, was skilled in the areas of both music and fashion design, and practically aced all of my interviews. Everyone I talked to said I was a strong candidate, that every school would accept me. I believed them, too. I sailed through winter, feeling good about my applications and preparing myself for the tough decision I'd have to make once I was accepted to the schools of my choice. Sure, I needed a lot of financial aid, but I was the perfect applicant, right? Even if I didn't get into the schools with the lower acceptance rates, I still had other options.</p>

<p>March 10th came closer. Everyone at my school was very nervous, for the majority of us were applying to private highschools. I was repeatedly assured by my peers that I would get in everywhere, that I had nothing to worry about.</p>

<p>I applied to five schools. I was waitlisted at four.</p>

<p>I was shocked. My friends were shocked. Everyone assumed that just because I deserved to go to these schools, that I would get in. We were all ignorant of the fact that money is a deal breaker.</p>

<p>Think about it. Schools can't just give all the financial aid to a few kids. They need to spread it around, to make it more diverse.</p>

<p>Let's compare two kids at my school.
Student 1: Gets As and Bs, is on all varsity sports, is very talented musically.
Student 2: Gets Bs and Cs, is on all varsity sports, isn't very artsy.
They are equally charismatic.</p>

<p>You would think a school would choose Student 1 over Student 2, right?
Student 1 needs financial aid, though, while Student 2 is rich.
Student 1 gets waitlisted everywhere.
Student 2 gets in almost everywhere.
Student 1 and 2 applied to 3 schools in common.</p>

<p>You can argue that Student 1 could get better grades or something, but why accept Student 2 over Student 1?</p>

<p>Applying to highschools can be very emotional. I learned the hard way. Really, it sucks when your friends who are no better than you, or even less so, get into schools that you didn't get into because they're loaded. It sucks even more when you get in a fight with one of them over something completely unrelated, and they claim you're just jealous because you didn't get into as many schools.</p>

<p>You can tell your classmates that you didn't get in because of financial aid, but there are always those b!tchy girls that talk behind your back and say things like, "She's just using that as an excuse. She's really just too stupid to get in." People start to believe rumors like that, and they develop a sense of superiority. They use your dilemma as a way to make them feel better about themselves.
"Ha! So-and-so didn't get into This-and-that Academy, and I did! I guess I'm just better than her."</p>

<p>I can't help but think about how my life would be different if I had gotten into those others schools. I'm happy with the way things turned out, though. My best friend chose the school that I'm going to as well. I've already met some people that are going there, and they're all fun and nice. I keep thinking about how if I hadn't been waitlisted everywhere else, I wouldn't have formed relationships with these people.</p>

<p>So don't get me wrong, everything worked out in the end. I felt so much pain on March 10, though. I didn't find out about getting into my future high school until March 11, so I was really stressed. I checked my e-mail at school and had to come home because I started puking, I felt so awful. Once I had come home, I got some letters in the mail and started sobbing and puking all over again. It wasn't even the schools with low acceptance rates that made me feel that way. It was the schools that had high acceptance rates and low average SSAT scores. I felt doomed. I had switched from public to private school only a few years earlier, and almost everyone at the local public schools hated me because they thought I thought I was better than them. I dreaded going back there, and on March 10 it seemed very possible.</p>

<p>It didn't work out for everyone, though. Some people ended up having to go back to public school because they never got off any waitlists. In the aftermath of March 10, it felt like my grade was divided. There were the financial aid kids who had an actual reason to be stressed, but worked through it and continued to try their hardest in school, and then there were the rich kids who were so 'stressed' about whether to choose Andover or Exeter, they couldn't POSSIBLY take that French test. No joke. One girl literally used that excuse, and the teacher let her skip a test!</p>

<p>Moral of the story is, if you need financial aid, be aware that you may end up disappointed. Just work your hardest! You never know, things might come back to normal. We are coming out of the recession.
If you don't need financial aid and get in everywhere, don't be obnoxious and continuously whine about how your parents want you to go to Groton but you want to go to St. Paul's. Just be happy that you are fortunate enough to be wealthy and be accepted at so many schools.</p>

<p>My friends and I survived this by hosting surprise sleepovers for whoever was feeling bad. We got lots of candy and ice cream and watched cheesy chick flicks and the video of our winter play. We vented and laughed and went crazy and bothered the older brothers of whoever's house we were at. We burned our rejection letters and rejoiced at the fact that we had each other.</p>

<p>Comments? Questions?
Post away!</p>

<p>p.s. Did anyone actually read all of this?</p>

<p>yea i read it. i dont think you wrote this to scare anyone so i dont think it will scare 2011 applicants. it will just give them a taste of reality that they might not have realized before about not getting accepted.</p>

<p>Actually, reading this post made me feel a lot better. My story is almost the same, except that no one knew that I was applying, as I had chosen not to tell them. My parents, for some reason(probably FA) didn't expect me to get in,although my teachers and principal thought I was guaranteed admission. So, when I got my waitlist letter on March 10, I had no one to go to. But I got over it, although it took a very long time(the waitlist closed a month later).
If you don't mind me asking, which schools did you apply to? I really hope you're in a great school now!</p>

<p>Reading this would be good for some of the upcoming applicants. They need a dose or reality. My story is similar, in ways. Maybe a little harder? I come from an area where few--if any--apply to schools like these, so maybe it was different completely</p>

<p>I was pretty confident in myself that I'd make it in. My first year, I was rejected to three and waitlisted to one. Needless to say that waitlisting closed and I was left at my public highschool. It was hard to face everyone after already explaining how I didn't plan to go there the next year at all, but I worked through it and it wasn't nearly as bad as I imagined. </p>

<p>This past year I applied to seven completely different schools. I was waitlisted to three, rejected to three, and thankfully accepted to one, which I'll be attending this fall. I was a financial aid applicant as well, so I know how you feel. It all does seem to work out in the end though...but man, the middle sucks.</p>

<p>Thanks for sharing your experience. I applied as a full-pay applicant, and I was accepted to four out of five schools, which I probably didn't deserve. My financial situation changed, and I'm reapplying for financial aid. It's hard not to stress, but I know that all I can do is have the best application possible. Everything else is out of my control.</p>

<p>I feel for your pain- financial need is a nasty thing to deal with -and I appreciate you telling your story.
But I'd like to reassure any other members reading this thread that there is hope!
I was waitlisted at one school out of four total. I would say, yes, this was based largely on my financial need, but one could argue that I wasn't as enthusiastic about the school, and my interviewer picked up on that.
I was accepted at Exeter and Choate; both schools can handle my amount of financial need (full FA) easily and it was probably not a huge issue. I was also accepted to NMH; not as able to handle my need, but they decided to forgo it in my case. Probably substituting my application for a partial-pay or full-pay applicant, in all likelihood.
I was waitlisted at Andover. They could handle my need, why would they not accept me when other schools of the same caliber had done so?
It's a crapshoot, kids. You can't place blame on your last test grade or your application essays or your interview or your need.
This was rambling and had a very vague point. My apologies? I think my point is this:
Don't discount yourself because of need. Have a backup plan. And, most importantly, admissions into the top private schools in this country are WEIRD and UNPREDICTABLE. Your friends, family, and the Prep Admissions forum cannot, and maybe should not, predict your acceptances.
Have a lovely day :)
P.S.- I'm glad everything worked out for the best, csi = love.</p>

<p>accioquote: I applied to Exeter, Milton, St. George's, Brooks, and a day school.</p>

<p>Saer: Yes, there is hope. Even if you get waitlisted, the lists DO move, and money opens up. Like I said, things end up working out in the end, you just have to endure the waiting.</p>

<p>Also, like you said, I would not suggest using the chance forums or anything. Really. We have no idea what each others' chances are of getting into these schools! We are not admissions officers. You can look at acceptance rates and average SSAT scores and the like, but schools don't base their decisions on just data. There are intangible factors as well.</p>

<p>I really only shared this story because I started to talk to kids I know that are starting this whole process, and I couldn't help but feel the hurt all over again when they said things like, "I'm almost definitely going to Milton or Middlesex." These kids don't realize how complicated it is! I know, I was the same way. I just want them to be educated, and go into this feeling confident, but having realistic expectations.</p>

<p>I read all of this.</p>

<p>But I believe that Andover is a need-blind school, as are many of the other popular boarding schools in the States. Your definition of 'acing the interview' might not have been the admission's officers, and I don't see any community service up there. I'm just saying.
But I totally understand what you mean. I didn't have enough money to go and visit campus and I mean I was definitely stressed out about our financial situation. I got rejected, rejected, and waitlisted, but I'm still reapplying, because it's better to keep trying than to just stop, right? You always have a tiny chance. And no you're not scaring me away! Haha. Yes, the decisions are completely weird and unpredictable! The chance threads really aren't that good, because you can only see so much of the person. You don't relaly see their personality and stuff. :) Thanks for posting this up!</p>

<p>This is all a bunch of crap. </p>

<p>Most full pay applicants DO NOT have mostly B's and C's these applicants will be rejected immidiately (unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as their parents donating millions of dollars to the school or paying a double tuition fee) but these applicants are generally just as qualified as any FA applicant, the only difference is that they are not in need of FA. </p>

<p>Most schools these days are need blind meaning that they may admit you with no FA even if you need it (I think Exeter rescinded this policy for 2010 though). Different committees makes the decisions. And furthermore how on earth do you know that you aced he interviews? Do you really think the person who interviewed you would say,
-"f*** of there's no place for you here. Neither Milton, Lawrenceville or Deerfield told me that I aced the interview although all of these schools eventually accpted me.</p>

<p>I kept all my grades and my engagement in EC's and the student council just as serious as I did before and I never slowed down my pace. Several of my friends will attend private schools and they didn't slow down their pace either. It would seem as if you are dealing with islolated cases.</p>

<p>And I'm not the kind of stereotyped applicant you are referring to, I had a very high GPA (almost all A's), an extraordinary TOEFL score, granted my SSAT wasn't THAT high but it was the verbal part that really hurt my score, I have plenty of EC's both athletic and non-athletic ones, so don't give me any crap about being stupid. If so please explain why Exeter rejected me when they had stated that they would give an edge to full pay applicants while Deerfield, Lawrenceville and Milton that never stated anything resembling that accepted me.</p>

<p>And yes the admissions process is VERY unpredictable and yes very weird and in fact quite mysterious but the admissions department doesn't discriminate against FA applicants, if you look around these forums you will find PLENTY of applicants who were admitted but didn't receive enough or any FA. So plz do not jump to any conclusions by this post</p>

<p>I read the whole post and I don't believe your scaring new applicants but turning them away from their goals. Hopefully, the new applicants that are really focused on getting into these great schools won't turn their backs on hopes of FA because of this post but will persevere. </p>

<p>Csi=love you mentioned that this is reality, but it's also reality that schools will choose applicant 1, that people who need FA will be accepted over people who don't (myself included), that others will recieve more FA than they thought possible. It's very sad to hear that you weren't told that there was a chance that you might not get accepted, but I think everyone knows that there is a chance that they might not get accepted; here on CC I haven't actually seen many 2010-2011 applicants stating outright they would get into "this and that Academy". What I see is that many of them are timid, unsure, and don't have so much hope. </p>

<p>Recently, I've gotten PM's from various applicants asking about the admissions process. One of the things I always say is to have hope; don't just look at it from the point of view of the poster above after March 10th but from an optimistic point of view too. That being said this was an informative post but it only tells ** one ** side of the story. I had about the same stats as you and needed financial aid. I applied to Exeter and got accepted with FA. As Saer said, it is a crapshoot (funny I never heard that word till I came onto CC), but it's also a "realistic expectation" to have hope in your goal of getting into a great school.</p>

<p>
[quote]
And I'm not the kind of stereotyped applicant you are referring to, I had a very high GPA (almost all A's), an extraordinary TOEFL score, granted my SSAT wasn't THAT high but it was the verbal part that really hurt my score

[/quote]
</p>

<p>These qualifications (not all A's and not a high SSAT score) are nowhere close to those of csi=love. This only SUPPORTS csi=love's thesis. Deerfield, I think you got in because your hook is international, as schools need a diverse student body.</p>

<p>@urban: You have similar qualifications to csi=love, but you forgot to mention that you are a URM applicant that could have made the difference.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I was shocked. My friends were shocked. Everyone assumed that just because I deserved to go to these schools, that I would get in. We were all ignorant of the fact that money is a deal breaker.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>This is nothing new. Happens all the time, money opens doors, not just in school admissions, but all things in life. That's the way it is. :(</p>

<p>Pulsar, normally I wouldn't bother to answer but I'm in hotel room with nothing to do so;</p>

<p>You may think whatever the he** you want, first of all she stated that she had A's and B's and that's in five subjects, I take 16 subjects, yes 16 I had 2 B's, that's 14 A's in 1 year, In American schools you only take 5 subjects in your freshman year so imagine the workload that I dealt with, furthermore I would like to see u take a test in a foreign language, a language that u didn't grow up and of which you are not a native speaker GL, you're gonna need it. Maybe I should send you a French or Spanish standardized test would you like that?</p>

<p>And yes being international probably helped but it's not that was most certainly not the thing that made three schools decide that I was an able and willing student and would bring something to the school. I've made a difference at my school, have you?</p>

<p>And seriously stop with the bashing, I've not done anything to offend you and yet everywhere you seek out my posts and make negative comments about them even though they may have not said anything negative, but then you find typos and such, don't you have ANYTHING better to do? I've seen you post in Friday and Saturday afternoons EST, (in the middle of the night CET) when I came home after spending time with my friends, seriously get a hobby or something.</p>

<p>And what's up with the sense of entitlement? Not one person deserves to attend a school more than somebody else, you don't deserve a school, but maybe the school chooses you.</p>

<p>All in all I think that you are very bitter pulsar and trust me (I've been there) it won't help you with ANYTHING in your future endeavours.</p>

<p>Oh boy this will be quite controversial.... </p>

<p>CSI - you dont really give us a whole bunch of information. There are so many aspects that admission's officers look at when looking at students. Although you may feel cheated, I am not sure if this situation is really as unfair as you have put it to be. Also many schools are need blind. Naturally, big donors may have some benefits but there have been many wealthy families who have had their children rejected from institutions that they donate to.</p>

<p>In terms of the support you received from friends, no real friend should ever put someone down and say they will not get in to a school. But at the same time I would try to not confuse what your friends say with what the professionals may judge.</p>

<p>A lot of people need financial aid to get through boarding school, and a lot of people get it. I do not think you were wait listed because of your financial state. </p>

<p>Having gone to public school for grades k-9, I can attest that there is nothing wrong with going to public school and there is no shame.</p>

<p>But stay close to your friends, seems that they are helpful in situations like this and best of luck with whichever path you take.</p>

<p>Isn't Andover the only truly need-blind school?</p>

<p>^ from what i've heard, yes. (not including day schools, like roxbury latin)</p>

<p>@DeerfieldSwede: "Not one person deserves to attend a school more than somebody else"
really..?</p>

<p>I wanted to say the same thing, I think Andover is the only school that claims to be need blind.</p>

<p>Technically, I believe that is true. However, other high endowment, top schools like Exeter and St. Paul's are extremely generous with financial aid and are virtually need blind. </p>

<p>Keep in mind that I am only a parent of a new BS student, so I am not a really authoritative source of any information. However, my understanding from collecting lots of information is that strong academics, strong SSAT, and strong EC's do not guarantee admission at any of the top schools. In fact, IIRC, both Andover and Exeter have stated that something like 70% of their applicants are strong enough academically to succeed in their schools. </p>

<p>Other criteria come into play after the academic/SSAT/EC threshold has been met. However, I do not believe that FA need is often one of those criteria. Interview, essays, and references can be big factors - and it's hard for an "outsider" to know what types of things there have the greatest impact. Although an interviewee may believe he/she "aced" an interview, the interviewer may have felt quite differently. Several times, I've read that the ability to converse comfortably and articulately with an adult is pretty important, including being as good a listener as a speaker. That's something that, I think, comes only with life experience and probably can't be achieved with a "quick study."</p>

<p>Another factor that is seldom discussed is the "Parent Statement." When a PS is nothing but puffery, it is likely to be problematic. When a school accepts a student, they are implicitly entering into a partnership with the student's parent(s) to educate that child. If the parent(s) seem unable to see their child as an immature, imperfect, " not fully baked" product, that can raise a red flag for the school.</p>

<p>Just my $0.02 - perhaps actually worth a lot less.</p>

<p>In CSI's case, you had something to point to (financial aid need) to help explain why you didn't get in to some schools, even if it wasn't the reason(s). But I agree with others, it's far more complicated than that. </p>

<p>In my son's case, he got into two top schools, but rejected from the one he wanted and another with no need for FA. His stats were also outrageously good, all A's, 5 - 8th grades, 95th percentile SSAT, strong in both Math and Verbal, national awards, incredible athlete and incredible service awards without going into specifics.</p>

<pre><code> We also thought he would have more choices than he had, although in hindsite I would have applied to at least two more schools. You can blame helicopter parents for his rejections, but in the end who really knows?

One thing we can all maybe agree to...is the crapshoot experience. However, if this helps, for the two schools he got accepted to, the one thing I can say is that his interviewers really liked him. I truly believe that someone around the Harkness table, square or oval table of adcoms, needs to go to bat for you when the chances are 1 in 10 for ultimate acceptance. As someone wiser than I stated, it's not enough to have superior credentials, that only puts you in the running and opens the door. To seal the deal, you need something more a hook, or a connection with someone who thinks you are someone they "need" when they put together their class. And if they already have two of those, you may still find yourself out in the cold, stupefied and dazed. When you can, get specific information as to why you didn't get selected. If it doesn't help you now, it may help you for college.
</code></pre>

<p>I think most of you are missing the point csi=love is trying to make. S/he is not complaining about not getting into any one specific dream school, s/he was wailisted/rejected at almost all. Most of the schools csi=love applied are NOT need blind. Also, this is not the only post about FA being a negative hook as many others with stellar qualifications who needed FA have posted that they got rejected/WListed this year, PaulaZaria comes to mind. Blame the economy, I suppose.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I'm in hotel room with nothing to do so;

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Hmm...</p>

<p>This is quite common CSI. Same here, but 99th percentile SSAT (including 800 on math and verbal) and all As/honors at a top notch independent school with 3 sports (all star in each one) and significant ECs including meaningful community service. One school emailed to say how wonderful the essays were as well as how great one of the recommendations was, and almost every interviewer said things like you will get in everywhere so hope you pick X. One Admissions person emailed frequently to check in...and yet waitlisted there.</p>

<p>Needed FA, not full but good chunk.</p>

<p>Still had good choices though despite the waitlisting at other places. </p>

<p>It is not where you did not end up, it is what you do with the opportunity presented to you at where you do end up, right?</p>