Parents: Need Help

<p>I find it hard to talk to my parents about boarding school. Like, I would try to talk to them about other schools other than one's my brother reccomeneded (AKA Andover & St. Paul's) and whenever I talk about the other schools (like Episcopal and St. Andrews etc), they ask me "Oh your brother didn't mention that. I'm listening to him!" I love my brother to death-respect him more than others. They ask me "How do you know this school will give you a better education" and "How do you know students/faculty like this school?" I would want to take them to interview, but they don't want to waste money on something that might not be good. I can kind of get their point, but I'm still a bit frustrated on explaining. Any tips?</p>

<p>You can only work with the resources available to you. Find out exactly how many schools your parents allow you to visit and/or apply first, then present your top choices to explore/apply and meet them half way. Keep trying as you know how your parents would respond to different approaches better than anyone else. Whats their plan if you can't get in A or S?</p>

<p>on the compromise front.....perhaps a Skype interview, telephone conversations with current students, local rather than on-campus interview....all the things which help save money. </p>

<p>It may be (certainly not a given, but may be) possible for your parents to open their minds to the schools you want to explore if they see you willing to figure them out without plane tickets involved. </p>

<p>We did a full schedule of on-campus visits for both my kids, and I suppose it was useful up to a point - but looking back, I think we might have gotten just as good results with perhaps one visit for each kid, just so they could see what "a boarding school" looks like, and done the rest of the interviews via Skype or local alumni.</p>

<p>I say this because at a certain point in the decision process, the challenge was to leave aside the glossy brochures, and the personality of the tour guide, and dig deeper into what it was that would make the school a fit or not a fit. One result was that we didn't do any revisit days - because it didn't seem that a revisit day, with all the roll-out-the-red-carpet presentation, would be able to answer the questions we had. </p>

<p>Any one else have thoughts on this issue?</p>

<p>Very simple. Talk to your brother. </p>

<p>If they listen to him (I assume he's older?), use this known conduit for information. It could be that the very same information about boarding schools will sound entirely different to them, when it comes from his mouth. So, call up your brother and ask for his help.</p>

<p>It doesn't mean you might not end up at St. Paul's or Andover in the end. Evaluating worthy options is not out of place during the visit and interview phase. It sounds as if everyone involved has your best interests at heart.</p>

<p>Would they only consider sending you to Harvard or Yale, thinking that other colleges might not be "good?" Most private boarding schools only get away with charging $40-50k per year because they offer something to students that isn't available at even the best public or day schools. There are few that aren't "good;" they aren't all right for every student, though. St. Paul's, for instance, is in New Hampshire - that's a long distance for people from outside of New England, and it's obviously not the best place for people who don't like cold weather. Andover and Exeter are both superb, but have both been described as "college for 14-year-olds": they are larger than most prep schools, and so competitive that kids who don't really excel in some way can be overlooked. Do you have any special passions or talents? If you enjoy sports, but don't excel, then you might not have the chance to make teams at larger schools, whereas smaller schools would allow you to play. If you're completely non-athletic, then you might want to look at schools that don't require you to play a team sport. Every one is different. I suggest that you study their web-sites, to find out more about their curricula, extracurricular programs, requirements, etc. Visits are still very important - they can give you a feeling about a school. I visited one school with my son, that seemed appealing, until we realized just how much importance they placed on sports - the athletic facilities were state-of-the art, while the classroom facilities were rather shabby, and we were barely shown any visual or performing arts facilities. I said nothing, but as soon as I asked my son what he thought, he expressed the identical concern. It might have been an ideal school for another kid.</p>

<p>Your parents need to be pragmatic about the schools you apply to. The chances of getting into Andover, et al. are challenging, even for applicants with uber high SSATs, grades, EC's.</p>

<p>Are any of the schools you are interested in planning any "on the road" receptions? I have gone to some of these and they do a good job presenting the school--usually the headmaster and admissions are there, and it is pretty informal. You might be able to find out about the on the admissions section of their website or by calling admissions and asking. Maybe if your parents went to one or two of these they might understand why you would want to broaden your search to other schools besides Andover and Exeter. My friend's brother was at Exeter and ended up going on medical leave from the pressure. Sometimes the biggest place isn't always the best place for everyone. Like Episcopal is a lot smaller but they use Washington DC like a classroom every Wednesday. And it is REALLY clean and so pretty. So even though I originally wanted a very big school, EHS turned out to be one of my favorites. There is something comforting about knowing everyone (teachers and classmates) well if you are far from home. You are West Coast right? So no Cate or Thacher? The grass is always greener I guess because so many of my friends want to go out there but their parents won't let them!</p>