Pennington School Application

I am currently in 8th grade and I’m looking to apply for 9th grade at Pennington. I haven’t taken the SSAT yet but I plan on doing so in November. I have been studying but Verbal is definitely my weak spot. Any tips on how to improve and practice for that section? Reading comprehension and math is pretty good. What score should I aim for?

I play soccer for one of the best clubs in the country and I’d say I’m pretty good. Will that be helpful for getting in? I’ve heard that I should email the coach at the school but what should I say/put in the email? And should I email the JV or Varsity coach? Please let me know or give me some kind of email template for me to then personalize in my own way.

I’ve also had a perfect 4.0 all four years in middle school and I’ve had lots of leadership positions in school.

Let me know as it is the only school I am applying to. I have a backup plan but the coach already wants me to come and play for their school soccer team.

I applied to Pennington this year and was accepted on decision date, but my situation is a bit different. Verbal was my weak spot too, but I practiced using the SSAT.ORG’s official practice material and tests that cost around $70 - $90. They are pricey but definitely worth it. An alternative to that is an Ivy Global SSAT Verbal practice book which might be $50 dollars or more. To work on your vocabulary especially, find a word list on and commit to it. Make flashcards and practice its synonyms. You might also be able to find a few SSAT books at your local library, so practice from those on a separate sheet of paper. Something that stood out on my Pennington application and interview was my SSAT score, so I think you should aim high. I would say somewhere in the mid 2200s would be good enough but if you want you can aim a lot higher and into the mid 2300s.

Your chances are pretty good as Pennington does have a good sports program and you have excellent grades. Your soccer experience can be one of the biggest things in your application and appeals to the coach. I would say you should email the coach before you visit the school or before your interview. Keeping good correspondence with the coach can boost you as they may mention you to admissions. Mention the email and if you got an email back in your interview. Prepare some good questions for your interview because it was one of the important things for applying (for me at least). Your leadership positions are good too.

In all, I think you have a good chance of getting in if you get a high ssat score and because of your excellent soccer experience, 4.0 GPA, and leadership positions. The school is definitely looking for some great student-athletes.

Thank you!!

Definitely reach out to the coach. Both boys and girls coaches are pretty plugged in to the local club scene and may even know who you are.

It sounds like you will be fine in the application process.

If you wanted more formal prep for SSAT, there are some lower key options from the free ones suggested here to places like Huntington/Sylvan to folks you can find word of mouth.

The team I play for is actually located in PA but it’s still in the ECNL and we play NJ teams all the time. I can still use that in my email to the coach right?


Sorry but another quick question.

Should I email the coach now, or should I wait for applications to open up?

It’s fine to do it now. In it, introduce yourself and ask about the program and how it would fit for you. Things like, can I play on my club team too, can you support my application if we both feel like this is a fit, is there a second sport requirement and how does that work for someone like me with year round soccer interests, etc.

I would look at other schools in the area as well – Lville, George, Hun. Because soccer recruiting for college happens primarily out of club rather than school, you should make sure you pick the school that’s best for you, not simply the soccer program.

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Do you mind if I PM’d you for you to proofread the email? I think it’s good so far, but I don’t know what to add into it to prompt a real response from the coach. I really want to get good feedback but I don’t know how to get it.


The head coach at Pennington is also the Dean of Students. The boys soccer team is very strong. If you have any videos of yourself playing or highlights that might be useful as well. Upload them to a private Youtube channel and send along with your email.

If you get an interview, then suggest to reach out to the coach/dean again to schedule a quick meeting.

Agreed that official SSAT materials are good.

I’m actually a girl if that changes anything about how I go about it?

Reach out to the girls varsity head coach

Not at all. Their girls soccer program is excellent as well.

Should I do Coach Hawkey or Coach Murphy?

I would address it to both of them. It’s good to be on the radar of both because recruiting responsibilities may be shared.

I agree with @gardenstategal. Send your introductory email to both of the coaches. Don’t be afraid to showcase yourself. No need to be a total braggart, but as long as you come across as humble and confident you’ll be fine. Copy them both on your initial email, and don’t be afraid to follow-up in case you don’t hear anything.

Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions to the coach: do you see me starting on your team, will you help me with admissions, how high am I on your list, etc. You should be the one initiating contact and communicating with the coaches – not your parents.

Now is a good time to start communications, as the school year has started, and they are looking towards recruitment. Good luck, let us know how it goes!

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