School Curriculum

Do the Boarding schools consider what courses are offered at your school? Sadly, you cannot go over Algebra 1 at my school for math. Would that be factored in? Also, my parents don’t have the money to spend $500 on online courses (that is quite expensive). My math teacher tries to give me separate assignments in class to accelerate me, which I think she will mention in the REC. If that helps


many would say “Good for them for not artificially exacerbating the math race.”


And many others would not.

Nevertheless, I think this is one type of instance where the SSAT can be useful. If an applicant comes from a school in which the math curriculum is less advanced, the SSAT can help the admissions committee identify the student’s potential. If I were an admissions officer, I would be very impressed by an applicant who scored highly in the quantitative section while attending a school with a low math ceiling.


Thank you for the advice! I was also wondering if you can send in ssat scores after the deadline? My scores won’t come out until like a week after Exeter’s application deadline. Going test-optional will probably hurt me in this case.

Starting 9th grade in geometry is not considered behind so you don’t need to worry about this at all. It’s literally not worth even thinking about. You certainly don’t “need” ssat scores to explain why you only went through algebra 1 in middle school.


My child says you put school codes into the website for the SSAT, which sends the scores to the schools directly.

However, maybe you should write the schools and tell them when you took the test, so that they know to expect them.

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Thank you! I will do that and make sure the schools received it.

Thank you for the reply. Many of the top middle schools in NYC, who are top-ranked when it comes to national math competitions, also only offer Algebra 1. There are only a few schools that even go beyond it. I guess the kids take online courses to get ahead.

@BSApp , the BS my kid attended (George) is very clear that they have paths for kids who have not had as many opportunities in math in midddle school but who want to accelerate in high school to do so without taking summer or independent courses. This suggests to me that your situation is not uncommon and that AOs recognize that not having taken advanced math does not mean you lack interest or ability.

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That’s not a problem. One of the big day school feeders to Lawrenceville (Princeton Day) also doesn’t offer math for middle schoolers past Algebra 1. I’d actually estimate that ~50% of my class is at the level where they’d have taken geometry as freshmen (i.e. currently in precalculus).

Fwiw, some very capable kids come from public districts that don’t even have Algebra 1. Part of the reason they go to BS is to have these opportunities. So while it may not be the case for the OP, don’t feel like you don’t have a chance if you haven’t been able to get a running start!

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The schools we know of in the NE will ask accepted students to complete an online test in math and a foreign language to determine appropriate level placement.

I think that’s the case for every BS discussed here.

And on that topic, as most BS math courses go beyond the same-named LPS course, it is not uncommon for a student who took geometry (or Algebra I, etc) in their last school to repeat it at the BS.

That said, most BS have a route enabling students to finish in calc (and sometimes beyond) regardless of their starting point.


Thank you for the assurance! I was worried that the schools would think I’m not capable because of the courses I took. Should I mention this a little in additional info? Or leave it out?

Personally, I think it’d be best to frame it in the context of the opportunity you want rather than as an explanation.

You could say something to the effect of “,I was really excited to see that I can complete a math sequence than includes calculus by my senior year.” Or “The flexibility at X to pour myself into ABC and to pursue it in a deeper way is really attractive to me.” What these schools love is an appetite for learning.

For many schools, Algebra 1 is the highest (and fast track) math. Really, not a problem! My son had friends who didn’t even have that in high school and they made up the ground just fine.

You aren’t hearing us. There is nothing to explain. Your situation is normal. My kids also “only” took algebra 1 in middle school. At a top district in MA. There’s nothing to explain.


Thank you for the feedback and support!

Yeah same with my middle school (although I’m in 9th grade now). It only went up to Algebra 1. I’m sure most middle schools only go up to Algebra 1 anyway.


Best of luck on your BS applications. If you don’t go to BS and are stuck in a district that doesn’t meet your math needs, CTY is one of the few credible source that offers financial aid.

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Thank you so much!