So you didn't get into Boarding School?

I’ve been there, too.
Last year, actually. I applied for seven schools: Andover, Choate, Middlesex, Exeter, Lawrenceville, Concord Academy, and St. Paul’s. My older sister had gotten into Andover the year earlier, and I went into the admission process with one idea in my mind:
Boarding school will be my life.
Boarding school was the only way for me to get into an Ivy League. If my sister got in, I had to as well. I will only succeed if I go to boarding school. My parents spent too much money on my application, I have to get something back.

My mind, as you can see, was twisted to make boarding school everything. Like many others, I put my entire self worth upon boarding school admissions. If you are doing this as well, and am reading this thread with a heavy heart, allow me to tell you one thing:
Boarding school is NOT everything.
I applied again this year, and I had a school trip from March 3rd to March 11th. Before I left, I asked my dad: “If I don’t get in, will you be sad again?”, he said something that changed my viewpoint:
“Boarding school doesn’t guarantee anything.”
I needed that, and perhaps, you should be reminded of that as well.
Boarding school is NOT everything. You have a wonderful life planned out ahead of you. God has everything under control.
You are amazing, you are incredible, you are ambitious, smart, talented, absolutely amazing. YOU are so rare. You are so thoughtful, so hard working. You’re still in middle/high school and you’re already going to interviews, writing college-like essays, and going through the admission process. YOU ARE SO STRONG.
Please, do not cry about this.
Last year, my entire worth was dependent upon boarding school. When I saw my waitlists and rejections, I cried the entire night, my self worth was lost, my confidence— gone.
Exactly one year later, I am at peace.
I hope you know that as a student of ambition, knowledge, faith, and character, that you WILL have a bright future. You WILL get through this. Boarding school is not everything. Your dedication as a student will bring you far at your current school. You’re special. You’re applying for boarding school for a reason… You’re smart, you have talent, you have a unique character. That alone will bring you far.
Repeat after me:
Boarding school is not everything.
No matter what, you will go far. Work hard and believe in yourself.
After two years of suffering with my shame, I have one message I hope you keep with yourself in the future:
You will go far.


Also, the Ivy League is not everything - not even close!


gosh this helped :confused: Where are you from (if you don’t mind me asking)?

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@Qwaszxzx I’m from New Jersey, but currently living in Hong Kong :slight_smile: [ethnically Asian]

Thanks. After getting WL’d from every single school… I just feel like such a fool. I described it as empty elsewhere. Life is just a bundle full of surprises and maybe that one wasn’t meant to be.

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@usastudent101 // Don’t worry, when I was wait listed and the school held a brunch in my city, I went to speak with the head of school. When I said I was wait listed, he said, “We don’t give waitlists to just anybody.”
You are an absolutely amazing student, wait listed or not. For now, perhaps continue showing interest in the schools. They want to see your dedication, and my friend was actually taken off the wait list last year.
In the meantime, allow me to share with you a quote I read a few hours earlier, which I absolutely loved:
You will get there when you are meant to get there and not a moment sooner. So relax, breath, and be patient.
If your goal is to be a doctor, let’s work hard and get there. You will succeed, boarding school or not :slight_smile:

bro are you still in High school or have gone to college now @ofjennifers

Very nice post, well said.

@ofjennifers you’re right. It’s just I thought I would make it, and after seeing the letter I was so let down. I was prepped for a rejection but a waitlist… It’s just I thought I had alot of hope but after reading through all these threads, wailist just seems like a euphemism for rejection now.

How do I show I still have interest? Do I sent letters or emails? Should I send them often r just once. I want to express intrest (even though I know how small the chances are) but I don’t want to come off as obsessed.

@Qwaszxzx right now I’m a ninth grader in Hong Kong :slight_smile:

@usastudent101 - I definitely connect. I truly thought I was going to get in last year as well. But yes, reading those waitlist and rejection letters for me was so hard. To read, “We regret to inform you.” or, “We’re sorry…” just made my heart plummet to my chest. And yes, waitlists are very hard to get off of because now, the admission team is looking more closely at your skills. For example, they accept a kid because they’re really good at swimming. But then that kid does not attend because they were accepted by another school that they’d want to go to. The admission team will look at the kids that they have waitlisted, and choose a swimmer to replace them.
To show your interest, immediately reply to all schools and confirm the waiting list [so they know to keep you on it]. In your email, you should send it to your interviewer and cc the admission team to show them that you’re interested.
In my letters last year, I talked about my favorite memory I had during my interview/tour of the school, and why. I also talked about my recent achievements. Lastly, end with why you love the school so much. Perhaps, if you agree, talk about your passion for it, and that if you’re taken off the waitlist, you’ll definitely go.
Be careful about saying that you’ll definitely go to all schools. Say it to the one school you feel passionate about.
Remember: Keep your emails relatively short. No essays or rants, and physical letters are not needed :slight_smile:
In terms of how often you should send them, perhaps once right now. If they reply, you should reply to them. If they don’t, wait a month, or however long you feel fit, and update them on further interest and achievements. Of course, don’t send a letter every day :slight_smile:
But if you’re losing hope, don’t:
This year, I’ve been accepted by two schools.
Even if you don’t get in this year, if you’re interested: work hard and grow stronger. Take the mistakes you made in this admission to apply in the next admission process.
But if you don’t want to apply again, that’s reasonable as well. As my first post says: Boarding school isn’t everything. :slight_smile:

Happy to report from the perspective of actual life, some 30-40 years out, that not getting into boarding school (or, in my case, not the one you want so you don’t go at all) means absolutely nothing for your future. Immediate future sure (OK, no boarding school next year), but the rest? Feh. There’s absolutely zero correlation in my circle between attendance at boarding school and a successful happy life, and some suggestion that it’s actually a lousy choice for some.

Thank you for this beautiful post! I really need it right now! I was just waitlisted at my top choice for local private schools,and Deerfield. I was also rejected from Andover which I’ve had my heart set on since the seventh grade. I cried two or three times over the past couple of days because of it.I plan on trying again with boarding schools next year,but this post just really made my day. Thankfully I have other options for local private schools,but I really want to try again with boarding skls.

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@ofjennifers If you don’t mind me asking which boarding schools did you get into this year and what’s been your experience re-applying?

@KimberlyLaila - I’m so happy that this post has been able to help you. This year I was accepted into Andover and Choate.
This year, during my re-application, I’ve learned a LOT.
First of all, communication is key! Always remember to write an email thanking the interviewer and tour guide. For my interviewer, I always write about a specific memory that I enjoyed. For example, “I met and was greeted by so many students, and felt such a strong sense of community…”
Also, do your research! Go onto the site, see what the school’s values are, their goals. In the essays, incorporate them. For example, saw that one school was really into mental health and had wellness week. I wrote about how much I connected with it as well in my essays.
Also, referring back to the communication, remember that you can always email other teachers about your interests. For example, I emailed the community service leaders of the schools and linked them to my community service site. I always cc’d admissions to show that I held interest in the school.
If you have material you want to show, PLEASE DO make a profile! Last year, I was lazy and did a bit, then felt reluctant to do more. Remember, everything you give to them will be ALL they know about your entire character. Add as much as possible!
Overall, the admissions process this year has been a lot smoother than last year. Last year was my first time doing it and it was a shaky road of uncertainty. Remember, you will be fine. No matter what you will succeed!
I also plan to write a huge masterpost on my tips for boarding school in the near future. I just want to write something that may benefit others in a way that I needed when I was applying as well, so you can check back later for that :slight_smile: I’m not really sure how long until I post it, but it will definitely be before the next admissions process!
Good luck <3

FYI- and this is just my two cents ( not directed at anyone ) : You can have mind-blowing stats and a BS can still think you’re not ready for this experience. Just sayin.

Maturity and readiness is more important than a fab SSAT score or an awesome EC. A lot of it has to do with how they see you fitting in… because YOUR comfort and well-being ( Thank God ) is paramount to everything else! I don’t want to be mean or hurt anyone’s feelings but I’ve seen way too many people gloss over that part ( when they’re waitlisted or rejected ) and blame other things … like a poor interview, not being athletic enough, etc. Oh, and my personal favorite: An unqualified legacy or athlete probably took my spot!!

Yeah, no- not even warm.

There are many tips for a new app cycle that I can give but here’s just a quick one to think about now : Showing interest in things that WILL make you a little uncomfortable ( see taking risks- which is actually a BS requirement ). Maybe you’ve never played a team sport before but the school offers something you’d like to try- Now we’re talking! Could you imagine a BS campus with a bunch of people who only do what they’re good at? Yeah- they can’t either because there wouldn’t be growth opportunities for anyone and without growth opportunities- Why bother? IMHO- a Key piece of a BS app ( which is often overlooked ) has more to do with what you haven’t done and what might scare the you know what out of you. It’s not about perfect stats, or a wonderful but boring list of accomplishments or about how you plan to continue these things in the future. YAWN. You and everyone else.

WHY do you want to go? Why BS? That’s the burning question. When my kids applied to BS, I encouraged them to look at what would challenge them the most and what would take them out of their comfort zone. AND- they also had to articulate WHY they chose the schools on their list… because if they couldn’t make their case to me ( I was tough and didn’t part with app fees easily )- How could they possibly make their case to admissions? Simply put: A successful BS app requires depth and a vision for the future. It doesn’t dwell on the past and it has to make sense.

If you weren’t accepted this time around maybe this is a good time to do a little soul-searching before you apply again. Branch out! You’re older and a little bit more wiser now. :slight_smile:

Two quick tips:

BS is a tough uphill slog every. single. day. even for incredibly motivated/ mature students with awesome survival skills. Choose the schools you apply to very carefully. One school does NOT fit all… so be very careful and do your research! Name recognition or prestige shouldn’t even factor into your decision. Period. Why? Because that’s really stupid and you’re not stupid. If you haven’t heard of Kent ( or any school in the Top 30-40 ) - that’s actually YOUR problem not theirs. It’s simply not enough to look at a school like Exeter ( as an example ) and say: Well, Mark Zuckerberg went here so it must be amazing ! Noooooo. It doesn’t work that way. That’s not a reason. Why is Exeter amazing for YOU and will your reasons for applying make sense to THEM? AND- How could you POSSIBLY KNOW IF YOU HAVE"NT COMPARED EXETER TO OTHER SCHOOLS??

Also- veering off a bit : Need Blind = Cattle Call. Ask yourself this question : Do you really, really love NB school ( for all the right reasons ) or are you cattle ? Have you considered the possibility that a NB school is highly selective because everyone and their pet hamster is applying because it’s NB? Being NB is truly an awesome thing but that doesn’t mean it’s the best school for you or the best BS out there. My God- and don’t be so quick to swoon… thoroughly research each and every BS and make them EARN you’re application.

I’m going to catch some flak for that one but I don’t care.

Look- all BSs in the Top 30-40 are truly amazing and ALL of them are in a position to offer students full or very generous FA. And- for FP students they’re worth every. single. penny.

There is no secret sauce for BS ( or college) admissions but I will tell you this: The universe usually rewards people who go in with an open mind and do proper research. If you’re applying again… I’d get going. :wink:

Carry on and good luck.

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Hi, I loved reading your post.
I was wondering if you could tell me about your experience of the boarding school application process? SSAT scores, interviews, etc…

This post is wonderfully written, something we all need as admissions deadline creep up and M10 is soon waiting. Also, congrats to OP for persistence and getting into Andover and Choate this year!

Love this post.

Excellent post. It might be a while until you can write a substantial post about your “road to a BS” but if you have a couple minutes now, one question. What do you think made you a more attractive (successful) applicant this time as compared to your previous experience?