SSAT Scores

I’m 13 From NY applying for 10th grade. I have really good grades, I am a talented writer(so I’ve been told), pretty sure I will do well during interviews, and am confident my teachers will give me good recommendations. I also have good ECs and awards. The catch is my SSAT. On the practices, I’ve only been scoring a 84percentile for math, 60english, and 50verbal(oof). I’m applying to these schools-in order of preference


I know most these schools are test optional but Lawrenceville is my first choice and I really want to go. Do you think the score will severely impact my chances? I’m a straight A student and been told I’m gifted, but i make an endless amount of careless errors on my practice tests and I’m scared I won’t get accepted into any schools. Could anyone tell me if the scores matter that much? Could I still have a chance? Any tips for studying/taking the test?

Also my test is end of October.

Hey @lilyesh. Your SSAT scores aren’t the best, but I’m sure that with an hour of day of practice, you can improve your scores greatly. I’ve personally had experience with the Stanford OHS application (I did not get in), which I have been told is slightly less harder than the Exeter/Andover app. I had good recs, a list of activities (no interview though). There are are two reasons why I don’t think I got in.

First of all, my activities were just clubs and community service. While there is nothing wrong with this, I don’t think I appealed to the admissions commity as an outstanding applicant. The commit might be looking at individuals who have really shown their skills in public. Things like competitions, music shows, etc. Has your work ever been published?

Secondly, was my SSAT scores. When preparing for the SSAT, I prepared mostly for the Quantitative and Reading sections, which were my strong suits. BIG MISTAKE. I ended up getting a 95 Math, 98 Reading, but a 76 Verbal. Grammar and vocabulary have never been on my side and refusing to study those topics just weakened my application. It looks like your low scores are in reading and verbal. As a strong writer, if you can study both of these topics for 30 minutes a day until your test date in October, I can assure you that your scores will improve greatly. For math, a few problems a day will do.

While it might seem impossible to do during the “Great Year of 2020”, try to reach out to the people around you to make your application interesting. Maybe share your writing out with local newspapers or your school. With good essays, good interview, outstanding ecs, and good SSAT scores, I am sure that you will have high chances of being admitted.

I hop you can learn from my mistakes. :smile:

@casualforumer FWIW - your SSAT score was very unlikely a contributing factor to your application results last year. That is an excellent score and the verbal subscore is fine. The SSAT is a hurdle and not directly related to a chance of acceptance once above the hurdle score.

There are some folks on this board that have done very well despite having low scores. I think coming from NY ( you didn’t say if it was NYC or upstate or elsewhere) won’t give you a boost. There will be many applying from there esp if it’s NYC. I’d suggest beefing up your SSAT by practicing. You can only present the best application possible. So do your best and hope for the best.
BTW, you can have outstanding scores and grades and not gain acceptance to any school.

@Happytimes2001 definitely doesn’t help that I’m from Long Island, but I also decided to apply for Loomis and possibly EF New York. I’m hoping to get into at least one of these schools especially because all of them except Lawrenceville are test optional.

I don’t know where all of these schools are, but I will tell you this, if you apply to schools that have lots/many other applicants from your area, it will be MUCH harder to get in. They are just not going to take that many kids from one spot. Even going a little bit further than normal should help. Most kids want to go 1-3 hours away. Go beyond that and you’ll likely improve your chances a lot.
Exeter and Andover have very low acceptance rates, so I would consider them to be reaches for all. I’d delete one of those choices and add several more than are in the 15-25% acceptance rate area. There is not going to be an educational difference between a school accepting 10/100 kid or 80/100 kids, both have a large group to choose from and will be able to get the kids they want who they hope will be successful.

There might be more applicants this year with more schools online due to Covid, or there may be fewer. No one knows. I think it’s likely they’ll be more since kids will have lost a year due to Covid in some areas. Or parents will be frustrated by the online/hybrid learning model. A lot will depend on what happens this Fall.

Have you visited any of these schools? Gone online and done your homework? Hopefully you will be accepted to one/many of the schools and be able to do revisits. One can learn so much during the interview. Remember you are interviewing them also.

@Happytimes2001 I would love to go to school farther but my parents as it is don’t want me more than a 2 hours away. Exeter and Andover is even too far in their opinion. especially due to my medical needs. I have done my research, but I want to go to a 600+ kid school, that is not religious. it also has to be co-ed. Also, not many boarding school applicants from my area as the public school system is one of the best in the country.

Can I ask why you are applying for 10th instead of 9th? You are going to be a very young 10th grader and will likely be in a grade with kids who are 15, 16, turning 17. Many BS kids have re-classed in order to have 4 years at the school. I would suggest this might be a good idea for you as well so that you can be with your age mates.

Your SSAT “scores” are low, but those are practice tests. I would say they are typically too low for those schools, but plenty of kids with those scores do get into schools like that - it really depends on the rest of your application. None of us can really give any kind of advice unless we know what else you do.

You say you have been told you are a gifted student but that you are making a lot of silly mistakes. I think BS are really looking for the kids that can handle tough situations. Most AOs I have spoken to would take a kid who is good at getting back up when knocked down vs a gifted student. BS are looking for kids, not just students.

@lilyesh Well, I think you should apply and see what happens. I also think you might be surprised at the amount of kids who apply from your area. Many BS are filled with kids who came from public schools that were excellent ( otherwise, they would have a harder time getting the scores needed). Also people who move to areas with high performing public schools often are interested in education. Our area had many well known public schools ( nationally ranked) and still many kids went to private schools for various reasons.
While, there are many kids who repeat at BS, I don’t think it’s necessary. Many repeated because they didn’t have a great 9th grade elsewhere and wanted to start when everyone else did, many for sports ( this is most popular), some for what I’d think is academic reasons. Most of the repeats are not at the top of their class academically but everyone has a different reason. Some of the international kids were on a different timeline. No academic weakness at all. If you are strong academically and on par socially/emotionally there is no reason to repeat. My kid has classmates who came in as 10th graders and they all integrated very well. Again, it really depends on what makes you most comfortable.

@Happytimes2001 I am not repeating because I am ahead socially hence why I have a lot of trouble connecting with kids my age, but not with older kids. Most people after talking to me would take a guess and say I’m at least 14, most would say I’m 15, and some 16. I think I can easily raise my SSAT scores, which would help me a lot. Also, my personality will help. I am the one who told my parents I want to go to BS. I (with permission) scheduled interviews, filled out inquiries, and even did part 1 of my application. I am a natural leader, and my personality shines through while talking to adults. I think being naturally charismatic can help me through my interviews. I am good at presenting information, because I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe in.

@one1ofeach I have struggled in the past with many things, and recovered. I think it’s all about how you present it. I won’t apply as a repeat because I get along much better with older kids anyway.

It’s great that you are very confident with this path. I still suggest that you at least ask AO’s if re-classing would be a good idea for you. I think, since you haven’t been at BS, you may not quite understand the culture at many schools. Last year my sophomore’s three closest friends were a senior (who was already 18) and two freshmen (who were his age). SO many kids at BS re-class that you could re-class and still have 1/3 of the class be significantly older than you. Additionally, grade divides are greatly lessened in BS and it isn’t unusual to have friends, very close friends, from all grades.

I would echo @one1ofeach’s advice to - at the very least - probe the question with AOs. Don’t forget too that with placement tests you can not only continue to progress academically. but may find yourself (assuming your current coursework presents well on your placement tests) in classes with older kids even though you’d be nominally a 9th grader. All but one of my kids’ classes (a mandatory intro english class) are filled with older kids.

@lilyesh Repeating seems pretty common these days ( esp with boys and esp for athletic reasons). It’s really common in some communities. I have a nephew who was “redshirted/repeated” for athletic reasons. I worked out for him. He now plays his sport in college and he needed the extra year to be tall enough to compete.

It used to be, that kids (boys esp) who were weak academically coming out of high school would take an extra year as a PG. That’s less common now. Today, the repeats seem to happen in 9th/10th grade. It’s all good. Just depends on what the goals of the student and parent are and what makes the most sense.

Some parents really push for it and I have seen it make a difference in the kids social interactions ( esp at very young ages). But personally, I wouldn’t do it for my kids.
If you’re not interested in repeating than I would not bring it up. I’m not sure why it was brought up upthread ( sorry I didn’t read the whole thread). If it’s age based only ( quick read) there doesn’t seem to be a need. Again, it’s your choice. I’ve seen kids who are really young for their age do very well and kids who were old in the grade not do so well. It depends on the kid.

@Altras. I know that the SSAT is not the one deciding factor of the application, but in terms of viewing the whole application, I just think that boosting all the sections of the SSAT to the high 80’s to low 90’s would be beneficial (of course, along with maintaining a strong application) so that the admissions committee can look at certain aspects of your mathematical, verbal, and analytical aptitudes.

I brought it up because OP is very young + low SSAT scores + says they are academically gifted but make constant errors on tests + says they have overcome a lot + says they only get along with older kids + says they are socially ahead (although I am not actually sure what that means).

All that together says to me a kid who might need some time to mature and learn how to socially fit into a boarding school. Staying the very youngest kid in the grade doesn’t, IMO, serve that purpose. Those things are all like tiny ding ding dings to me, something needs a little nudge back into a good path. Obviously, it’s the internet, we don’t really know anything about anyone and we are guessing wildly with all our “advice!”

Your “medical needs” being “clinical anxiety/MDD”.

Being in a new school, away from home, can be a stressor. These schools are high pressure.

You should be open to smaller schools that either offer services for your needs, or are in an area where services are locally available, should the need arise.

Reread and take to heart everything @one1ofeach has posted in this thread.

There are some things in this thread and your other posts that indicate you might have an attitude that needs softening, at least for the purpose of applications. It might be a west Long Island thing.

I concur with @one1ofeach and @stalecookies

I don’t know folks, some of these replies are really snippy. OP never asked to repeat a grade and yet it was “suggested” multiple times. Also, don’t know anything about “West Long Island” or clinical anxiety. Nor do I see it mentioned in this thread. But if OP has anxiety it could be a non issue at any sized school.Most BS have specialized helpf along these lines.
In addition, there are some schools which are tiny, like Groton that are very high pressure.

OP has a thread on the subject of her “medical issues”:

OP is only interested in schools with >600 students. This, coupled with geographic restrictions, is very limiting. There may be schools that are better able to handle OP’s gifts and challenges that happen to be smaller.

OP is from Long Island, and wishes to stay within in a 2 hour drive. This means that OP is likely closer to the City, not the East End, and there are some cultural differences. Reread post #9. The tone needs softening and refining.