If you need to go to BS or just really want to go and you have only three schools on your list , please save yourself now and add SEVEN more schools if you’re full pay and add TEN more schools if you need any amount of financial aid. Full ride applicants should shoot for fifteen .
If you’re applying for FA - all schools will waive the application fee ( if you qualify and request it ) and you can easily set up more interviews ( now or as you go ) with schools via Skype or schedule an alum interview when available.
That said - lets imagine we’re in a normal admissions cycle for a minute because I think the fundamentals for a strategic list are still very much the same - even with all the uncertainty and Covid. Example : If you would like to add more schools because you have only highly selective schools like Exeter, Andover and Choate on your list, please do NOT compound the problem further or guarantee future ( M10 ) misery by adding more schools like Groton, Deerfield, SPS, Taft or Hotchkiss.
Instead- I strongly suggest that you do more research and look at all the wonderful schools ( coed and single sex ) in the Top 35 with acceptance rates in the 20%- 35% range - even if you’re a star student/ athlete FP or FA or legacy with a stellar SSAT score and amazing EC’s - I’m looking at you .
New Goal : Your list should be unique and tailored to you and your needs without being ridiculously short and “top” heavy. Make sense? If not - checkout the CC Hidden Gems threads for positive reinforcement and inspiration from past HG students/parents and see what you’re missing.
If you would like to see what usually happens when people only apply to very selective schools or too few schools - please read the very long and bloody Waitlist Thread from start to finish sometime - and that’s just a very small sampling because the brave kids and parents on that thread are the ones who stuck around M10 and were willing to post WL/ Rejection results and ask for help. Trust me - the vast majority of kids/ parents who post all year leading up to M10 usually disappear after decisions- so if we can- let’s try to avoid some common mistakes.
Some important things to consider :
1 ) There are no safety schools in the Top 35 for anyone so only apply to schools that you will be excited to attend if you’re accepted.
2 ) Very selective schools with big endowments are highly selective largely because people think they’re the only game in town for FA. They’re not. And TBH- these schools also get swamped with a lot of unholy prestige- seeking traffic, too, and that kind of traffic or a very low acceptance rate doesn’t always = better or best.
In other words- don’t ever let perceived prestige for a select group of big schools or their endowments dictate or shape your entire list.
Of course you should apply to some big box cattle call schools ( I’m a former “Top Five” big box cattle call school mom twice ! Go for it!! ) , but before you do you should know what every school in the Top 35 offers and include some of those schools on your list, too.
3 )Finally - and this speaks to the importance of achieving depth and putting together a smart and strategic list :
The number of apps you submit will become irrelevant very fast unless every single app you submit is heartfelt, realistic and makes sense.
- Yep… there’s always a 4. Did I mention that there are no safety schools in the Top 35 for anyone ? Is it ingrained in everyone’s brain now ? Because if I hear one person say Taft or any Top 35 BS is their “Safety School”, I’m coming out of retirement again and it won’t be pretty .
You got this so dive in and have fun exploring. Solid and thoughtful research right now is key so you can make your best case for admission for every school on your list later on . Good luck!