What are my chances of getting into PEA

I am an 8th grader currently living in South Korea interested in applying to the 9th grade for PEA (Along with Andover and Milton) this year.

I was Vice-president of my schools official Gavel club (A public speaking & leadership club, the student version of Toastmasters) , member of my district’s official Toastmasters organization, (Widely known Organization which focuses on leadership and public speaking.) member of my school’s official English Newspaper and English Debate team, and on the school’s Free-Tennis Team. Also, I play the Clarinet and was part of a widely known Youth Orchestra in my town. I have also played Tennis recreationally for 5 years now, participated in national speech competitions, (winning 3rd prize for one of the main ones) , and I maintain good grades. (All As) My SSAT score is in the 92~96 percentile.

Unfortunately, due to a move a couple of months ago, I am no longer a part of any of those activities anymore. And due to Covid, I am unable to register for new clubs or opportunities.

I know that I am behind many applicants, but I am extremely passionate about boarding school. The opportunities, the people, the community that school’s here in Korea can’t provide. However, I need some sort of Financial Aid. I’ve seen people say it’s harder for international students (Especially Koreans(?)) to receive FA. Is this true? Also, does anybody know if Exeter and Milton are need-blind?

I grew up in the States and moved to Korea a couple of years ago, so I do have an American citizenship. Will this help my chances of getting accepted/ receiving FA in any way?

Thanks so much!


Good for you and your interest @1234simple ! I would say a few things., in no particular order:

  1. Cast a much wider net. All the wiser parents here will tell you that whatever you think you will find at PEA, PA, and Milton, you could find at many, many other schools. You cite being very passionate about “boarding school” which is a far broader thing than those 3 schools (which have some pretty big differences between them, btw). Ask yourself what you’re looking for in the experience. Don’t get blinded by names or perceptions of prestige. There are scores of really great schools.

  2. Your grades and scores are fine. They certainly won’t disqualify you. As for the changes to your life, sounds like something I’d highlight as much as possible in your interviews and applications. I’d really explore what impact those changes had on you, and how you grew through them. I’d also highlight Toastmasters as that seems quirky and interesting to me (but only do that if it’s core to who you are).

  3. Being Korean (-American, then moving to Korea) means you don’t fit exactly into either the KA or K box. But you’re an ORM either way. The need for FA makes things that much tougher (which also highlights the importance of applying to more schools including several that are less competitive for entry. I don’t mean to be discouraging but you’ll be much happier on M10 2021 if you do this…

Good luck regardless! And in the interim maybe think about ways you can try to transcend the limitations imposed upon you by your move.

Considering my experience (check my threads) you have a better chance than I did.

These are all great EC’s, but I recommend you don’t tell them that you’ve given up these opportunities because of the move. This may be taken as a way for the admission council to say that you “quit” although you clearly didn’t. (The admission council looks for flaws, unfortunately).

As to your FA question, PEA, Milton, and Andover claim need-blind policies, so you shouldn’t worry. Your American citizenship will help if you use it in a way that benefits you (maybe like writing an essay about how the international move was “charting into unknown territory”.

Tip: Show demonstrated interest. I sent emails to around 100+ teachers across Exeter and Andover and spent a lot of time looking at the course catalog. The emails entailed which classes I would take if admitted and why. The interest you show is part of the admission factor.

I checked your thread and I have two things to say.
Firstly, Thank you for the great advice! Looking at your thread, I can see that you did a lot of ECs to get accepted into your schools, and it really motivated me to do better.
Secondly, I know this is late, but congrats on being accepted to all the schools you applied to! (And I think Exeter was a great choice!)

@1234simple Your really should consider heeding @DroidsLookingFor 's sound advice.

To reiterate and add:

  1. Cast a waaaaay wider net. Write a list of what you want in an ideal school (size, languages offered, sports, arts, teaching methods, teaching philosophy, dress code, number of dogs on campus - whatever you can think of), and research which schools have the things you prioritize the most. Include at least a couple that aren’t in the top 10 or 20. You don’t have to apply to all of them, but learning more about what’s out there will at the very least help you define what it is that you are seeking in a school - it’s actually interview prep.

  2. Know yourself, and present yourself honestly. We are in a pandemic. Kids rarely have a choice about a family move, and almost everyone has had to give up something. Do your best. You may even use these challenges as talking points in interviews. Have someone from toastmasters and/or the band write a supplemental recommendation. Don’t sell yourself short, but don’t fluff up your credentials either: let your amazing quirky self shine through! You are not a cardboard cutout; admissions admits people who they see as adding or contributing to their communities. People talk about “hooks” or being “pointy”, but schools also want and need students who will be active community members.

  3. You are a US citizen. That should mean that you don’t need a student visa. I don’t know if for financial aid purposes how you are viewed. But if you need financial aid, don’t be afraid to ask!

There is a CC saying: “Love the school that loves you.” Remember and embrace that.