Boarding School For US and International Students
Applying to boarding school for international students is a daunting process. Because the goal is finding a school that fits, one must intentionally show attributes that admissions officers will grab onto. Specifically, you must be able to orchestrate grades, courses, test, extracurricular activities, essays and interviews. Without the right kind of help, this will be difficult for a teenager to handle. So focus on your academics and your passion but know that availing of an international boarding school consulting service is most helpful, especially for an international student.
Step 1: Preparation!
Be Honest – Ask yourself the question, “Do I really want to attend an international boarding school away from home?” It is okay if the answer is NO! Quite frankly, not many people leave home when they are only fifteen years old. If the answer is YES, then be passionate about the possibility of attending an international boarding school. Not only will you get a world-class education, the entire experience will be priceless.
Academic Preparation – While schools are not only looking for 4.0 GPA students, having good grades only make you a better candidate. If you decide that you might want to apply to boarding school, make sure you are keeping your grades as high as you can! Also, get an early start in practicing for the SSAT or the ISEE.
Extracurricular Activities – Boarding schools want student who can add to their existing community. If you have a specific passion, follow it. If you don’t, this is a great opportunity to try something new! Try writing for the school newspaper! Try cooking or writing poems. You are young! Schools do not expect you to have found your true passion at that point. Instead, they look for your enthusiasm in what you do.
Get Help – If you live abroad, applying to boarding schools can be a very intimidating and difficult process – everything from academic preparation to choosing which extracurricular activities might be the most effective in showing your enthusiasm. Thus, getting help is crucial for your success in the boarding school application process.
Step 2: Research!
Schools – If you are planning to spend three or four years at a school, finding the right one is CRUCIAL. An application consultant is most helpful but if you are completely unaware of the international boarding school scene, start here: http://www.boardingschools.com/find-a-school/guided-search.aspx Start “Guided Search” and fill out the criteria that you are looking for. Just to name a few schools:
- Phillips Academy, Andover MA
- Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter NH
- St. Paul’s School, Concord NH
- Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford CT
- Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville NJ
Tests – There are two common standardized tests required for admissions to a boarding school: the SSAT and the ISEE. Check the admissions website of each school to see which one of the two is required. Sometimes schools will accept both tests. Check to see when and where the tests are held. Check the SSAT and the ISEE website often to see the testing schedule.
- SSAT: http://www.ssat.org/test/special-accommodations/test-dates-and-deadlines
- ISEE: https://admission.erblearn.org/GeneralInformation.aspx (note: ISEE can only be taken once every six months)
Application Platform – Because different schools use different application platform, navigating through all of them will be confusing. Some have an independent system, some use https://www.gatewaytoprepschools.com , and some use the SSAT’s platform http://www.ssat.org/admission/the-sao .
Step 3: Application
Preparation – The summer before you apply, figure out when the online application platforms go live. At that point, fill in personal information into the applications to get them out of the way. Print out the essay prompts and start thinking about what you might want to write about.
Schedule an interview – Boarding schools expect you to complete an interview before they consider you as an applicant. In order to go for interviews and campus tour, you must call the Office of Admissions and arrange an interview. If you are nervous, have your consultant help you out!
Following up – Many students are unaware of following up with an admissions officer. If you have a particular school in mind, please update your admissions officer with new information. Admissions office wants to know that you are passionate about their school. If you won an award or participated in a club subsequent to your interview, have your consultant help you out in drafting a follow up email.
Essays – Rightfully so, the essay section of an international boarding school application is the most difficult and time consuming. Before you dive to write your entire life in an 800 word essay, brainstorm with someone and focus on a specific event or thing that can illustrate who you are and what you are passionate about.
Step 4: March 10th! Decision day
Results – All school decisions should be celebrated. Admissions officers scrutinized your profile and decisions were made based on your FIT with the school.
Financial Aid – The only need-blind boarding school in the United States is Phillips Academy. Other schools will consider your financial circumstances for acceptance. Unfortunately, international students applying for financial aid may have a difficult time in gaining admissions. If you were admitted with not enough aid, make sure you talk to your consultant before you rescind your offer. There may be other ways to get a new financial aid package.
Decision – By sometime in the spring, you will be required to commit to a school. You may remain on the waitlist if you wish but there is no guarantee. Getting advise from your educational consultant will not only help you decide the best school for you but your consultant may also help you get off the waitlist.