We parents are always full of questions about boarding schools. We are aware of residential schools, but we are not familiar with how they operate. We also want to find out how to apply to boarding school and whether we are eligible for financial aid. Here then are my thoughts about some of the more common questions I receive.
Should I read my child's admissions essay?
Like a good attorney would answer, "It depends." I am a firm believer in not writing your child's admissions essay. Reading it is another matter. By the way, the admissions essay is the exercise which appears as part of the application. Typically you will see an instruction requiring the candidate to write answers in her hand. The essay must also be her original work. Madeira's essay form gives you a good idea of what is required.
Take time to explain to your child that what she writes and how she presents her ideas add up to a very powerful impression on the school's admissions' staff. Unlike a test or examination, there are no time limits when she writes her essay. She can even do a rough draft if she likes and then make a fair copy, as the English say. That way the content not only represents her best effort but the presentation shows her at her best. She wouldn't turn up for the interview wearing grungy clothes, would she? Therefore, she shouldn't submit an
The manner in which individual boarding schools use the admission application package is up to them. The application package consists of the following forms:
- General Information
- Applicant Questionnaire
- English Teacher Recommendation Form
- Math Teacher Recommendation Form
- Head/Principal/Counselor Recommendation Form
- Download the forms. You can also view the forms online. They are all in Acrobat's PDF format which is viewable using the free Acrobat Reader.
- Determine the forms for each school to which you are applying by contacting the admissions offices.
- Determine the additional forms individual schools may require as part of their admissions application package.
- Make a list of admissions applications deadlines.
- Make a list of
Back in the 80s when our daughters applied to boarding schools, the process was entirely paper driven. The schools sent us thick envelopes full of forms which we had to complete. Then we mailed the completed applications to the schools. Thirty-five years later, I am very pleased to report that most schools applications processes have gone digital. That makes things so much easier. These days there are essentially four ways to apply to boarding schools:
1. Complete the application forms which the school has on its website.
2. Complete the common application which you can find on the SSAT website.
3. Complete the common application which you can find on the TABS website.
4. Complete the paper application forms which you have either downloaded or received from the school.
Applications on Individual School Web Sites
If you are applying to just one or two schools, then it might make the most sense to simply go to those schools' websites and complete the applications right there. Many schools allow you to complete the main application form online. You will still have to download teacher recommendation forms and requests for school transcripts, as well as addressing and putting stamps on the envelopes required.
You can also pay the application fee online with your credit or debit card. But, if you choose to use the school's application forms, just remember that those forms are specific to that school. They cannot be used for applications to other schools. That's the basic difference between applying on a school