I remember the anxiety very well, as though it were yesterday Senator Elliston Rahming had hired me to be the Deputy Director of a new private school he was starting from scratch. And I do mean from scratch. The budget for our first year would come entirely from tuition income. Period. Moreover, I was charged with making sure the seats were filled by the time we opened for business in September 1995. Now, remember that back in the 90s the Internet was in its infancy. There was no social media to trumpet the opening of our new school. We only had the local press and word of mouth. Against that backdrop, let me pose some questions to heads of boarding schools, owners of boarding schools, and anybody interested in filling seats at their school.
1. My school's enrollment is declining. I can't afford a marketing professional. What should I do?
Saying that you can't afford a marketing professional is like saying you can't afford insurance. It's a must-have. I understand that you are thinking that marketing is a major expense. Don't think of it that way. Think of marketing as a profit center. You see, when the marketing professional does her job, you will see results. If your budget is really tight, I suggest that you interview a recent college marketing graduate. Your giving her a job where she can prove how good she is will benefit both of you. Her accomplishments will shine in her resume. Your seats will be
What do boarding schools look for as they review your child's application for admission? Everything. Well, probably not everything. But the more items on a school's admissions' checklist which you can cross off, the better. Since your child will most likely be heading off to boarding school in 10th grade, start thinking about the things boarding schools look for by the time your child is in 6th grade. Back to everything. Truthfully, acceptance at a boarding school is not based on any one thing. The school looks at each applicant's profile in depth. Decisions to admit students are made by a committee. That means your child's profile must impress several people with their varying perspectives.
Now, let's get one very common sentiment out of the way before we proceed much further. Many parents want their child to go to Exeter or Andover. Those are great schools, but they are extremely competitive, with acceptance rates of 17% and 14% respectively. Indeed, approximately 30 boarding schools have acceptance rates less than 30%. So, apply to an extremely competitive boarding school if you must. Just take the precaution of applying to several much less competitive schools. You can choose from over three hundred boarding schools with excellent programs, amenities, and reputations.
Incidentally, compare that choice of schools with the educational opportunities available in your town or city. The best thing about boarding school is that you can match your needs and requirements for your child's education very closely.
Is Independent School Right for Your Child?
Although independent schools are not required (and receive no governmental funding) to accommodate and provide related services to students with specialized educational needs, many excellent independent schools both routinely and enthusiastically enroll children who require these types of accommodations. When considering your child’s education, do not count out private schools, anticipating they will be uncooperative or dismissive of your child’s needs.
Not all students with an identified disability or disabilities require high levels of intervention in the academic setting, and in fact, many students are able to persevere and experience successin spite of the learning obstacles presented by their disability or disabilities.
Parents should always remember that they are their student’s #1 advocates, replaced in this role only by their student as they begin to learn and understand their own exceptionalities and educational needs. Parents should not feel as though an independent school education is something they cannot pursue for their child simply because of a disability.
Standardized Testing: Its Importance and Value in Admission
The demands of the admission process for independent schooling can vary greatly from school to school, but it is safe to assume your student will need to sit for at least one form of standardized testing as part of any school’s application process. In recent years, standardized testing has come under scrutiny. With increased emphasis on the weight it carries when measuring student academic achievement and in academic decision making, educators and parents alike have questioned the need and value of
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