Admissions Overview

This section provides a glimpse into the boarding school admissions process. From how to apply to the 10 things you must not forget, our tips and resources can be a huge benefit to successfully navigating boarding school applications. Find answers to the most common questions, learn when it’s too late to apply and get familiar with the Boarding School Admission Application
View the most popular articles in Admissions Overview:
Updated January 12, 2018 |
Admissions: What Do Schools Want?

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.

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Updated July 28, 2016 |
Accommodated Testing as Part of the Private School Admission Process
Important information about testing before submitting applications to boarding schools.

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

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Updated June 22, 2018 |
Rolling Admissions
Two kinds of admissions are in use at American boarding schools: admissions with a fixed deadline and rolling admissions. We take a look at rolling admissions.
You will find two kinds of admissions in use at American boarding schools: admissions with a fixed deadline and rolling admissions. Let's take a look at rolling admissions and how it compares with admissions with a fixed deadline.
 
What is rolling admissions?
 
Rolling admissions refers to a school's practice of accepting applications within an admissions application window and acting on those applications within a couple of weeks or months as opposed to waiting until a fixed deadline to act upon those applications.
 
How does rolling admissions work?
 
Let's assume the rolling admissions window opens on September 1. You could submit your completed application on September 2 and expect to have a decision back from the school within a time frame from two weeks to two months. At a school with a fixed deadline for admissions you could submit your application on September 2 but not hear whether your child had been accepted or not until sometime in March, assuming the fairly common January 31 deadline.
Professor Allen Grove explains the various kinds of admissions in great detail. This is a longish but very thorough video which is well worth bookmarking for later viewing.
Many schools with rolling admissions have a priority deadline. You would be wise to submit your application well in advance of that deadline. Once all the places are filled, applications from candidates who would otherwise have been accepted will go on a wait list.
 
When is rolling admissions used?
 
Rolling admissions is used in 221 of the 297 boarding schools
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Updated November 28, 2017 |
Admissions Matters: Common Questions
Are you wondering about last minute admissions? Why do you have to visit schools? Answers to these and several more questions here.

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

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Updated May 26, 2016 |
Using the Boarding Schools Admission Application Form
The Association of Boarding Schools has a common admissions application form which simplifies the admissions application process.
If you are thinking about boarding school for your child, you will probably end up exploring the TABS site. The site has many useful features among them the Admission Application Form.

What's involved? The Boarding Schools Admission Application aims to simplify the applications process. Back in the 90s each member of TABS had its own application process and forms. As a result, if you applied to three schools, you had three completely different sets of applications to complete and submit. TABS identified the forms which most boarding schools commonly used. Thus was the Boarding Schools Admission Application Form created.

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
Some boarding schools will use the entire set of forms. Others will just use the Recommendation Forms. And so on. Check with each school's admissions office to find out how they want their application prepared.

Whats next?  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.
Also determine the additional forms individual schools may require as part of their admissions application package.
Make a list of admissions applications deadlines.
Make a
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