Yesterday a high school classmate of mine called to tell me that her daughter had had been accepted to boarding school in the
One surprising fact I discovered was the sheer volume of boarding schools throughout the
Most of the schools will have a website from which you can source more information and contact admission personnel who can answer your questions directly. The schools are usually very willing to send catalogues and other instructive materials. One important question you should ask is about their application requirements, especially testing such as the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) or the Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE) . Both tests are approximately 3 hours long so preparation is necessary. Order or download the study guides available from these sites. Also Amazon.com has reviews of several prep books for these tests. If your child is going to sit the exam he must be familiar with the types of questions he is likely to face. It is important too that he develops test taking strategies as they pertain to time management and question choices or even question omission as points are deducted in these tests for wrong answers. If you can afford it, get a reputable tutor to guide your child with the practice tests.
Of course, the outcome of the standardized test is not the only basis for admission to these schools. Therefore please do not harangue your child if he did not score in the 99th percentile. The selection process is not predicated solely on academics and the result is definitely unpredictable.
The following are all taken into consideration:
- The application itself,
- The school transcript,
- Recommendations from certain teachers,
- Feedback from interviews conducted (sometimes these are done via telephone)
- Test scores
In other words the test is but one element to be considered and believe it or not, there will be cases where a child who scores in the 99th percentile, is not admitted. It is important that your child be himself in his application and let the school admission officers get a genuine feel of who he is and why they should want him to be a part of their school.
Discussion forums like collegeconfidential.com were very helpful in contributing to my understanding of the experiences of applicants, successful and unsuccessful alike. Many participants there highlight the importance of visiting schools to determine their suitability. For international students this may not be an option, but interestingly many schools actually invite successful international applicants to visit before they indicate their acceptance. Yes, many of these schools are well endowed and they pay travel and other expenses for this purpose as they are keen to ensure that their school population is diverse.
This brings me to a final word on tests. Remember if you are a foreigner and English is not your first language then the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) will be required.
The question of cost of attendance to these schools is itself a biggie and of course a major topic by itself. All I will say here is that many of the schools do offer financial aid and their policies in this regard are best determined by contacting the schools.