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Boarding School Decision Time: Q&A

Boarding school decision day is fast-approaching, and as students and families make their final choices, there's still work to do. Most decisions are due on or before April 10, which means students may be spending the next several days doing campus revisits, comparing their school options and ultimately making a choice that will impact their lives forever.

Katie Garrett, founder of Garrett Educational Consulting, told us some of the most common questions prospective students have at this point.

Q: Should I go back to revisit days even if I’ve already seen the school?

A: YES! There’s a difference between visiting a school when you don’t know it’s a possibility versus when it's on your acceptance list. Once you’ve been accepted, you will likely see the school through a different lens. It may reinforce your interest in the school, but it also may make you see things you didn’t see before. Revisit days also give you a chance to see and meet current students -- your potential future classmates.

Q: How many schools should I go back to revisit?

A: If possible, go back to at least your top two. It will give you a point of comparison.

Q: What should I do on campus during revisit days?

A: There are so many options!

  • If you have a special interest or athletic/art/music path you're hoping to take, try to meet with the chairs of the various departments. Ask them some questions to help make sure you fit in with their community. For example, if you're an athlete, you could ask "Will I be able to play an active role on the team?" Some schools are stacked with older kids and you may not get the playing time you want, so you need to know that going in.

  • Sit in on a class and see how the school's teaching and learning style will mesh with your personality.

  • Be observant. Pay attention to what the current students are doing. Are they engaged with each other? Is there interaction between faculty and students? Do they seem happy? Don’t be afraid to talk to current students and ask what it’s like. Questions like “What made you choose this school?” and “What’s one thing you’d change?” will help you learn more.

  • If you know you're someone who needs additional academic support, consider meeting with the learning resource director or staff, or visit the health center. Above all, you need to feel like the school offers the support you'll need to be successful.

Q: Do I need to wait until decision day to let my chosen school know?

A: You have until April 10 to let your school know, but you can certainly let them know as soon as you've made a decision.

If you've been waitlisted at other schools you're interested in, express your continued interest to those schools and tell them you'd like to remain on the waitlist.

Q: How likely am I to get off the waitlist after April 10?

A: Everyone doesn’t go through the boarding school process in the same way. Occasionally, schools will start pulling from their waitlist after April 10 and there are a number of boarding schools that may still have open spots after April 10. The school will typically reach out and let you know when they’ve closed their waitlist.

But here's a crucial note about waitlists: the most important part is being excited about the schools where you’ve been accepted. People put so much emphasis on pining after the schools who have waitlisted them, but your focus should be on the ones that have admitted you. Because the reality is some schools don’t go to their waitlists and you don’t want to bank on that.

Q: Do I need to let the other school(s) know I'm not choosing them?

A: Yes. Remember, they are likely trying to manage their own waitlists and they’ve put a lot of time and effort into reviewing your application as well. It's a nice reciprocal gesture to let them know you've chosen to go somewhere else so they can free your potential spot up for another student. Also make sure to thank them for their time, effort and consideration.

Q: What else do I need to do?

Take the time to send (handwritten!) thank-you notes to teachers, counselors and whoever else wrote your letters of recommendation.

Need more info on admissions, finding the right fit, nailing your interview and all things boarding school? Contact Garrett Educational Consulting at 980-677-0311 or email us here.

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