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Applying to Boarding Schools: Application Tips

When applying to boarding schools, it’s important to plan ahead in order to complete all components of the application process. This may seem obvious, but with numerous requirements, including standardized testing, interviews, financial aid forms, recommendations and more depending on the school, make sure you’re on top of what you need completed and when.

Here are 7 quick boarding school application tips:

1. Apply Early and Pay Attention to Deadlines. Waiting until the last minute is not the best idea when applying to boarding schools. Many schools have competitive admission cycles, and late applications may cause you to be waitlisted. Applying early also gives you time to track down missing pieces, and make sure your application for admission is completed prior to deadlines. The same holds true for financial aid applications; waiting to apply may mean you lose out on potential funding or scholarship opportunities. Meeting deadlines could make or break your boarding school application.

2. Complete the application using the school’s preferred method. There are several ways you can apply to boarding school, including the common application, online application and paper application. If you’re using the common application, be sure to check that your school accepts it, and verify if there are supplementary forms required by the school. Some schools prefer online applications over paper, while others only accept online applications. Check with your admission office to determine the best way to submit yours.

3. Determine if a campus visit or interview is required. Not all schools require a campus visit or interview, but most request that at least an interview is completed. For students who are unable to travel to the campus, admission offices will often conduct Skype interviews in lieu of an in-person visit. Want tips on the boarding school interview or making the most of your on-campus visit? Read our Boarding School Interviews Decoded and Making the Most of your On-CampusVisit blogs.

4. Arrange for all required standardized testing. Most schools clearly list the required and/or acceptable standardized testing options. Once you know what is required, be sure to schedule your testing well in advance. Keep in mind that taking the test prior to application deadlines isn’t enough; you need to make sure your scores are received prior to any listed deadlines. You may want to take the test more than once if you’re not happy with your initial results, so plan ahead to allow for a secondary testing date if necessary. Looking for some advice? Check out 5 Tips for Taking the SSAT.

5. Request teacher recommendations early. Give teachers ample time to complete their recommendations. To make the process easier for them, clearly outline the deadlines for submission and if the recommendation is a paper-copy, provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope so they may send the recommendations directly to the school. Remind teachers of deadlines, and be sure to thank them for helping you apply to boarding school.

6. Answer all application questions thoroughly and honestly. An incomplete or inaccurate application could jeopardize your chances of being accepted. Be honest in your responses, as this is the only way the admission office can truly know if you have potential to be successful at a school. Withholding information about yourself or embellishing your application may hurt your chances for success should you be accepted.

7. Apply early for Financial Aid and Scholarships. This was covered earlier, but it warrants repeating: Apply early for financial aid and scholarships. Schools have limited funding, and waiting to apply may mean you lose out on receiving a package based on your financial need or merit. Make sure you complete all steps of the financial aid and scholarship applications, check on supplementary forms that you may need to submit, and follow up with additional documentation as requested.

Most schools have checklists available for you to follow, so be sure to ask if you don’t have one. If you have questions about the application process, check with the admission office for details.

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Stacy Jagodowski

Written by Stacy Jagodowski

Ms. Jago joined the Cheshire Academy community in August 2013 as the director of strategic marketing and communications. Prior to coming to Cheshire Academy, she spent six years working in communications offices at both colleges and private school, as well as five years in admission at both boarding schools and day schools.

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