Now is a great time!
When considering applying to boarding schools, it’s ideal to consider the process a year in advance. Making such an important decision takes time, planning, and of course, visiting! Here is a break down of ways you can get started over the summer:
May/June: Think about who you are and what you are looking for. What are your interests and goals? What types of clubs, athletic programs, and academic subjects are you interested in?
How do you best see yourself growing as person over the next few years, and what will help you along the way? Mentorship? Opportunities? Independence? Make a list of what you are looking for—this will help narrow your search down when you turn to Google!
Create a list of 10-20 schools that fits your criteria- it is important to consider location, as this will be your new home away from home! Consider your past academic performance: Your list should have a good mix of schools that are more competitive, schools that you have a moderate chance of gaining acceptance to, and also schools that you feel confident you would be accepted into.
July/August: Visit the websites of each school and request information! You can also call each school’s admission office and ask questions, or even schedule a tour of the facilities over the summer. While there may not be many (or any!) students on campus over the summer, you can still get a feel for the campus and get to know your admission counselor—chances are, they will put you in touch with current students you can chat with to learn more about what school is like during the academic year.
Once you gain more knowledge about each school, you can then begin to narrow your list down to about 7-10 that fit you best.
September/October: Start thinking about your application! Check with your admission counselor at each school and learn about their application process—what standardized tests will you need to gain entrance? You may also need to consider what teachers will provide you with letters of recommendation, as well as any other supplemental essays or writing samples you may need to submit. Make a check-list; each school has different criteria and deadlines for submission.
Importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Your admission counselor is there just for you—contacting your admission counselor personally via e-mail or phone (and often) demonstrates that you care, you are independent, and you are really REALLY interested in becoming a part of their community!