It’s March 10, and that means, boarding school admission decisions are here. You likely received one of five admission decision responses, and we know what you have to do next.
Admission Decision 1: Accepted
This is the option we know you want the most, and hopefully, you got accepted at your first choice school, or at least one of your top schools. Some schools mail letters or acceptance packages to applicant homes, while others send decisions electronically via email. Once you get your acceptance, it’s time to decide if you’re going to enroll.
If you’ve been accepted at more than one school, now you need to figure out which school is best for you. Some students make their decisions based on school reputation, financial aid packages, academic offerings, sports or arts options, or campus facilities. Whatever you do, it’s important that you can envision yourself that the school where you’re going to enroll; that’s your home for the next four years.
If you’re not sure which school is right for you, attend one of the school’s Revisit Days. These admission events are designed for accepted students and aim to give you another look at the school. You’ll get a chance to meet other accepted students, as well as the current students. Make connections and ask questions; students are the people who can give you the best idea of what life is like at the school. Some schools even offer opportunities to attend classes, meet teachers and coaches, enjoy meals in the dining hall, or even spend time on dorm. Use this event as a chance to get to know the school more and really spend time on campus. Stand in the middle of campus and ask yourself, “Can I see myself here for the next four years?”
Admission Decision 2: Accepted, Financial Aid Waitlisted
Accepted students who applied for financial aid could find themselves on financial aid waiting lists. Financial aid is a limited about of funds that are allocated to families who qualify. You complete an in depth application process that is used to determine if your family qualifies and for how much. Schools use this information to determine award packages that are typically sent with admission decisions.
Some students who are qualified applicants for admission will find that their families don’t qualify for aid and no award has been granted. Others will find that they have been accepted but that they have been placed on a financial aid waitlist. This means that you are literally waiting to see if funding will become available.
In the first round of acceptances, a limited amount of aid is awarded to both returning families and to newly accepted families. As enrollment decisions are reported back to the schools, they can see which financial aid award packages have been accepted by students who intend to enroll at the schools. In the event that a student chooses not to enroll at the school, and financial aid monies they were awarded would go back into the aid pool and can then be reallocated to students who were placed on financial aid waitlists.
Admission Decision 3: Waitlisted
Similar to colleges, many boarding schools have a part of the admission decision process in which a group of students are waitlisted. If you received one of these admission decisions, it probably means that you’re qualified to attend the school, but there aren’t enough spaces available … yet. While no, you’re not officially accepted to the school, there’s still a chance that you could receive that letter you’ve been waiting for all year long.
How does this all work? Well, schools send out a first round of admission decisions. Remember, that schools have limited openings for students, so they have to be careful about how many students they initially accept. That means that if a school has 100 spaces available for new students, they may send 150 acceptances and waitlist an additional 50 students. Not every student accepted in the first round will enroll; many students apply to multiple schools, so they have to choose the right boarding school to attend. That means, as students select their top choice school and let their other choices know they aren’t enrolling, spots will likely open up.
Want to know more about what it means to be waitlisted? Check out this blog with four things you can do if you’re waitlisted at boarding school.
Admission Decision 4: Denied
Not every student is right for every school, and not every school is right for every student. Just as you were looking at different schools and picking which one is best for you, schools do the same with applicants. Some schools work hard to counsel out students who won’t be the right fit for admission because receiving a letter that denies admission to a school can be a difficult thing for a young student to accept. But the fact is, many students get denied at the boarding schools they want to attend.
Some call these “rejection letters” but I like to think of them as, “there’s a better fit for you out there” letters. There are many reasons why students are not offered admission at their top school choices, which may include academic qualifications, behavioral issues, social or emotional needs, and more. Schools typically tell students they aren’t the right fit for the school, but don’t typically go into detail. Hopefully, you knew if a school was a stretch going into the admission process and the decision isn’t a complete surprise.
Ideally, you chose more than one school to apply to this year, in varying levels of competitiveness for admission. Choosing a variety of schools in important to ensure that you have options and aren’t left without a school for the coming year.
If you didn’t apply to more than one school, there’s still time to find another school to apply to for the fall. Check out this blog about applying after the February 10 deadline or this blog about applying after the April 10 response date has gone by.
Admission Decision 5: No response
This decision isn’t really a decision, but if March 10 comes and goes and you don’t hear from your school, then you need to take action. No response could be a result of many things, letters do occasionally get lost in the mail or a typo in your email address might mean the digital response didn’t make it to you, but most likely, it means you either didn’t make the initial deadline or your application isn’t complete.
Hopefully you spent time making sure your application was complete this fall and winter, but in the instance that a piece was missing, you likely wouldn’t be considered for admission. Follow up with the admission office and inquire about the status of your application. If something is missing, ask if the school is still accepting applications, and if so, work quickly to get it done. The sooner you can complete your application, the sooner you’ll know if you’re accepted.