Admission officers consider many factors in deciding which students to admit, and each school weighs these factors (and more) in its own way:
- Past academic performance and previous school records
- Recommendations from teachers and counselors
- Special strengths and talents (academic, artistic, athletic)
- Results of standardized tests
- Insights from your child’s essay
- Impressions gathered from the formal interview
- Your child’s potential contribution to the life of the school
- Your alumni connections to the school
- Your sibling or other connections to the school
- Total number of applicants and spaces available
Deciding which school to attend
If your child is accepted at more than one school:
- Revisit your notes to make sure you’ve fulfilled your priorities
- Visit the schools again to remember what each has to offer
- Arrange for your child to do a “shadow day” with another student
- Ask to meet with teachers, especially in areas of interest to your child
- Talk to alumni and current families
- Encourage your child to talk to other students, especially ones with similar interests
- Follow your heart, and choose the school where you believe your child will thrive
Once you decide where your child will enroll:
- Contact the school you’ve chosen by the reply deadline
- Inform the other schools, so they can contact families on their waiting lists
- Return your signed enrollment contract and tuition deposit
What to do if your child is rejected
First, remember that the decision is not a reflection of your child’s abilities or promise. The decision may have come down to how many boys versus girls applied, or how many violinists, or how many soccer players.
In some cases, a “no” may be in your child’s best interest. For example, schools won’t admit a child that has needs the school can’t meet. Schools also seek a balance of students to ensure that all their activities, clubs, and sports are well-subscribed. Your child may stand out better at a different school.
- Ask the school for feedback. Tell the admissions staff you want to get information that can help your child do better in the future. For example, if the teacher recommendations don’t support your application, you can use that to make constructive changes in the future.
- Consider other schools. Look at schools that have rolling admissions, meaning they continue to accept applications until their classes are filled. The test provider, SSAT, also lists schools (searchable by location, type, and name) that may not be fully enrolled by their usual deadlines.