Many people find the admissions process to private schools intimidating, confusing, complicated and, perhaps, a tad invasive. "Why do they have to know so much about me?" is the question which keeps popping up as you peruse all those admissions materials.
The truth is that admission is more than test scores and a faultless transcript. The school wants to get to know you as much as possible. Who are you? What subjects do you like? What sports do you enjoy? What is your favorite pastime? Behind all those recommendations and test scores is a real person with dreams, aspirations and hopes. A private school wants to encourage you and help you be all you can be.
What Are They Looking for?
The admissions staff are not looking for geniuses or stars. If you have good math grades and think that you might like to explore math in depth, a private school can make that happen. Maybe you want to play hockey on a really good team. Again, the right private school can make that happen. But you will not find the right school for you unless you open up and lay all your dreams and aspirations on the table. Once you do that, the admissions staff can begin to explore all the possibilities with you.
One of the great things about private schools is that they encourage excellence and a well-rounded person. You don't have to be afraid of what others will think if your passion is solving quadratic equations. If you are crazy about horses and can't imagine life without mucking stables every day, then a private school will be just the ticket.
Matching the School and Your Interests
But it won't stop there. The school will gently nudge you into other activities and settings with the sole purpose of rounding you and balancing your interests. Private schools encourage academic excellence, but require you to engage in athletic activities several times a week. You cannot duck them either lke you can do in a public school. They are mandatory. This from Miss Porter's
FAQs is typical: "Every student is required to participate in either a team sport or sport class each season."
Having said that, remember also that the school knows that you are unique. There is no one 'type' which is a particular school's 'type'. Diversity is the watchword these days in private schools. Your achievements and interests are valued.
It all starts with you. As you explore all those admissions materials, view books, videos and Web sites, picture yourself in that school setting. Imagine yourself in your classroom, in your dorm room or on the soccer field. It is a wonderful feeling being with others who are just as passionate as you are about the same things. It all starts with you.