Boarding school and universities decisions are either out or coming out. This is anxious time as students find out who has recognized their attributes and their “fitness” to the schools they applied to. It is time where everyone involved is on the edge. It feels like judgment day! This is a time, too, when school-based or independent counselors worry. They want the best for their students, but they also know that the stakes are high and the competition steep.
Boarding schools have become particularly difficult this year. More and more families are looking to go overseas to have their children study and at a younger age. Aside from the prestige of going, families are becoming more discerning in their approach. But, again, with more people looking every school has been impacted.
Colleges and universities are still in the process of releasing decisions. There is still time for good news to come. April 1 is the final notification deadline for universities, so hold on to your hats as the answers are coming.
Having said all that, students still got in to schools, others denied and others still are left hanging on the wait list. Let’s go through the decisions and what families should do next:
- Denied is sadly obvious and unfortunate. It is important to remember, schools’ decision is not that they did not like you or even that you were not qualified. Most likely it was because there were just too many to choose from. It is also important to remember that committees, not an individual, make decisions. The committee takes months poring over applications looking for students they want to grace their campuses. And we have to remember too, that Chinese students make up just a fraction of a student body, schools just cant take all the Chinese students who apply. Many are looking at hundreds of applications for 4-10 places designated for Chinese students.
- Accepted: that is pretty easy unless a student has been accepted to more than one school they applied to. If this is the case, and an enviable one, it is time to go back and reassess each school. Look at their community, their style of education, quality of life (sports, dormitories, clubs and activities as well as location) are all important factors you now need to go back and look at in depth. In fact, many schools, particularly boarding schools, have revisit days when a student and go back, meet other accepted students, sit in on classes and perhaps even spend the night in the dorm. This is highly advisable and truly the best way to see what the school is like. It is also very different from what may have been experienced on the first visit to school.
- If you have been accepted to only one school, then it is even more important to revisit not only the school but the thinking behind applying in the first place. One thing to strongly bear in mind is whether you are getting something better than what you currently have at your school.
- If the school was a safety or what I call a “foundation” school, it is especially important to think about your options. Choosing to go to a school and hoping to get better chances by reapplying next year to a “better” school is not a good one. Grade 10 is virtually impossible to get into. So really think about what you are getting if you decide to go. And go with 100% enthusiasm.
- The Waitlists are the most critical and the hardest to cope with. Basically, the school is saying, “we loved you but… there was not enough space. “ If you were accepted to one school you liked and waitlisted at another school you would rather go to, then you should consider replying positively to the waitlist. Important: Even though you may want to go to the waitlist school, you must deposit at the next school of choice (accepted) on your list.
- If you were accepted to a number of schools, it gets a bit more difficult. You cannot say, obviously, that you love all of them. But you can express your desire to want to be a student at their school. You do want to target your top choice.
- I recommend writing a letter to each school, letting them know you want to remain on the waitlist, anything that is worth updating them on since you last applied – better grades, a new project, something you did well in that is valuable and worthwhile. And, finally, a brief statement why you think you fit their school. This email should be brief and to the point.
- It is important that you don’t hound them all the time, call and have tones of people vouch for you. It seems desperate and will not gain you anything in fact it will backfire.
It is important to remember that being accepted to school in another country is a privilege and thus while a student may not have been accepted to their first choice, if they managed their school research well, they will get a fabulous education. Sometimes, it all comes down to what a student needs, not necessarily what they want. Being denied or waitlisted may be disappointing, but keeping things in perspective is more important. Please remember one of my sayings – a school does not make you successful, you make your success at a school.