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January 2008 Archives

For the past few weeks Peter & I have worked on a side-project to compile a list of boarding school scholarship and loan opportunities for international students. We hadn't had much luck until we read a news story about the Davis United World Scholars (DUWCSP).  Committed to "building international understanding through education", the Davis program is open to international and domestic students at each participating school.  

Although very competitive, the DUWCSP provides impressive support for its recipients.

The Davis family and Davis United World College Program have extended international student support to a small number of American boarding schools in a pilot program.  Strong students at Phillips Academy Andover, Emma Willard School, The Lawrenceville School, The Taft School, and Westminster School can apply for financial support for the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth, and PG years.  This funding will provide scholarships of up to $20,000.

DUWCSP will continue support of students beyond boarding school if these students elect to continue their studies at one of the 89 American colleges participating in the Davis United World College Scholarship Program.  Seven possible years of support represent an outstanding commitment and opportunity.  The DUWSP currently supports more than 1,100 college students from 126 countries.

Check out the web sites of the participating boarding schools for more information; each has news items posted on the DUWSP scholarships.

Some boarding schools operate summer boarding programs and one school, Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School (right), operates exclusively as a summer boarding school. Summer boarding sessions usually last from 4-6.5 weeks; they offer a variety of classes and academics mixed with recreational, athletic and artistic activities and trips on afternoons and weekends.

Here's a list of reasons to consider a summer boarding program:

  • Looking for a fun summer experience with more purpose than straight summer camp.

  • To improve skills in a particular subject area e.g. reading, math, writing, etc.

  • To get ahead, earn a course credit so that you can move into a more advanced course in the fall.

  • To make-up a failing grade.

  • To prepare for transition to a new school in the fall.

  • To strengthen an application to a new private or independent school.

  • To gain a feeling for what boarding school is like.
If these thoughts are part of your summer planning, you might consider a summer boarding school program.  

I'm excited to welcome Family First Academy as an AQ Member School.

Family First opened this month offering a traditional college preparatory curriculum in a living environment that provides "structure and defined expectations for students needing assistance with self discipline and motivation."

FFA is a residential community with students attending classes at Erie First Christian Academy located 200 yards away.  FFA academic and extracurricular programs provide flexibility so that the school can meet the needs of each student in and out of the classroom.  FFA offers college preparatory and college credit courses through their dual enrollment program and extracurriculars challenge the beginner to the advanced athlete.

FFA students practice personal responsibility and accomplishment in all facets of school life earning their privileges though weekly accomplishment- the ultimate goal being- good responsible decisions all the time.

The Webb School, Bell Buck, TN

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I'm pleased to welcome The Webb School in Bell Buck Tennessee as an AQ Member School.  A traditional co-ed boarding school, Webb uses the English upper school model with grades 6-12- totaling approximately 300 students- about 100 of whom board. Students adhere to dress and honor codes.  Webb has produced more graduates who've gone on to earn Rhodes scholarships than any other secondary school in the US.

To get a feel for Webb from a student perspective, go to the "News: student journals" section of the Webb website where you can read on-line student journals covering school life.

Webb trivia- Webb founder Swaney Webb's son founded The Webb Schools in California and his grandson founded the Webb School in Knoxville, TN.

5 helpful boarding school sites

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I recently posted a list looking at 5 reasons to consider boarding schools and, to follow that up, here are five boarding school related web sites to use in your search. Hate to limit it to just five since there are so many great ones out there, but the goal is to keep things simple. Besides I sense a growing theme here...

Oh, before I forget, the sites are in no particular order:

  1. The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS)
    Some 300 schools make up TABS. On their site you'll find profiles of each, along with the ability to order their free print directory. They also offer interesting research data in support of boarding education.

  2. National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
    Different from TABS in that they represent private day schools as well as boarding schools. On the site you'll find a good deal of info on financing an education. Pay particular attention to their scholarship section- it's the most complete that I've found.

  3. Boarding School Review
    Great site for information on boarding schools. Offers reviews, profiles, inquiry forms, etc.

  4. Independent Educational Consultants Association
    I recommend starting here if you're looking for an educational consultant. The site features a searchable database of IECA members. Make sure to specify 'boarding school' to produce a list of consultants that specialize in that area.

  5. AdmissionsQuest
    Well I'd be remiss not to include our own site, right?  Like so many of the sites above, we offer information on boarding schools, the admission process, working with consultants, etc. It's a fast growing resource and we invite you to let us know what else you'd like to see.

Your boarding school application: good judgment required

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The admission office is a special audience- with whom you may never have communicated before and with whom you may never communicate again.  Yet, you need to present the best possible picture of yourself and the admission committee must get to know you as well they can in a short period. How? Well to a large degree through your application file.

The big question always asked is how do you make yourself stand out in the pile of applications?  In a phrase, very carefully and with good judgment.  Take a look at Linda K Wertheimer's "College Hopefuls Get Creative to a Fault: Admissions Gimmicks Rarely Work"  and keep these thoughts in mind when consider your application & any supporting docs:

"With application deadlines for many colleges drawing to a close, admissions officers advise restraint."

"The ultimate question is, 'Does this (chocolate chip cookies for the office) help the student get in?' " said Debra Shaver, Smith College director of admission. "And the answer is no. It certainly entertains the staff, but it doesn't help the student get in."

Our rule of thumb- avoid being too cute.  No baked goods or items that require refrigeration or make the admission committee work harder.  Anything that you present that increases admission office defeats the purpose.  Send nothing requiring special handling or maintenance and no writing that needs multiple readings or a degree in literary criticism to be understood.

Present anything that makes it easier for the admission to gain a more complete understanding of you and your efforts- a published short story, a juried painting, a concert recording.  Keep the items small and useful.    

A final note, even if the interview is optional, do it.  It's a great chance to present yourself and build a personal relationship and this is where you can ask the question, "would you like to see my plastic canvas needlepoint collection?" Check out this article on boarding school interviews for more tips.

Be yourself when applying to boarding schools...

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Although written primarily for college applicants, Linda K. Wertheimerher's piece in today's Boston Globe ( Applying for College: Be Authentic, not bizzare) provides an opportunity to think about how the same process relates to boarding school admission. 

The thread running through her tips (and ours)- don't over sell yourself.  Stay honest and don't foist a bunch of half hearted or over wrought material at the admission office.  Remember that admission officers have a job to do and, as an applicant, you can help them do it well.  While some of her comments- "Resist the urge to send baked goods.." are tongue-in-cheek, her observations are spot on. 

To see what we've written about the private school admission and interview processes, visit AQ's article section for boarding school admission.

St. Mark's School - Video Admission Guide

As part of onBoarding Schools we regularly look at ways in which schools leverage the web to connect to students & their families. This is a bit of a side thread from our normal talk about boarding schools, but being that AQ's focussed on helping connect families and schools via the web, I'm always interested in examining interesting approaches taken by schools. So, lets kick off the conversation...

A few weeks back a friend suggested I take look at how St. Mark's School in Southborough, MA is using video to guide folks through their site. He raved about how well the video compliments the site's content & design-- said it really was clean. Well, being one who's interested in clean, easy-to use sites, I popped over and came away impressed.

Check out their main admission page to see for yourself. A video of their Director of Admission, Anne Behnke, appears in the top-right section of the page. She's up against a white screen (so it meshes really well with their site design- has that Web 2.0 simple, elegant feel) and jumps into a 2+ minute monologue about how to use their site. She talks about their admission team, scheduling a tour, interviews on & off campus among other things. What I like about this is how she highlights the sections of the page by physically pointing to the spots on the page where the features live. Such a simple approach, but it packs a meaningful impact, especially in this age of trying to convey so much information on so little page real estate. I can attest to this first hand-- it's no easy task.

So what's the take away? Time will tell. I'm going to chat with the folks there to see how the video strategy is working for them. My gut reaction leads me to think that it's a solid approach, especially in this age of youtube and video on the fly. I bet prospective students love this direct approach. Wouldn't surprise me a bit to see other schools adopt St. Mark's approach in the future.

5 Reasons to Consider Boarding Schools!

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Considering boarding schools? Here are 5 reasons for you to attend!

Over the years we've written a number of in-depth articles that spell out the many benefits of boarding schools. onBoarding Schools gives us another outlet to talk about this topic, which we'll consistently do over the coming months. To get things started here are 5 reasons to consider boarding schools:

  1. Challenging Academics
    Generally speaking boarding schools offer a wide range of courses with many being of the honors and AP variety.

  2. Small Classes
    The small class size at most boarding schools offers students an amazing opportunity to participate. Each student's voice can be heard in this environment.

  3. College Guidance
    Boarding schools typically employ full-time college counselors to help guide you through the college admission process. An invaluable resource in this age of highly competitive college placement.

  4. Family Atmosphere
    Boarding schools are committed to fostering a tightly-knit community. Warm, friendly, family-like atmospheres are found in many boarding schools.

  5. Opportunity to Try New Things
    Boarding Schools are great places to try out new activities. Many offer unique opportunities in the arts, athletics, etc.

If you're interested in reading more I encourage you to visit AdmissionsQuest's article library. You'll find detailed entries there including this one on the benefits of boarding schools.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2007 is the previous archive.

February 2008 is the next archive.

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