Boarding School Waiting List & Financial Aid Questions

“We’ve been wait listed; is there anything we can/should do? And, did I mention that we also need financial aid?”

We’ve been individually replying to variations of these two questions several times a day for the last few weeks.

However, I suspect that readers from whom we haven’t heard might benefit from having our suggestions as references.

Plan beats no plan.

Facing the waiting list and financial aid questions, the first order of business is to build a plan. The worst thing that can happen is to find your student’s situation in limbo and uncertain.

Our Waiting List Letter (with financial aid in the picture)

Your first order of business should be putting everything in the open with the school where your chuld is on the waiting list.

Call the admission officer handling the file; ask where you stand on the waiting list; near the top/likely to be offered a place in the fall?  Further down the list/less likely to be offered a spot?  If the school is your first choice, let them know it’s where you want your child to go to school and let them know your he/she wants to attend.

As part of the conversation, ask how financial aid works in the waiting list process.  Will possible acceptance include an aid package?  If not, or possibly facing a smaller aid package, ask what they know about funding options?  The school will know more than anyone else about available sources of aid for their students.

You, and your child need to know where you stand in order to explore other options.

In terms of applying to another school, financial aid will be the hardest part as boarding schools offered their available funding with decision letters.  Two things come to mind here.

One, as you explore other school options (maybe some you visited) and talk with their admission offices, let them know that an aid package is in the equation.  Be prepared for many schools to have very few free dollars at this point.

Two, consider applying to schools where your son/daughter will be one of the stronger students.  The stronger the student in relation to the student body, the stronger the candidate for financial support.

Our Financial Aid Letter

Thanks for reading and posting a comment regarding boarding school scholarship and financial aid opportunities. With this note, we’d like to point you in the best directions we know regarding school financing, scholarships and financial aid.

There’s no clear pool of ready money.  FA is process- often with a good number of dead ends before finding what you need.

If financial aid is part of your boarding school application process, talk with the admission/financial aid office at the school(s) to which you’re applying.  Ask about available aid and financing options.

School and Student Services / TADS
Visit School and Student Services (SSS).  Read and learn about the Personal Financial Statement (PFS).  The PFS is primary form in the financial aid process. Many schools use TADS
as their financial aid partner. It’s best to ask the school which service is used in their office.

National Association of Independent Schools
Visit the National Association of Independent Schools.  NAIS maintains a database of scholarship programs as well as other resources financing private education.

Begin by looking at Sallie Mae and Your Tuition Solution.  Each makes different types of private school loans.

These are only our starting suggestions.  Ask questions and explore the advice of the experts and resources above.

Photo credit: / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Brian Fisher

A product of both private and public education, Brian Fisher served as a teacher, coach, dorm parent, and administrator at three different boarding schools. Brian also fills the role of Director of Development at Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School, in NH along with being a partner at AdmissionsQuest.

More by Brian Fisher

Subscribe for email updates: