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If you believe in a boarding or independent school and you can afford to make a financial contribution, give now. Independent schools- just as colleges and universities- are working through endowment decreases and pressure. With increased financial aid demand, creating an even greater strain on institutional savings and finances.

If independent school is part of your or your family's nature and you can do it, make sure to make any gift possible this year.

The New York Times recently ran a piece titled "Colleges Ask Donors to Help Meet Demand for Aid." The higher ed situation and independent school situations are similar.

"Faced with one of the most challenging fund-raising environments anyone can remember, colleges and universities are appealing to donors to help meet the swelling demand for financial aid...

The incoming student body for the fall of 2009 will have higher financial needs than in the past," said Clay Ballantine, Hampshire's chief advancement officer. "I tell donors these are excellent students and we want to take financial concerns out of their decision-making process, and we're looking to you to provide a gift that will help us do that."

Photo credit: vanhookc
Although geared for college admission, one recent New York Times article and a new blog on their site provide some good thinking and advice- parts of which are applicable to private school admission.

The article first- "Paying in Full as the Ticket Into Colleges," lays plain for all to see that, with tight financial aid offerings colleges are accepting more students whose families can pay in full. This has always been the case at or near the bottom of college applicant pools, but the practice is creeping further up the ladder into the realm of highly qualified applicants.

As we've always argued, you can increase your aid opportunities by applying to a school in which your abilities and desires place you toward the top end of the applicant pool.

The Choice: Demystifying College Admissions and Aid is a new NYT blog exploring college admission and financial aid through the voices of students and professionals. Even though it's geared toward college admission, the issues, experiences and thinking are similar to private school admission. Keep in mind that college and private school admission are not the same.  I recommend it as a thought provoking read. You'll find some thinking and commentary applicable to private school admission.

Photo credit: Gwen's River City Images

Myron Rolle on CNN

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Myron Rolle paid a quick visit to CNN this morning touching on topics ranging from the NFL draft, education versus money, the possibilities of being an MD and life as role model.

For those new to this story, Mr. Rolle is a Hun School alumnus, Florida State graduate, Florida State football  player, potential NFL first round draft pick, Rhodes Scholar headed to Oxford this fall and aspiring MD.

A Couple of Quick Items to Start the Day

If you haven't checked out the Carnival of College Admission (AQ hosted an edition a couple of weeks ago), I encourage you to visit Eric Perron's blog at Dreamstrategy where he's hosting the 11th edition of the Carnival: Carnival of College Admission - A College Information Dream... A Dream Strategy that is!  

Eric featured Leo Marshall's post, In Defense of Childhood. Many thanks to Eric and the folks at Dreamstrategy.

One more thing... Alltop, the online magazine rack, accepted onBoarding Schools into their education directory. The site, founded by Guy Kowasaki and the team at Nononina, aggregates content from all over the web. It's a terrific place to discover new blogs.
It's not boarding school admission, but it's an interesting read about the different ways and roads to want what's best for you kids.

Lisa Belkin contributes a nice synthesis of a parent's takes on the college admission craziness. In her post to the New York Times Motherlode column she brings together three perspectives that circle around:

"Who is right? The parent who sees the application process as a life experience, and thinks that offering a crutch might help them now, but cripple them in the future? Or the parent who says "we're not in Kansas anymore," and feels that all the work put in and learning done during high school will not be enough without advice and guidance on navigating the increasingly competitive system?"
Her piece contains links to three other pieces.

Photo credit: Aaaron Michael Brown
New York Times reporter Martin Fackler quotes a phrase that many of us in the tuition driven world know but seldom utter; "Korea (South) experienced a study-abroad bubble." In his January 10, 2009 article "Global Financial Crisis Upends the Plans of Many South Koreans to Study Abroad," Fackler elucidates the now fading convergence of the strong won and competitive desires of Korean parents that came together to create what I call a study abroad migration.

Fackler cites a Korean Education Ministry figure of 350,000 South Korean students studying abroad in 2007 with the largest contingent in the United States.

"South Koreans have become the largest group of foreign students in the United States, according to American government statistics, outnumbering even those from China, with a population much larger than South Korea's 48 million people."  (Fackler, NYT)
American boarding schools and colleges & universities have enjoyed strong numbers of full-tuition Korean students seeking experiences and advancement through western style education. But this well of relied-upon tuition may be beginning to dry-up.

Korean families are now assessing and scrutinizing study abroad opportunities in light of the weak wan and global financial crisis. The competitive desire to keep-up and advance still drives many families, but it's being tempered by reality. One year programs have become more attractive for families that can still afford an international experience.

Some academics worry about the possibility of increasing inequality with only the wealthiest families sending their students abroad.

"Upper-middle-class families will still have the ability to send their children abroad, even if it means great sacrifice," said Oh Ookwhan, a professor of education at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. "This will allow them to stay ahead of less fortunate families."
Don't miss the current wealth of up and coming mens' basketball talent in the 2009 prep school class. The Rivals.com Rivals 150 list of top prospects includes no fewer than 20 boarding school students from boarding schools such as Tilton School, Brewster Academy, South Kent School, St. Mark's SchoolHargrave Military Academy, Patterson School, Oak Hill Academy, Christ School, Miller School and International Management Group's  IMG Academy.

Hargrave has four students in the top 150, Oak Hill & Brewster have three, while Tilton, Christ and Patterson each have two players in the Rivals 150 list.

If you enjoy high level basketball and have the opportunity to take in a game with these teams we certainly recommend it. Seeing these players and teams is easiest in the NEPSAC Class A level.

Visit the NEPSAC home page for schedules, scores and information on all NEPSAC sports.

Photo credit: e453753

The Washington Post ran a piece highlighting the rise of online interviews in the admission process.

The online interview isn't well-established and still faces some technology hurtles. Not all families have the technology readily available and admission office staffs need some convincing and prodding to learn new ways of communicating with applicants.

The web interview certainly offers the prospect of saving families travel dollars.

One of the largest hurdles to more online interviews seems to be admission office reluctance and unfamiliarity with the technology.

I'm guessing efficiency will win out in the end.

With respect to boarding schools, anyone participate in an online interview (either as an interviewer or interviewee)? I'd love to read your impressions- chime in below.
An odd thing during these times of declining endowment income- several New England colleges are doing OK. In a Boston Globe piece several smaller tuition driven schools report that the relationship with their students and school growth haven't yet changed much. They're used to offering good value and opportunities- funded predominately with tuition dollars. Smaller endowment income never allowed them to grow beyond defined means.

Ronald Champagne, president of Merrimack College told the Boston Globe:

"In these hard economic times, institutions that relied heavily on their endowments, like Harvard, suffered the greatest losses in terms of impact on their operating budget...In a sense, we have a blessing in disguise."
A boarding school head recently expressed similar sentiment during a conversation- explaining that he was used to covering all of his school's expenses with tuition dollars. With fewer dollars, there would of course be cuts and reductions and he's prepared several budget drafts based on varying enrollments. But, he said, the big schools who've become used to supplementing operating costs with endowment income will be pinched the hardest. In some cases, well endowed schools have developed high fixed overhead that isn't easily adjusted downward during tight times.

Experience living with one's means has it's advantages.

The number of boards and school heads addressing the tight economic climate and communicating with their constituencies honestly and directly on these matters- while not a solution- provides some measure of comfort. Tackling the issues honestly and directly beats all the options.

Applying On-line Doesn't Mean Waiting Until the Last Minute

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Tamar Lewin published a piece this past Wednesday in the New York Times covering the clog of applications in the pipes of on-line application systems.

We know from experience that a good number of families wait to submit their applications until the last possible moment. (We used to run the on-line application system that many boarding schools use.) Families often assume that submitting applications on-line allows them to submit applications later in the process and that it will always be glitch free.

Wrong. Give two seconds of thought to the topics and we can all think of a few possible problems- families dealing with an internet connection issue, credit card processing problems, forgetting to press the all important save button. You get the picture.

While on-line applications offer all sorts of advantages- convenience, easy editing, etc. Don't wait until 11:59PM of the application deadline. Be prudent; give yourself some padding and extra time.

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AdmissionsQuest's blog dedicated to boarding school admission & schools.

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This page is a archive of recent entries in the College admission category.

Catholic Schools is the previous category.

Education is the next category.

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