June 27, 2022
By Kristen J. Naspo
Spring is a common moment for families to assess how local school options are engaging their child and to think ahead to future grades. Inevitably at this time of year, some students and families start to contemplate boarding school opportunities—but worry that it is too late to make a new plan for September. Fortunately, there is still time. With the initial enrollment deadline of April 10 having recently passed, schools are taking stock of how many spaces they have available. Now begins a second season in the admission cycle. While some schools enroll students right up to when the academic year begins, the sooner you take action, the more options you will find.
With the educational disruptions of the past two years, more families than ever seek to make up for lost ground regarding academic, extracurricular, and social growth for their students. Because of the multi-faceted interaction with peers and faculty mentors, boarding schools have a unique capacity to nurture personal growth on all fronts. This year they have maintained their dynamic educational communities, even amidst public health protocols. This is one reason that applications soared during the primary admission season. Even with the general increase in applications, however, many wonderful schools continue to have openings.
Use these tips to launch a boarding school search now for enrollment this fall:
- Don’t delay. The secondary admission cycle moves quickly. Students usually assemble application files—including transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation—before having their interviews. Admission committees then have everything needed to make decisions efficiently.
- Conduct research virtually. While in-person visits are still prohibited on many campuses, the virtual content that schools have developed provide insight into each school’s offerings.
- Think broadly about letters of recommendation. Schools recognize that some students have not been in-person with teachers for more than a year now, which makes it harder for teachers to write meaningful letters. Schools have offered more flexibility this year in accepting supplemental letters from previous teachers, coaches, or other adults who can speak confidently to a student’s character and commitment.
- Give perspective on your child’s COVID-related experiences. Schools understand that many students have struggled during this time. Application forms have a space for parents to provide context about lower grades or other ways in which the pandemic has affected their children.
- Reach out. The status of enrollment varies significantly by school. Working with an educational consultant can help you clarify where openings exist. We also can help to quickly recognize how your family’s educational goals and priorities match with various schools’ missions.
Kristen J. Naspo is a partner with The Bertram Group, based in Connecticut. She provides services for domestic and international boarding school candidates and those seeking therapeutic school placements. She can be reached at email@example.com