Junior Boarding Schools. The Best-Kept Secret (Part 2)
By Patrick Ho | Senior Admissions Counselor, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions
Where Leaders are Nurtured
Junior boarding schools’ excellent matriculation is not solely down to their reputation, but more importantly, the environment they provide enables students to excel, particularly in the form of leadership. Since Grade 8 and Grade 9 students have the most senior standing in junior boarding schools, they are naturally appointed to take up leadership roles at school, including student government, student council, leaders of clubs or captains of sports team. In comparison to Grade 8 and Grade 9 students studying at an international school in Hong Kong, who are more likely to be just members of clubs and associations, they will rarely have such leadership opportunities, as these roles are assigned to more senior students, namely Grade 11 and Grade 12 students.
As a result, the leadership traits of junior boarding school students can evidently be demonstrated in their application. Why this holds such importance is due to the fact senior boarding schools have an inclination to admit applicants with leadership skills. If you take a look at the mission statement of senior boarding schools, you will find a common theme amongst them, which is they desire to produce leaders.
Choate states, “Choate also fosters community involvement and service as it prepares students to assume leadership roles in an ever-changing world.”
Deerfield states, “Deerfield Academy prepares students for leadership in a rapidly changing world.”
With junior boarding schools nurturing leadership qualities especially suited to senior boarding schools, you can understand why junior boarding schools offer the best pathway to these prestigious schools.
Critical Year of Transition
Lastly, a conundrum of directly entering Grade 9 is that usually the first year abroad is a year of transition and adaptation. Even if students come from an international school background and English is their native tongue, feedback from previous students of mine has proved that the majority of them will encounter problems. Transitional problems that students in the past have come across include adapting to the different teaching methodologies, assessment criteria, having to independently solve academic and social problems as well as dealing with daily chores. Some students may even feel homesick as well.
Due to these various issues, students studying in their first year in a boarding school will usually see a dip in their academic results. A dip in your academic results in Grade 9 may seem insignificant, however, if you take the long term consideration of university applications into account, one of their evaluation criteria is assessing the student’s academic performance starting from Grade 9 to Grade 12. Unfavourable academic results in Grade 9 will affect your cumulative GPA, which may already put the student at a disadvantage in the extremely competitive university application process.
Conversely, the path of junior boarding school, whether you choose Grade 6, 7 or 8 as your entry grade, will give students that critical year of transition, unaffected by the prospect of hurting their university applications, and provide a platform for them to instantly flourish in a senior boarding school setting upon their graduation from junior boarding school.
Mr. Patrick Ho
Associate Member of IECA | TEFL
BCom(Finance), University of Sydney
- 7+ years of experience in admissions consulting service with 100% success rate
- Proven track record helping students gain admissions to prestigious boarding schools including Blair Academy, Choate Rosemary School, Loomis Chaffee School, Kent School, Peddle School, Stevenson School, The Webb Schools, CA and Westminster School.
- Had over 75% if his students accepted to a Top 50 U.S. College including Yale University, MIT, Boston University, University of Chicago.
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