Seen here with the Director of Admission at Berkshire School MA, Dana Anselmi

Students around Canada and the US have returned to school this past week and in August in some parts of the heat belt of the Southern US. I am proud this season to have assisted students with entry to Blair Academy in New Jersey, Berkshire School in Massachusetts, Storm King School in New York State, and Shawnigan Lake School in BC, Canada. I wish them great success and will be checking in with them over the year to see how they are settling in to these terrific boarding school environments.

I had one other student accepted at Landmark School in Massachusetts but he was unable to attend due to the worrisome political sitation in Hong Kong and being unable to get a study visa. These are worrying times for the students in Hong Kong and China wishing to gain study visas for North American schools. In the midst of the trade wars - in which Canada is caught in the midddle - the numbers applying from China to boarding schools in Canada and the US appear to be dropping. Families quite naturally are nervous. Some schools see the drop in applications as a cause for concern while others like my former boarding American admission colleague, Richard Brande, see it as a “correction.” I agree with Rich.

Chinese families value and respect both North American education and the opportunities we provide at stimulating and safe boarding schools. The market will remain strong for schools that provide great programs and a high level of care for International students.

In fact, for me as a consultant this first week of school has seen good activity and I am now working with one top-class student from Vancouver who is a championship fencer wanting a US boarding school - and two talented girls who wish to transfer next fall to one of the leading San Francisco Bay Area day schools. Also I have two ongoing clients looking at BC boarding schools.

So, I’m looking forward with confidence to the new admissions season with these excellent youngsters!


March 10th Madness – Again!

Most leading boarding schools in the United States have a group decision day of March 10th. Families then have a month in which to revisit the schools to which they have been accepted. They are given a month to go through this process and solidify their ultimate school choice by April 10th.

In Canada, boarding schools operate more on a rolling decision basis. Therefore, offers are made earlier, thus settling a family in their school situations for the next year potentially far earlier than in the United States.

Why the difference in approach? The US has over 300 boarding schools. Canada has around 30. The diversity of choice in the US has been the driver of the March 10th deadline, I believe. Families - and schools - need more time, especially when applicants to the US average from 6 to 8 schools. In Canada, around 3 school applications would be the norm.

As the boarding schools’ admission office staff now collapse for a few days after the frenzy of sending out decisions, when opening decision messages on their ever-ready iPhones, students and parents are experiencing emotions ranging from joy to disappointment.

My niche client base is mostly from Vancouver and Hong Kong. In fact, I was in Hong Kong in February to solidify student thoughts prior to the big day. I am very proud of my students who have earned acceptances at the following schools, so far, by March 10th:

In the US: Berkshire, Blair, Gunnery, Landmark, Millbrook, Salisbury, Storm King, Tilton. In Canada: Shawnigan Lake School.



Well, these first three or four months of 2019 will bring a whole host of feelings for young people applying to independent schools. They have to ensure that their school work continues to flourish while also looking ahead to exciting new educational opportunities. 

My current clients have applied to schools on Vancouver Island, California, New Hampshire. Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York State. It’s an exciting and nervous time. With application deadlines looming for the end of January, it is time to chase all the necessary documents to complete the application, and if an interview has not been completed yet, then the visit needs to be set up very quickly. I help in all this, including interview coaching. 

My primary role as the family’s consultant is to ensure that the best fit of school (s) has been identified and through on-going meetings with me they are ready to choose the number one choice for them, once decisions come out from the schools. My secondary role is to ensure that if the dream school on the list denies a spot that the other schools they have applied to, from reach to safety schools, are also pleasing options. 

During these next 3 months ( March 10th is the decision day for US boarding schools, for example) I will be an advocate with school admission staff for my clients. At the same time, I am looking outward to attract new clients for placement September ‘20. To that end, I will be in Hong Kong from Feb. 20th to the 26th interviewing families. A great place to go to work! 


School Visits Season

This month I have 6 students – 3 from Vancouver, 3 from Hong Kong – visiting 24 boarding schools between them in the states of CA, CT, MA, NH and NY, as well as boarding schools in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island.

The schools chosen to visit were the result of detailed discussion and research with the families, followed by my outreach to the schools to see if the students could be viable candidates. Once this had been established – with absolutely no guarantees of acceptance made - then the personal preparations for a visit were made.

When preparing families for a boarding school visit, I cover the following:

1. The basic politeness elements whereby you make the first impression:
  a. Make warm and friendly eye contact
  b. Remember names
  c. Importance of the handshake (covered in detail in a prior blog)
  d. Saying thank you

2. Ensure research has been done on the school you are visiting:
  a. what values do they have that you share
  b. what programs do they have that interest you
  c. what questions will you have ready for the admissions interviewer

3. Know yourself and what you are looking for in a school:
  a. outline your strengths and weaknesses as a student
  b. share your extra-curricular passions with the interviewer
  c. impress the interviewer – you need to stand out – by being your true self.


After the visit send a hand- written note to the admissions interviewer thanking him/her for a great visit and the opportunity to visit their school.

Also, send a note to the tour guide. All these seemingly little things will ensure you have left a strong impression. You need to stand out as a good memory in the mind of the admission staff for when they make final decisions in a few months when they review hundreds of applicants.

My role as your consultant/advocate is to keep in close phone contact with the schools in the months after your visits in order to cement in their minds that you are a good choice for them. If the consultant can say to them, “my client will come if accepted,” that helps the schools a great deal with their yield.

Oh, and by the way you must work hard and produce your best grades as part of your application this current school year!

It is exciting for me to be a part of these families’ lives seeing these young people spreading their wings and discovering what’s out there educationally! An experienced educational consultant is there to help you navigate the process smoothly.