US Boarding School Visits: June 2018

A vital part of being an accredited educational consultant is visiting boarding schools to assess their programs first-hand, and to liaise with admissions staff and faculty who have been a vital link in helping student clients and their parents achieve a place. 

I live in the heart of excellent Canadian boarding schools on Vancouver Island. However, in early June I visited four American boarding schools. In western Massachusetts, I was able to thank in person the admission directors at Berkshire School who had helped enrol one of my students this season. Berkshire is a traditional New England prep school consistently ranked in the top 25 US boarding schools:

Twenty minutes away in Lakeville Connecticut, I visited the Hotchkiss School, one of the top 10 boarding schools in America: These two New England schools have superb campuses.

On my drive back up to Montreal, I visited North Country School in Lake Placid, New York – a small, progressive junior boarding school with a coherent and cohesive student centred philosophy: These schools have accepted two of my students for this September.

My fourth visit was to Northwood School, also in Lake Placid: It was my first time there and it has a good hybrid of traditional and individualized programs.

The United States is a culturally and geographically diverse country. The 300 or so boarding schools in the United States reflect this reality. Boarding school options are tremendous.

The research and application process can take up to a year if a family does due diligence on their research, in conjunction with a consultant’s informed guidance and wealth of experience.

Jarvis and Associates is now taking inquiries from families who are looking for September ’19 entry to either Canadian or US boarding schools. We provide a highly personalized service and look forward to hearing from you through our web site. We are ready to listen.In two weeks I visit boarding schools in the United Kingdom.

1. With Dr. Tasia Wu - a brilliant music teacher at Berkshire who will be working with my talented student from Vancouver.

2. With Dana Anselmi, new Admissions Director at Berkshire School.

3. With Andrew Bogardus, my successor as Admissions Director at Berkshire School, and now the Advancement Director.

4. Hotchkiss School sign at the entrance way.

5 - 7. Photos on the working farm like campus of North Country School. David Damico, the Admissions Director.

8. Northwood School sign.

Consultant as Advocate

We are approaching decision time for applicants to independent schools. The consultant and family school research, student visits, coaching, testing and interviews are all done. Now the wait is on. Most schools will be announcing their first round of decisions by mid March.

Admissions staff are reading and assessing applicant folders right now. With the increasing popularity of independent schools, the pressure to achieve the right mix and fit of successful applicants intensifies. I found reading the applicant files to be a joy in discovering each student’s uniqueness. The pressure came from rendering the decision when the competition was overwhelming.

When I was admissions director, I was always looking for talent. As an admissions associate at Choate Rosemary Hall School said to me in November on my visit there, “ We are looking for smart plus.”

The “ plus” is personal for the student, yet must fit the programs and values of the desired school. Both must mesh and fit. The great independent schools enroll a well-rounded class with multiple talents in evidence. Schools want star soccer players to star saxophonists. If they go together in one student – great – but that is very difficult to achieve, so they try to encapsulate excellence as a whole in a class.

At this period in late February, the educational consultant will be nearly as anxious as the family. Did he/she recommend the right school fit for the student? Did the consultant provide enough advice prior to the visits to help the student shine and stand out? Finally, did the consultant advocate clearly and effectively for the student with the admissions office?

March decisions will tell the story. Stay tuned. Stay calm. I wish the very best results to all applicants, particularly my clients of course!