Our son attended a small, private, K-8, day school in our rural area. There were twelve kids in his graduating class. He had had the opportunity to sit in on a history class and have a tour of one, highly-competitive, boarding school in seventh grade and was sure that’s where he wanted to go. His school didn’t really have a high school placement effort, so we made a wise investment in hiring an educational placement consultant. We are now on our third cycle with her and have found her support and counsel invaluable.

She interviewed our son and provided us with a list of schools to explore via view books and web-sites and, from which, we narrowed the list to nine at which we would eventually interview. She wisely advised us to consider schools considered less competitive along with the “name” schools. She also encouraged us to look beyond the 100-mile radius we had initially imposed as schools seek geographic as well as ethnic diversity.  

By mid-September all nine visits were scheduled and the navy blazer had been purchased, and we set forth sure that our son, being the great kid that he is, would have many choices.  We were astounded by the facilities of many schools which seem to rival college campuses. A strong sense of community and caring embraced us at some schools, while at others we were dismayed when we saw athletes injured on the playing fields whose teammates couldn’t be bothered to give them a hand up and ask if they were o.k.

We saw schools with more structure and restrictions than we impose at home, and we saw schools with what seemed like such little oversight, he might as well have his own apartment in the city. At some schools the admissions staff clearly were pleased that we were considering their school and made every effort to make us feel welcome, but at some we had the impression we were wasting the admission officer’s time.

In my next post, I’ll talk about a speed-bump and how the consultant helped us work through the process.

To maintain privacy and confidentiality, our author writes under
the pen name “Boarding School Mom” and all family, child consultant,
and school names will be changed or omitted. You can reach AQ’s
Boarding School Mom at boardingschoolmom@admissionsquest.com.