This piece grows out the preceding post, Five Things Families Should Know About the 2015-2016 Boarding School Admission Process: advice from two admission directors.
While working on that piece and talking with Greenwood School admission director Aria Carter, we see that applying to a learning differences boarding school is a different process than applying to a traditional boarding school.
Applying to a learning differences boarding looks similar, and has pieces similar to a traditional boarding school application, but, Greenwood’s Carter shows us that the details of a learning differences boarding school application are quite different especially with respect to professional evaluation and student emotional comfort.
Carter suggests that families keep in mind mind these five pointers as they enter the learning differences boarding school admission admission and financial aid processes:
1. Is my son or daughter’s neuropsychological, or psych-ed evaluation, current within the past three years?
If not, schedule to have a new one completed. An appointment to have these evaluation completed may not be easy to get. Sometimes it can take a couple months to get an appointment and the evaluator typically needs 4-5 weeks to complete the write-up.
2. The recommendation process: begin thinking about who knows your son or daughter best. Who has seen them struggle and also succeed?
While glowing recommendations are always wonderful to read, we have to remember that sometimes kids have a lower frustration tolerance, might need help being more of a leader or advocate, struggled with homesickness at camp, etc.
It is important for a school to understand these pieces and how they manifest. I always encourage the recommendation author to highlight the areas where your son or daughter has some difficulty. By doing this, the school will be able to provide “wrap-around” support and have structures in place ahead of time.
You are investing a lot (emotionally, financially, etc), and you want to make sure the school where your son or daughter is going is truly the best fit.
3. Help your son or daughter prepare for questions about how they feel about their best learning and what they like to do. Many students who come to interview bring just a few questions and are nervous talking about themselves.
It is important not to speak for your son or daughter in the interview process. Allow for some wait time – even if it’s killing you!
During an interview your student may be nervous, anxious, and perhaps flooded by language… but hang in there and trust in the process.
4. Has my son or daughter ever been away from home? If not, consider enrolling them in an overnight camp.
5. It’s important to discuss the interview with your son or daughter before you come to campus. Look at the website, watch the videos, talk about what it might be like to be away at school: preview and prepare!