How Do Admission Officials View Applicants from Top Boarding Schools?


Does attending a boarding school affect how admissions officers perceive a student? I attend a small, highly selective boarding school with no honors classes, because everything is assumed to be taught at a higher level than most regular high school classes. There are many amazing options and opportunities, but I don’t have access to some of the same opportunities (e.g. community service, academic recognition/acceleration, etc.) as students in public or day schools. Are admissions officers generally aware of this, and do they perceive good/bad grades and school involvement through a different lens as a result of boarding prep schools’ different culture and academic standards?

Admission officials typically take great pains to understand the high schools that their applicants attend. So it’s very common for them to realize that, at some schools—especially the most rigorous boarding schools—earning a “B” in a tough course can be like earning an “A” at a less challenging high school.  They also realize that the extracurricular options, awards, etc., that are available to students who live in a dormitory can be unlike those offered to students living at home. These officials usually keep copious records of past applicants from each high school so that new admission officers can see how the pattern of acceptances from one high school can vary from that pattern at others.

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