Understanding the Private School Admission Process

Written By Kristin Capezio

Admission to a school or university at any stage in life is a daunting experience. From PreK to senior year, the anxiety involved with being screened for admission to a potential new school or program can be present cognitive and emotional challenges. At EduHup, we understand that this is a life-altering course of action. Families who decide to send students abroad do so with great trust and faith in companies such as ours to ensure their child’s physical and psychological safety. 

This is one reason why meaningful partnerships with schools makes a significant impact on students during the admissions process. The stronger the connection with the school, the more likely students are going to feel supported by all parties involved in their travel, enrollment, and housing in the US. We reached out to several schools in our network to get first-hand feedback around what partner schools look for and need in an international candidate. 

Sean Ganas, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at Bancroft School of Worcester, expressed some defining features school admissions teams prefer to see in new prospects.

 “The interview is typically the most important factor in the admission decision. We assume that all our candidates will have a strong academic background and excellent English skills,” Ganas said. 

 “What separates candidates from one another is the student's ability to effectively articulate why they want to study in the United States, what challenges they anticipate they might face, and why they feel our school is a good fit for them. Students that can demonstrate that they understand and are ready for the significant educational, social, and cultural transition are the strongest candidates.”

Students who come prepared to the interviews, and who know why they want to study in the US are likely to have more success getting into a school like Bancroft of Worcester, than students who unable to articulate clear motivations for studying abroad. 

This opinion is echoed by Leah Lightcap, Director of Admissions and Enrollment at Archmere Academy. At Archmere, Admissions Directors need to know that a student will thrive at the school. Too often, students come with high ambitions but are unprepared for the demands both in and out of the classroom. High English language proficiency indicates a stronger likelihood of successful social and academic assimilation at the school. Without it, students can struggle in unforeseen areas, which depletes their energy and mental reserves for the focus and rigor required to perform well on academic tasks. Among the number of credentials admissions personnel screen for, Lightcap contends that English language proficiency is the first priority.

“I believe an international student should have a high level of English fluency, show particularly why they are interested in Archmere as opposed to a competing school in our area, and demonstrate how they would be a good fit for our school,” Lightcap says. “It also helps for a student to be genuine and honest about their strengths, challenges, and goals.”

Students do themselves a disservice by presenting falsely their English language abilities or their aptitude in desired skill areas.  Students should understand that with many layers of screening from the schools and placement agencies, it is difficult to bypass, cheat, or outsmart evaluations. 

One way students with lower English fluency can impress schools is through extracurricular activities, hobbies, and talents. Students who can bring and share unique skills, and who have a diverse range of interests, are likely to receive attention in the admissions review process. To admissions counselors, this kind of student expresses versatility and the promise of diverse social engagement once they arrive. 

While most schools today want a student who is mentally and academically prepared, mature, and healthy, they are also screening for students with personality; schools want students who will engage with others, who have outgoing tendencies and who understand why integrating into the school community and attending school events is as important as scoring well in the classroom. Acceptance into a school is only one step forward in a long series of benchmarks that culminates in a year of thriving, and not just surviving, academic study in America. 



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About the author

Kris Capezio is a free lance writer and photographer. She has been published in literary magazines, poetry journals, in newspapers and various media. She frequently enters her photography into juried shows and and charitable auctions at local museums. She is the Director of Admissions at EduBoston and an Adjunct Professor of Speech and Communications in Brockton, MA. She is finishing her PhD at Lesley in Educational leadership.

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