Role of the School-
Throughout the secondary school admission process, the Head of Upper School, and the Headmaster work together to provide advice and support to students and their families. We meet regularly with secondary school representatives on our campus and visit schools ourselves. We speak to FCDS graduates and their families to remain current about the strengths and special features of schools. While we cannot assume to know everything about every school, the fact that we have placed graduates in the surrounding public schools and most of the private schools in New England gives us a history with, and experience to understand the options. This information allows Country Day to recommend schools that are likely to match a student’s strengths and interests.
Role of the Family and Setting Family “Ground Rules”
We believe that parents and boys should start conversations about the secondary school process as they enter the Upper School. We encourage families, in the early stages, to keep as many options open as possible, and look at schools online while making informal visits to campuses when it is convenient. As the process takes shape, families should narrow their focus as needed and take more formal actions by making appointments with schools, while gathering first-hand information. Organizing the paperwork involved in the application process and encouraging and checking your child’s efforts, is the next stage.
Set ground rules for decision making before you begin this process with your child. Creating clear parameters about who will make the ultimate decisions, early in this process, will serve everyone involved. A boy who feels this decision is “totally up to me,” will tend to be more influenced by the decisions of his friends, and may not be able to distinguish a “best path”. Likewise, a boy who feels no one is listening, runs the risk of not being invested in the process or the final decision. A balance of parental wisdom and understanding is important. Assign roles of involvement and responsibilities. Set timetables for action in advance.
Historically, boys who seem to resist talking about making a school transition are “saying” that they are not yet ready to make a transition. Be sure to listen to what he does and does not say. Expect inconsistency. Boys of this age can have difficulty in making such important decisions and will need your patience as well as guidance.
Of course, Country Day is prepared to encourage and advise throughout the process.
How Schools Evaluate Applicants
Generally, there are six areas that admission committees consider when evaluating applications. Each school has a different order of importance, and most schools “weigh” each area differently. These areas include
1) the application
2) the interview
3) school transcripts and records
5) test scores
6) ability to contribute to the school community
7) distinguishable characteristics (unique talents)