Your partners in educational excellence since 1994

You are here

Admission Decisions are here! Tips for completing a successful boarding school search

By Holly McGlennon Treat, Audrey Ludemann, and Krissy Naspo

March 10th represents a culmination of a year of hard work by families, but mostly by candidates who are applying to boarding schools. Each year we see tremendous growth as students work through the application process and become more confident, independent, and self-aware. This lasting growth is to be celebrated. Taking a moment to honor the initiative and follow-through that have brought your child this far can reenergize everyone for the last leg of this journey.

With enrollment contracts due on April 10th, use these tips to finalize where your student will launch their next adventure in the fall.  

  • Take time to process the range of decisions. Most boarding schools are reporting that applications are up by 20 percent or more over the last two years. If your child is denied admission, please understand that the school does not feel it is a good fit. Many students will be waitlisted. More than ever this year, schools did not have enough space for all the qualified applicants.  Although there could be some waitlist movement, start reviewing existing offers.
  • Take a fresh look at each school. When students are developing and submitting applications, actually going to any boarding school can feel far away. With acceptances in hand, what was once an abstract possibility suddenly becomes a real opportunity. Use this momentum to clarify what aspects of each school resonate for your student.
  •  Empower your child to lead the discussion. We recommend that parents invite students to voice their opinions before weighing in themselves. Teens taking ownership over their education is an important by-product of this process. Candidates and their parents can all be proud of the maturity they show in considering their options.
  • Enjoy revisit days on campus. This spring, more schools are offering on-site revisit days than since the pandemic began. Revisit days allow accepted students to observe classes, socialize in the dining hall, and connect with teachers and coaches. This is a wonderful chance for students to feel immersed in a school culture and envision themselves as part of that community. Meanwhile, schools continue to offer virtual experiences for those who cannot make it to campus in person.
  •  Focus on top choices. Don’t be surprised if the schools at the top of the list now are different from those at the beginning. Every year of being a teenager brings so much personal growth, and the process of conducting a school search often expands a student’s understanding of themselves and their goals. Let schools know as soon as you do if your child will not be attending; this allows schools to reach out to others on their waitlist. 
  • Savor the moment. The heart of this process is self-discovery, defining goals, and pursuing dreams. Choosing a boarding school is a joyful milestone to share with your teen.

Since applications were submitted, Bertram Group consultants have been in touch with admission officers to ensure that each of our candidate’s files received due consideration. We are always impressed by the thoughtfulness these professionals invest in assembling the rosters of their incoming students. And we are always grateful to be part of the journey of each of our candidates, from the very beginning of researching school lists to making final decisions about where to enroll.


The Bertram Group boarding school team specializes in helping families interested in independent junior and secondary school searches. They can be reached at