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Action Steps

After the Application: What To Do While You Wait

Congratulations! You have worked hard all year, kept your grades up, taken the SSAT, and labored over your boarding school essays. You have put the best parts of yourself out there and submitted all the application elements to schools prior to the deadline. Now you enter the period of waiting…and wondering…and thinking, “There must be something else I can do!”

There is:

1. Confirm that your materials were received.  Imagine the volume of paper admission offices receive in January. Give schools one to two weeks to scan and sort the incoming parts of your application. Then call to ensure your file is complete. If something is missing, then resend and let the school know it is on the way. If you have used the SSAT Application Online, then SSAT can identify the date on which each section of your application was sent.  Schools can use that to find missing information. 

2. Find out how schools communicate on March 10. Some schools allow you to access their website; others call you directly; and others send decisions in writing through the mail.  Knowing ahead of time how to access the information will lessen your anxiety as the big day approaches.

3. Relax and catch your breath. This is a good moment to step back and celebrate your hard work. The process of selecting and applying to boarding schools is a significant accomplishment. It requires students to think about their personal goals, take ownership of their futures, and be responsible for assembling all the required puzzle pieces over many months. Every year I hear from parents about how their kids have “blossomed” throughout this process. Pause to reflect on how you have matured and enjoy the confident feeling that comes from giving your best effort.

While you wait and wonder, “reading season” is an intense time for admission offices. Committees work long hours to review candidates and find the right balance for incoming classes. At most schools, spring break occurs right after decisions are communicated, so admission officers might not be available for follow up calls. As educational consultants, we are here to share in your exciting news. If you have been accepted into your dream school and are sure of your choice, then your path has reached its destination. If you are comparing multiple acceptances, or have been put on a wait list, then we can advise on next steps.

For most students the next—and final—major period of activity will occur in late March or early April. The dates for revisiting schools where you have been accepted will be communicated in the body of each school’s letter. Schools expect to hear by April 10 whether you accept their offer of admittance—and then you can really celebrate!

Audrey Noyes Ludemann helps families seek independent school education, ranging from day schools to boarding schools and from elementary to secondary grades. She also is an invaluable resource for planning across different learning styles—serving families whose students are gifted and/or have moderate learning differences. She can be reached at