Mrs. Li (Parent of Boarding School Applicant), Chengdu, China

Enrolled School (Entry Year & Grade):
The Webb School, TN, US (2015 Fall G9 entry)

"The most memorable in the past year when we were preparing for high school application should be the campus visits and on-campus interviews. Foundation has helped us arranged the itinerary with reasonable meeting times.

The most helpful part during the process would be all the training and coaching in different areas, such as interview training, and this includes different portions with different coaches. And the most difficult part of the process, I have to say it’s how to arrange all those coaching and training. Because I am a boarding student, if I want to complete all the training, I would have to take a lot of leave days at school, or even use my class time or evening studying time. But all the coaches at Foundation were very kind. No matter how late it was, they followed my time table so that I could reach the expected level. Sometimes they even had to work during the weekends. They were working really hard.

I feel like I know myself better after the trainings and the application process, because I need to really know myself and dig deep into my experiences to write good essays and complete the interviews. So I gradually learned to use my unique experiences when I was growing up when I’m writing essays. When I’m doing mock interviews, I will try to think about my interests and my dreams, so that I can better present myself. Also, I’ve made some progress in studying efficiency. I need to finish everything within a shorter period of time, because I started a little late, and only had that available time. I tried different things, for example, I used my spare time to practice typing on a computer, so that I can type in what I think of very fast when I’m writing. This helps improve my efficiency.

I have a very good relationship with my head coach. She is very kind and patient. We communicate a lot, and not only about the application, but about me, for instance, we discuss about music, games, sports, and all kinds of interesting stuff. I really like her, and I can tell she tries her best to answer my questions and help me solve problems together. She is very fast in answering my questions as well. When editing my essays, she is very detailed in comments and makes sure I understand why. There was one night at the final stage of application, we discussed a lot over the phone even though it was pretty late, and she added and edited what we talked about into the essays immediately.

If I ever to give any suggestions to other students who are applying to high schools in the US, I would say, try to best to complete essay tasks and other assignments, so that you can save some time for other stuff, even playing video games. More importantly, finishing early is very relaxing afterwards, and you can give yourself more time thinking about what else you need to prepare, for example, what to say during interviews. In short, try to be efficient. Good luck!

Parents:

We are most satisfied with how professional Foundation has been throughout the boarding school application process. They have signature training and coaching programs in interviews and essay writing. Besides, their school selection, their integrity, and all kinds of arrangements in terms of itinerary and time management are also very professional.

We also keep a very good relationship between the head coach. The head coach is like our instructor. We communicate, and we cooperate. In crucial parts, such as training session time arrangements and school selection, the head coach provided a lot of professional and insightful instructions and suggestions. We already did some research, but apparently, they are much more professional than us, and can provide more comprehensive planning. We normally communicate with our head coach through email, Skype, WeChat, conference phone, and cell phone, etc. It’s very convenient. We communicate multiple times a week when it’s necessary, and there’ll be multiple email communication every week as well.

If there are any others asking us about Foundation, I will definitely recommend Foundation to them, because Foundation is very professional, with many years of experience. The counselors at Foundation are sincere and experienced; they also have signature training and coaching programs aiming at essay writing and interviews. They know well about all boarding schools, and thus, are good at school selection. We need professional, sincere, and experienced consultants and coaches to assist our families and children to complete this all together.

I want to give some suggestions to other families with children applying to boarding schools in the States. First, try your best to get the best scores in TOEFL and SSAT. Second, find a professional and experienced consultant for application preparation one year ahead of the application year. Third, both parents and the child need to do some research and try to know more about US boarding schools, instead of letting the consultant to do all the work for them.

During the school searching and confirming school list process, I feel most schools our head coach recommended fit Frank’s needs very well. Our head coach took Frank’s personality, strengths, and academic capabilities into consideration, which is even more comprehensive than we did. Frank is not a very outgoing boy, so our head coach suggests to find some small schools with a very caring atmosphere, so that school staff can attend to every student’s needs, since high school is a key stage in a child’s personality development. Studying and living in an environment where the child feels most comfortable and natural will not only help shaping a healthy personality, but also help with academic grades. So in our case, a school’s academic background and ranking are not the only two affecting factors. And we agree with that.

During school selection, we tried our best to search for schools’ basic information: school size (population, campus size), academic background (SAT scores, matriculation, number of AP courses), endowment (can to some degree reflect a school’s financial conditions), international student ratio and boarding ratio (better for international student ratio under 25% and higher boarding ratio, low boarding ratio may suggest more day students), geographic location (schools in the east coast and the west coast are more popular, therefore, can consider schools in other areas with similar TOEFL and SSAT scores, might enter a even better school). We also discuss with our head coach after selecting our target schools. Additionally, on-campus interview is also a crucial part of school selection, since we can get a more first hand experience when we can visit the campus by ourselves, and have a sense which school fits our child better.

To be honest, we had some problems when we were selecting the schools. Frank’s standardized test scores are not very good, so we had to narrow down our selection area, which means we had to give up some schools, although we did a lot of research on Findingschool website, and already had some schools in mind. Standardized test score is a hard rule, and we must meet schools’ minimum requirements no matter what. Frank has been studying really hard for TOEFL and SSAT from November to January. And we really want to thank our head coach for her persistence. Never give up in boarding school application. Always try harder.

Most of the schools Foundation suggested fit Frank very well, but I have to say they were a little conservative. I suggest them to add more challenge schools and take out some reach schools when applying. It’s like the shape of an American football: fewer reach schools and challenge schools, and more fit schools. Never lower standards when applying just to get more offers.

Frank has also changed a lot, in a good way of course. First, Frank tends to take initiative in doing things. For example, Frank will actively explore school’s official website and gather more information before campus visits and interviews, which used to be done by us parents before; second, he can finish his assignments in time according to coach’s requirements. He used to procrastinate in those things; third, he made great progress in standardized test scores, thanks to our head coach’s encouragements and persistence! Fourth, we witness Frank’s will and resolution. The application process is not always smooth, but he made it and became stronger; fifth, he might learn to reconsider his life ahead of him when he is revising his essays and other preparations again and again. All these efforts were accomplished together with the encouragement, assistance, and instructions from our head coach Iris. Thank you Iris! Thank you Foundation!"

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