We recently worked with a 9th grade girl applicant and her family who had 3 good independent day school options. Two of the schools she gained acceptances are academically and athletically strong. The students in each of these schools push each other to compete harder in the classroom and on the athletic fields. But in the end, our student chose the third. This school has a little broader range of student abilities and is not quite as competitive athletically. And from our perspective, she chose the best option.
Why? In our early conversations with mom and student it became apparent that she was a solid student, enjoys playing soccer, squash, lacrosse, and is social. But she lacks some confidence. Our student also knew that she had to work very hard to earn good grades at her public school and didn’t like the pressure of trying to keep up. The school she chose will give her the opportunity to become stronger in the classroom because she alleviated any potential anxiety about trying to keep up with her peers and replaced it with a more self-directed effort. The hope is for her to become intrinsically motivated, develop more self-confidence, and be successful in the classroom and on the athletic field.
Each student is different and there are plenty of students that thrive in a more competitive environment. They sometimes need and sometimes enjoy the push from their peers. And even for a student who initially needed a more nurturing school, they too can develop the skills and confidence and then need a transition to something more competitive.
We have seen this play out for students and their families over the years, and we enjoy helping them understand their child’s needs better and what the different school cultures are like so they can make good choices in the end. Additionally, we often see how students grow through the process. They become more focused and stronger students and how participating in the life of a school will make a difference in their lives.
Robin and I chose early on to work with students and families in this way. We find gratification in seeing our students in their new schools, which is why we are here for the next student that would benefit from our approach.