Income Inequality and Education

There is a lot of talk in the media these days about income inequality.

The best remedy for income inequality is education!

Education builds skills which enable people to lead productive lives, and build value for themselves and their family.  Contributing positively to society is also a direct result of leading a life of purpose and dignity.

We have all heard the Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

I see too many parents pushing sports, dance classes, music lessons, art classes, etc., at the expense of education, and they do not realize how much damage they are doing to their children in the long run.

I can’t help but wonder if the epidemic of drug abuse and underemployment among our nation’s youth is a direct result of not enough emphasis on education.

I will leave you with one last thought on this matter:

Life is hard, it is harder when you are stupid!

Happy Easter to all those who celebrate!

Anne Yount

Boston ISEE Prep
617-553-8083
www.bostoniseeprep.com - Test Prep for the ISEE & Latin School Exam

Boston Tutoring Center
617-553-8083
www.bostontutoringcenter.com - Tutoring Grades K-12

Boston Private School Search
617-553-0540
www.bostonprivateschoolsearch.com - Your Resource for Private School Admissions

Follow my Blog - http://privateschoolguru.com/blog/

 

 

Early Start, Slow and Steady Pace, Wins the Race!

As we start to analyze the results for our class of 2015/2016, some very clear trends are emerging that I would like to share with my readers.

  1. Students who started their private school admission test prep early (at least a year before they took the test, and no later than 9 months before the test date, did better than students who started with less than 6 months to go before their test date. An early start is key to a successful outcome!
  2. A slow and steady pace is what helps students retain the material.  Students who have sporadic attendance, take time off for extended travel (more than 2 weeks) and take a month off (or longer) for summer camp, or who take breaks and stop and start their test prep program, have significantly lower scores than students who are more consistent.  As with any new skill, practice makes perfect!  Students who take more than a week or two off at a time do not retain the new skills they have been practicing, and tutoring becomes a series of one step forward and two steps back for them.  We have to reteach what students have forgotten constantly, and it hampers our ability to move them forward. Regular weekly attendance is critical, in order for students to learn what they need to know to score high on the test.
  3. Fit is key in selecting schools for students.  Be honest with yourself about what type of an environment is best for your child, and don’t try to shove the square peg into the round hole.  The parents and students who gain the most from the process and have the best outcomes are those who select their schools carefully and thoughtfully, keeping in mind the interests, temperament, and strengths and weaknesses of their child.
  4. Families who do their homework have more success than those who do not!  This sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised at how little research some families put into an investment that could total over $200,000 (or more) for a private school education for their child.  The more you know about a school, the better able you will be to demonstrate why your child is a good fit for the school.  Do your homework, it will pay off in the end!
  5. Make sure your child is prepared for the interview.  First impressions are lasting ones, and the interview is often the only chance your child (and you) will have to meet with the admissions staff one-on-one.  You only get one chance to convince the school that your child and your family are a good fit for the school, don’t blow it!  Make sure you and your child practice for your interview, and you know what questions the schools are likely to ask, and most important of all – you have well thought out and insightful responses to these questions.

I will continue to share my thoughts on what we have learned from this year’s class of private school applicants, as we analyze the results and draw our conclusions.

Anne Yount

Boston ISEE Prep
617-553-8083
www.bostoniseeprep.com - Test Prep for the ISEE & Latin School Exam

Boston Tutoring Center
617-553-8083
www.bostontutoringcenter.com - Tutoring Grades K-12

Boston Private School Search
617-553-0540
www.bostonprivateschoolsearch.com - Your Resource for Private School Admissions

Follow my Blog - http://privateschoolguru.com/blog/

Social Media and Teenagers

I have just started reading a very important book that I would recommend every parent of a teenager read as soon as possible: American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, by Nancy Jo Sales.  I am only about 70 pages into this 400+ page book, and I am overwhelmed already.

As an educator for the past 14 years, and a parent for the past 25 years, I know how pervasive social media is in the lives of today’s children.  I see how social media is taking away from education, and how obsessed some children are with this medium.  I had no idea how misogynist and downright filthy a lot of the social media kids today are using is, and how harmful it is to their development and self esteem.

I would venture to say that the overuse and abuse of social media is becoming a public health crisis in America.  Teens are being bullied on social media at an alarming rate.  Pornographic material is freely available and accessible to teens.  Body shaming and sexting is a huge issue.  Teens are suffering from anxiety and depression, as a direct result of the negative aspects of social media.

As I read this important book, I will continue to post my thoughts on these matters, and provide some insight and advice as to what parents can do.  The first thing I would urge every parent to do is check their child’s electronic devices every day to see what they are viewing, texting, posting and watching.  Have a conversation with your teen about what is and what is not acceptable in your family.  The rule in my house is if I paid for the device then it is up to me as to how it is used, and I have the right to censor whatever I feel is objectionable.  I always talk through these issues with my daughter before I ban things, so that she understands the dangers of some of the technology out there.

Our children live in a whole new world from the one we grew up in, and the technology is changing so rapidly that the experiences my 25 year old son had on social media in his middle and high school years are very different than the experiences my daughter is having with this technology in middle school right now.

Be vigilant and be involved when it comes to social media and your teen!

Anne Yount

Boston ISEE Prep
617-553-8083
www.bostoniseeprep.com - Test Prep for the ISEE & Latin School Exam

Boston Tutoring Center
617-553-8083
www.bostontutoringcenter.com - Tutoring Grades K-12

Boston Private School Search
617-553-0540
www.bostonprivateschoolsearch.com - Your Resource for Private School Admissions

Follow my Blog - http://privateschoolguru.com/blog/

You Can’t Train a Puppy at 14!

I love this quote!  I first heard it from a very good client, many years ago.  She is a wise and strict mother who has two very successful sons today.  They both attended private schools and colleges, and they are gainfully employed and living on their own in their late 20s today.  She is a single mother and she worked hard to support her sons over the years, and to make sure they grew into respectful, self-sufficient members of society.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of many parents I encounter today.  Parents are often too quick to make excuses for their children, and not hold them to high standards.  There is a balance between holding children to high standards, and nurturing and supporting them.  You need to give children the tools to succeed, and then you need to step back and let them rise and fall on their own.

Parents today are too swift to swoop in and rescue poor little Janey and Johnny when they think there is trouble ahead.  Children have to be allowed to fail, so that they learn from their mistakes, and they learn how to solve problems on their own.  We are here to support and guide, but not to be the sweeper who is running around behind them constantly cleaning up their messes for them.  This does nothing to teach children how to make their own way in the world.

This type of parenting has to start from the time they can walk and talk.  You can’t teach a puppy how to behave at 14, and you can’t expect to install values and a work ethic in a child who has never been held accountable for their actions prior to entering high school.

Stop making excuses for your children (if you are that kind of a parent)!  Set reasonable goals with your children and give them the tools they need to succeed, and then get the heck out of the way and let the baby birds learn to fly!

Anne Yount

Boston ISEE Prep
617-553-8083
www.bostoniseeprep.com - Test Prep for the ISEE & Latin School Exam

Boston Tutoring Center
617-553-8083
www.bostontutoringcenter.com - Tutoring Grades K-12

Boston Private School Search
617-553-0540
www.bostonprivateschoolsearch.com - Your Resource for Private School Admissions

Follow my Blog - http://privateschoolguru.com/blog/

 

 

Bad News – How to Turn it Around

The old adage: “If at first you don’t succeed, try again” is very applicable to the private school admissions process.

If you received bad news this weekend in your mailbox or inbox from private schools, in most cases you can try again next year, but next time you need to be better prepared.  Here are some steps you can take to be better prepared the second time around:

  1. Make sure your child is well prepared for the test.  Most of our students start test prep at least a year before their test date.
  2. Be realistic about the schools that are a good fit for your child, both academically and socially.
  3. You and your child should be prepped for the interview. Work on your mock interview prep.
  4. Teacher recommendations need to be stellar.  If your child is not already practicing teacher pleasing behaviors, then they need to start doing so ASAP.  Poor teacher recommendations can sink an otherwise stellar application, and you will never know this, because most private schools ask that the teacher recommendations be sent directly to them, and they ask you to sign a waiver saying you have no right to see them.  This encourages teachers to be honest about the student they are evaluating.
  5. Make sure your child is well rounded and has an athletic (preferably a team sport) interest, a musical interest, and an artistic interest (visual arts, theater, etc.).
  6. Engage your child in community service and giving back to the less fortunate among us.
  7. Work on your applications and essays well in advance of the deadlines, and make sure they have lots of good stories about your child, they demonstrate why the school is a good fit for your child, and they include proper grammar, spelling and punctuation.
  8. Have a positive attitude throughout the process.

Most of the time when a student is not admitted to a private school, there is a problem in one of the above (or several of the above) areas.

People who fail to plan by default plan to fail.

Don’t plan to fail the next time around!

Anne Yount

Boston ISEE Prep
617-553-8083
www.bostoniseeprep.com - Test Prep for the ISEE & Latin School Exam

Boston Tutoring Center
617-553-8083
www.bostontutoringcenter.com - Tutoring Grades K-12

Boston Private School Search
617-553-0540
www.bostonprivateschoolsearch.com - Your Resource for Private School Admissions

Follow my Blog - http://privateschoolguru.com/blog/

The Mystery of the Wait List

Hopefully everyone will soon be receiving good news in their mailboxes from the schools they have applied to for fall 2016 admission.

Private school admission is super competitive, and very often schools simply have more applicants than they have seats available for new students.  Sometimes schools like an applicant very much, but they just do not have space for them.  When this happens they will often wait list a student.

Parents often ask me what this means, and when will they find out if their child will get off the wait list and be admitted to the school.  This is tough, because some schools have a lot of movement on the wait list, and some schools have no movement.  The short answer is it depends.  It depends on who turns them down.

Schools often do not number students on a wait list.  Many private schools are trying to balance their class.  For co-ed schools they look for gender balance between male and female students.  Schools often look for diversity in race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, family makeup, and a myriad of other factors.  They also look to balance the artists, the athletes, the poets, the budding scientists, the math enthusiasts, the musicians, the actors and actresses, and the kids who love history.

If a violinist who plays tennis and is on the math team turns the school down, then they look to the wait list to see who else might fit this role.  If your child fits the gap(s) they are looking to fill, then they may be offered a spot in the class starting next fall.  Admissions staff have told me some years they need soccer players, some years they need violinists, and some years they need to beef up the math team.  Sometimes it is pure luck that moves a student off the wait list and into the school.

Once thing I have seen work very successfully in the past is for both the parent and the student (separately) to write a sincere letter to the admissions officer who signed the wait list letter, expressing a desire to remain on the wait list, and reiterating why the school is a great fit for the student.  The letter should include specific reasons why the school is a good fit for the student (mention classes, clubs, teams, activities, etc., in which the student would make a valuable contribution to the school).  More than one admission director has mentioned that a well crafted and sincere letter is what swayed them to admit the student off the wait list.

Look at being wait listed as another opportunity to convince the school why your child would excel there, and don’t give up hope.  Most schools have a deadline for when new students must pay a deposit and accept the offer of admission.  Ask when this deadline is for the school which your child has been wait listed.  This will give you a sense of when there may be some movement on the wait list.

Good luck!

Anne Yount

Boston ISEE Prep
617-553-8083
www.bostoniseeprep.com - Test Prep for the ISEE & Latin School Exam

Boston Tutoring Center
617-553-8083
www.bostontutoringcenter.com - Tutoring Grades K-12

Boston Private School Search
617-553-0540
www.bostonprivateschoolsearch.com - Your Resource for Private School Admissions

Follow my Blog - http://privateschoolguru.com/blog/

March 10th – Private School “D” Day

March 10th is typically private school “D” (decision) day.  Schools mail their letters of acceptance, rejection, or they invite applicants to be on their wait list.

The letters arrive after many months, if not year’s worth of work for parents and students in selecting schools, preparing for the entrance exams (for middle and high school admission) and work on applications and essays.

Our families typically have lots of good news in March, because they were very well prepared.  They did their homework in evaluating schools that were a good fit for their child, their child was prepared for the test and scored high on the exam, and their applications, essays and recommendations were stellar.  They won the arms race that is the private school admission process in most competitive urban areas in America.

We wait with baited breath for the results later this week, and we wish all families checking the mail box and e-mail in-box every 5 minutes this week only good news!

Anne Yount

Boston ISEE Prep
617-553-8083
www.bostoniseeprep.com - Test Prep for the ISEE & Latin School Exam

Boston Tutoring Center
617-553-8083
www.bostontutoringcenter.com - Tutoring Grades K-12

Boston Private School Search
617-553-0540
www.bostonprivateschoolsearch.com - Your Resource for Private School Admissions

Follow my Blog - http://privateschoolguru.com/blog/

 

 

Motivation is Key

As with all things in life, motivation is key when a student is preparing for the private school admission test.  I have seen far too many students who were just not into it; it was all their parent(s) idea.

You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make them drink.  A good ISEE, SSAT or HSPT prep program will be rigorous, and will include, at a minimum, 2 hours a week of one-on-one test prep, and at least another 2 hours a week of homework between the sessions.

Test prep homework should include skill building, as well as teaching the techniques for approaching each question, and the tricks to look out for on each question.  There should be regular math lessons and vocabulary lessons, as well as work on the essay (if applicable), and timed practice drills to simulate test taking conditions.

A student who is not committed to this type of a program is generally not a good candidate for an elite private school.  Be honest with yourself about who your child is and what their skill level is, and even more importantly what their work ethic is.

Anne Yount

Boston ISEE Prep
617-553-8083
www.bostoniseeprep.com - Test Prep for the ISEE & Latin School Exam

Boston Tutoring Center
617-553-8083
www.bostontutoringcenter.com - Tutoring Grades K-12

Boston Private School Search
617-553-0540
www.bostonprivateschoolsearch.com - Your Resource for Private School Admissions

Follow my Blog - http://privateschoolguru.com/blog/

 

 

 

Welcome to Private School Guru!

Hello:

Welcome to Private School Guru.  We are a blog for families seeking information about private school admission in the United States.

Ms. Anne is the Private School Guru.  She is a mother of two children (one who is currently a private school student, and one who is a private school graduate), a teacher, and a private school guru.  For the past 14 years, Ms. Anne has run Boston ISEE prep – www.bostoniseeprep.com, Boston Tutoring Center – www.bostontutoringcenter.com and Boston Private school Search – www.bostonprivateschoolsearch.com.

Ms. Anne has been helping families select schools that are the right fit for their children for over a decade.  She and her team help prep students for the entrance exams, and Ms. Anne works with parents and students on the applications, interviews, and essays, and she holds their hands every step of the way through the ins and outs of navigating the daunting private school admission process.

Below is a list of school in the Boston area, and across the country that Ms. Anne’s students have been admitted to over the years.

Archbishop Williams

Awty (Houston)

Beaver Country Day

Belmont Hill

Boston College High School

Boston Latin Academy

Boston Latin School

Boston Trinity Academy

Boston University Academy

Brewster Academy

Brimmer and May

British School

Brooks

Buckingham, Browne & Nichols

Cambridge School of Weston

Campbell Hall (Los Angeles)

Catholic Memorial

Chapel Hill – Chauncey

Commonwealth School

Concord Academy

Dana Hall

Dexter School

Fessenden

Fontbonne Academy

Govenor’s Academy

Groton

Kinkaid (Houston)

Lawrenceville

Lexington Christian Academy

Loomis Chaffee

Matignon

Meridian Academy

Milton Academy

Montrose

Moses Brown

Mount Alvernia

Newman School

Newton Country Day

Noble and Greenough

O’Bryant School of Mathematics

Park School

Phillips Andover

Phillips Exeter Academy

Pope John Paul II High School

Randolph School (Alabama)

Rivers School

Roxbury Latin – 5 boys admitted out of a class of 45 and over 700 applicants

Saint George’s

Saint Mark’s

Saint John’s (Houston)

Saint Joseph’s

Saint Sebastian’s

Southfield

Tabor Academy

Thayer Academy

Ursuline Academy

Winsor School

Woodward School for Girls

Xaverian Brothers

Feel free to ask questions of the guru, or contact us for assistance on your private school admission journey! 

Anne Yount

Boston ISEE Prep
617-553-8083
www.bostoniseeprep.com - Test Prep for the ISEE & Latin School Exam

Boston Tutoring Center
617-553-8083
www.bostontutoringcenter.com - Tutoring Grades K-12

Boston Private School Search
617-553-0540
www.bostonprivateschoolsearch.com - Your Resource for Private School Admissions

Follow my Blog - http://privateschoolguru.com/blog/