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There really is no uniform answer to the question about which elements of the admissions process are more heavily weighted. It is relatively idiosyncratic to each school. Let me give perspective on the different elements of the application process that you mentioned in your question.
The WISC – V or any standardized testing (SSAT) can be critically important. For example, there are some schools that have an unpublished cutoff and if the scores are below the cutoff the other elements would have to be stellar for a school to seriously consider the application.
As there is variability of grading practices among schools, transcripts are given the least weight. Independent schools have admissions committees to aid the admissions offices in making decisions.
Admissions committees are composed of teachers, administrators, and sometimes coaches. Thus, teacher recommendations and teacher comments on transcripts are important. Teachers look carefully at what other educators are saying.
The student visit is very important. At the elementary and middle school level a primary purpose of student visits is to assess how well an applicant responds to the academic program and teaching style, fits into the current cohort of students, and is compatible with the school culture. At the high school level, the student visit often includes an interview (sometimes with parents present, sometimes without). This is an opportunity for the admissions officers to assess a student’s personality and interest in the school. High school students will also spend a day attending classes. At some schools, the admissions officers will solicit the opinion of students with whom the applicant spent the day.
The parent interview is more important than you might think. During the parent interview, it is important that parents ask questions about the school and talk about their child, rather than try to impress with their own position or background.
It is easy to fall into the trap of presenting your child in ways that you think the admissions office is looking for; however you should be transparent and forthcoming, because what you really want is a school that is a good match for your child.
Randy Plummer, Educational Consultant at Independent Learning Resources
- This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by DC School HUB.