Memos from Meigs House

The Hill School Admission Blog

Seven Tips for Completing Your Boarding School Application

You've made the decision to apply to boarding school - congratulations! Now, it's time to sit down and get the process started. The admission officers at The Hill School have compiled some important tips and suggestions for prospective students and families applying to boarding school. 

Choosing the best application to use

There are several different applications available for families to consider using including the Standard Application Online (SAO) and Gateway to Prep Schools. Most schools, like The Hill School, also offer their own online applications. At The Hill we accept any of these three options, but other schools may have different policies so be sure to ask.  Common applications such as the SAO or Gateway are great options if you are applying to a large number of schools, just take your time when indicating which schools should receive your application!

Ask for recommendations in person

Teacher recommendations are a very important piece of your application and we recommend that students (not parents) are the ones to ask their teachers to write on their behalf.  If a teacher is unfamiliar with boarding school it could be beneficial to schedule a brief a one-on-one meeting to discuss why the student wants to attend boarding school. This is a great way for the teacher to get a better sense of the student’s hopes and aspirations.

Essay advice

Admission officers spend a lot of time reading student essays. Here is some helpful advice to make your essay stand out among the crowd:

  • Use your own voice in your writing.
  • Pay attention to the topic or prompt and do your best to avoid rambling.
  • Word counts/limits are NOT targets; they are just guides. You do not need to land on the exact number.
  • These essays are meant to be personal, not academic.  Have fun with them and be yourself!

Deadlines matter

Most boarding schools set their admission application deadlines in January, but not all are the same so please pay attention to each school’s dates. Here at The Hill School, our application deadline is January 31.  If your family is applying for financial aid, it is important to also keep this date in mind as it may be different from a school's admission application deadline.


If you intend to re-submit your standardized testing scores, be sure to let schools know.  Typically an email to your interviewer or the office manager is all that is needed.  It allows them to be on the lookout for another score before they begin their file reviews.

BONUS TIP:  Ask how schools consider multiple test submissions.  Some schools will only accept the test with the highest total score while others will take the highest composite scores from each test report submitted (sometimes referred to as ‘super-setting’).

Don’t be afraid to check in with your interviewer or program leader/coach

As you finish up your application process you are always welcome to reach out to your interviewer or maybe a program leader/coach with some final questions. You can also simply send an email to let them know your application has been submitted so they can be on the lookout for it!

Hit submit… and (try to) relax!

We know this is the hardest part, but if you’ve taken your time in the process and done your best to put together an application that showcases your true talents, then it’s time to sit back and wait for March 10!  We know it is tempting to want to check in with Schools, but admission offices are the busiest they’ll be all year and so you are best to wait until you hear back from us.

Read Past Blog Posts:

Five Tips to Ensure You Have a Successful Visit to Campus:

There is no better way to gauge the fit and feel of a boarding school campus than to go see it for yourself!  Many schools spend plenty of time and money making sure their websites, view books, and social media channels showcase all aspects of their communities. While they offer a great glimpse into life at the school (we think we do a pretty a good job!), they cannot fully replicate the experience of a visit to campus. 

Seven Interview Tips from Admission Tour Guides

When a prospective family arrives on campus for an admission interview, one of the first things they will experience is the campus tour. Here at The Hill School - and at most boarding schools - the tour will be led by a current student tour guide. This student often is the first person with whom a visiting family will have contact while on campus. It's important to engage your tour guide. They have lots of information to share with you, but the more questions you and your family can ask, the more you’ll learn about the student experience at the school.