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High School Decisions: Almost There!

As an avid hiker, I enjoy taking on a strenuous trail knowing that waiting on the other side there is often a grand view and a feeling of accomplishment. Now that we are nearing the end of this year’s High School placement process I’m filled with a similar sense of pride and amazement for our 8th graders and all that they have achieved.

During the past few weeks, our graduates-to-be and their families have gone through an intensive period of researching and applying to high schools. They filled out forms, wrote essays, attended numerous admissions events and participated in interviews – both in-person and virtual. Some also chose to take the Independent Schools Entrance Exam (ISEE) which only a few selective schools are considering this year. Our applicants have now checked off the last few items on their lists and will wait for decisions to arrive in March.

On average, our 8th graders applied to three or more high schools this year, ranging from selective LA private schools to large parochial ones. As in previous years, we expect more than 80% of them to be accepted to their top choice and all to at least one of the chosen schools. We know that whichever they decide to attend, it will be the right one.

No doubt, the High School placement process is rigorous, but it also gives students a unique opportunity for growth and discovery. Each essay about a challenge they’ve faced and each interview about their interests and passions offers students a chance to reflect on who they are and what they want out of the next phase of their education. It’s also a special bonding time for families, who get to know their child in a new way and rediscover their interests and hopes.

Before you make decisions about which high school, here are some points to consider:

  • Academic programs

  • Cost

  • Diversity and culture

  • College attendance

  • Activities

  • Community

As Head of School and part of our HS placement team, this has also been a most rewarding experience for me. While it’s my first year at BHS, in my past career, I have served on many admissions committees. I have written and read letters of recommendation, interviewed applicants and been part of that difficult and exciting selection process. I know first hand how much care and intention goes into every aspect of this journey.

From where I stand, I can say Berkeley Hall does an exceptional job of getting students to their high schools of choice – and helping them feel confident and supported all the way. I see that our success is the result of a shared effort, a partnership between us and our families. No one knows this better than our President, Dr. Staley, and our staff and faculty who have guided so many graduating classes. Their dedication and professionalism is simply impressive.

As I prepare to take over this responsibility from Dr. Staley, I’ve met with other heads of school and admissions directors and I’ve enjoyed getting to know all the remarkable receiving high schools available to us. I’ve learned that our students are thriving wherever they land and the schools love having them. I know that this is one aspect of my work that I will find most gratifying of all. Soon I will be meeting with 7th grade parents to review important dates, resources and tips with them, and I am looking forward to a successful partnership with them all.

As for our 8th graders, after the hard work – the vigorous climb – they can now turn their attention to having a memorable graduation year. I’m certain that they are ready to take on the next challenge and explore all the possibilities that lie ahead, and I am thrilled to see what comes next for them.

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