ASL St John's Wood - has anyone heard back?

(13 Posts)
amcjohnson Mon 22-Feb-16 18:08:32

Hi,
Anxiously waiting to hear back from ASL, they said "end of the month", so definitely still a week left. I was just wondering if anyone had heard anything. I am waiting to hear on K1 and 1st grade.

Hopingforastickyone Tue 23-Feb-16 10:33:51

Waiting anxiously as well for the same grades. It's almost like waiting for college admissions letters!

I will post as soon as I hear. From previous posts it seems as though ASL sends letters throughout the last week of February.

Best of luck!

Hopingforastickyone Wed 24-Feb-16 09:38:54

Any news? Anyone else in the same boat? The wait is interminable!

amcjohnson Thu 25-Feb-16 08:06:37

No news here. Do you know if it is email or snail mail?

Hopingforastickyone Thu 25-Feb-16 09:24:40

If you log into the admissions portal at the top of your application it says they will contact by email at the end of Feb.

No news here either. Hoping today or tomorrow.

Hopingforastickyone Fri 26-Feb-16 10:33:41

Still no news here.

Any news for you amc?

amcjohnson Fri 26-Feb-16 19:32:58

Yes, we heard. We didn't get in. =(

lhrmum Mon 29-Feb-16 12:26:18

amcjohnson, I am sorry to hear you didnt get a place. We were waitlisted. Did you get a 'no' or a waitlist spot? curious if they just put everyone into a waitlist.

Bit of a rant here ... I am convinced the ASL admissions process has nothing to do with the child applying. I am SO unimpressed. My son (currently Y5 in private prep) applied. His current HT said we should plan for him to look at Westminster & St Pauls next year. (This HT has loads of experience sending boys to both of those schools each year). For family reasons, we chose to apply to ASL. My DS did not get a place at ASL. seriously??

I have met kids from ASL and have not been blown away by their academic brilliance. So can only assume the admissions process is a lot more about who mommy & daddy work for and who is paying the fees - and nothing to do with the child.

MunichLondonExpat Mon 29-Feb-16 18:48:55

lhrmum - If you are so unimpressed with the school then why did you apply knowing that you have "met kids from ASL and have not been blown away by their academic brilliance".

I believe top schools like ASL don't just look at grades. It's about having a well-rounded child. Just being smart does not guarantee success in life. It is important for children to have certain character skills. Read "How Children Succeed" - was very popular a few years ago.

I have spoken to families who attend ASL and they are all very happy their. The faculty is said to be top notch. More than half with master degrees. The high school seniors get into many top universities in the US. I believe it is due to the strong academics and the global experience these kids bring to a new school.

I believe not all "qualified" applicants are wait listed. I was told that when spots open up admissions looks at all wait listed applications and evaluates who will get the spot. There is no ranking. Class composition is taken into account - I think this means if they need more girls spot preference for a girl or if they want more diversity spot given to someone with an interesting global background. Siblings do get preference but I don't know if that means qualified siblings get a spot before non-siblings or if they just get an extra point / edge.

I was told by a source that "who you know" or who you are does not help. Being able to pay your own fees or having a company may help - I think given only about 10% of the students get financial aid.

After having seen a few schools in the city, I can see why it is so popular. Amazing resources, faculty, outstanding academics, and great community. I have no idea how many apps they get but it must be HUGE. If you just consider that expats apply, these families tend to be highly educated and have a high standard for academics. Thus you have a pool of bright children competing for a few spots. I was told that turnover over the past few years has decreased. I think last year it was 13%.

amcjohnson Tue 01-Mar-16 13:22:30

We got an outright "No". I am going to go have a chat with them next week and see if I can get any more information from them. Basically try and find out if it is worth reapplying next year or if I should come up with a new plan!

lhrmum Tue 01-Mar-16 19:57:32

amcjohnson, sorry to hear that. Definitely worth a call to find out how to improve the application next time. Best of luck!

MunichLondonExpat, fair enough. I was on a rant when I wrote my earlier post. blush Thank you for your response. I do appreciate it. So, I will attempt a more tempered response now:

We applied to ASL for family reasons - mostly trying to balance the needs of 2 very different children and ASL seemed like a good option for DS, given a whole host of other factors. I am bitter that he was not accepted - because how could they not want my perfect child, right? wink

I will stand by my opinion that ASL's process completely lacks the transparency of other private schools in London. I have seen less than stellar students that attend ASL - and yet my DS who is top in his form was waitlisted. ASL does not interview children so all must be based on academic record (in theory). So it should be more straightforward. Search on MN and you will see other parents similarly left scratching their head in years past. It really bugs me that it is not predictable at all. Admittedly, that's my issue - might not be an issue for other parents.

I have several friends with kids at ASL that say very plainly that corporate association does matter (i.e. your company is footing the bill v a parent committing to paying). And 'who you know' is a factor. So, not sure who to believe on that one.

Alas, ASL is not for us as we did not get a place. I would not apply again based on my experience.

But, we definitely agree on one thing - parents seem to love it.

MunichLondonExpat Wed 02-Mar-16 07:08:27

lhrmum - I totally understand being disappointed. Believe me, I have been through it. About 2 years ago, my family moved back to the US after our expat assignment. I applied to the top 3 private schools in our area. I knew that getting 3 kids into a top private school would be difficult. There is very little turnover in our area. Families stay and rarely move. My oldest who is bright - top percentile on tests and part of John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth - was declined the first time she applied to our top choice. My other two children got in. She never finished her entrance test and thus would not score well. I never prepped her for it and did not think it was a big deal - meaning that she would do well given her intelligence. I told the school that the test did not reflect her academic ability. She had stellar recommendations and report cards. Ideal student. But the test scores mattered to THIS SCHOOL. The following year, after prepping her, she did an amazing job. She scored 100% in the math and quant sections. English, Reading, Vocabulary she was in the 89th+ percentiles. School was amazed! I reminded them that I said that test a year ago was not a reflection of her. That year she got a spot. This school does interviews / "shadow days". I have learned from a teacher who I am friends with that the interview / shadow day is just an opportunity to make sure the student matches the application and there is no bad match. The student would fit in. This teacher also told me that schools do get recommendation forms that are not outstanding and discreetly point to an issue the child may have such as - being distracted, short attention spans, etc. Interviews I think help schools figure out a preference over a candidate and ensure the child matches the application just like grad school or college interviews.

I would definitely call or email the school and ask for feedback. How can you strengthen your child's application for next year? They (ASL) don't charge you a fee for reapplying. When I asked this at our US school, I was told - test scores. So I focused on that. Our school will tell families if their child is just not qualified so they don't keep applying. At this school test scores were very important to them since they bragged about them. Siblings had a preference but not a priority. Meaning the sibling would get an open spot over a non-sibling only if all other things were equal. It is not a family school. It also did not matter that my husband worked for a company which many parents at the school came from. These families have always been known to be very active at school - PTO, volunteering, donating time and $$.

I don't know but wonder how many applications the school gets? How many on average per grade? At our US school we use to get over 150 applications for 30 kindergarten spots. The other 30 went to siblings. Tough to get in. I have to assume given London's expat population and if you consider locals who like ASL, the applications received must be huge!

Don't give up!!!! I've been told the Admissions office is very nice. Reach out to them and say you were disappointed. What can you do to improve your application for next year? What did you DS lack compared to those WHO DID GET IN? This really helps no matte what school you plan to apply to.

I was told by someone today who has children at ASL (many, many years) that the lower school is not as challenging as the British Schools. ASL's academic in middle and high school are very good.

My oldest who I wrote about will be attending ASL next year. She got in. My other child was wait listed. I'm crossing my fingers spots open up after re-enrollment forms are turned in.

Best of luck!

By the way - did you look at Southbank? I know the school has the scandal, some admin issues with the State, and it's a for profit school. But I met a parent who is very happy there.

Hopingforastickyone Wed 09-Mar-16 16:47:13

Hello everyone,

Meant to update much earlier but had a baby.

Both of our children were accepted in Kindergarten 1 and Year 1.

AMC -- I'm very sorry to hear about ASL's response and I think it is a very good idea to meet with the school to obtain some clarity.

lhrmum -- I hope that the wait list moves quickly and you obtain an eventual acceptance. For what it's worth we are a London-based, self-funding, non-connected family. I have no idea what spurred the acceptance except that we visited ASL several times, spoke with the dean of admissions at length and conveyed a huge amount of enthusiasm for the school. I know that both our sons' teachers wrote glowing reports and we worked very hard on our parent statements. From what i have heard through the grapevine, the school is looking not only for bright children, but also children and families that will fit in with the school's culture.

Best of luck and keep us posted.

xx

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