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How many independent high schools to apply to?(19 Posts)
I'm a lurker, and this is my first post. I was just wondering how many independent schools people normally apply to? We have three in mind, but all are selective with a lot of competition for each place. Both my daughter's teacher and my husband think DD is smart enough to get a place in at least one of them. But I wonder if I should have a back up just in case? But then, would 4 schools (with all the exams and interviews that entails) not be too much for DD? I'm not sure what to do.
Are you state or private?
If state search the thread called "4 school rejections - options" and read the reality of being rejected by Tiffin 1st Stage & 3 more schools before interview stage.
3 or 4 minimum. Depends where in the country you are. My daughter got offers for everywhere she applied but some places are more competitive.
If you are not London, 3 is enough. 2 competitive and one less so - the banker!
DD1 applied to 2, DD2 to one school. We matched them to schools accurately! I don’t like the idea of multiple applications. It’s very highly pressurised and not a pleasant experience!
Where you are matters.
In London, it is a bit more competitive, so normally 4 to 5. We were advised to put down one aspirational, two within range and two bankers for our DD. With the Consortium, you can actually make more applications as there is one set of exams for these schools. Is your DD going for sports, art or music scholarships? If so, you need to consider the additional effort for each school.
We are London and have just gone through this with DD1. We did 3. All were selective and she was offered all three so had a choice. One favourite, very over subscribed; one very good, lots of applicants and we would be happy with; and one banker. Most of her friends did 3, one did 4. I think more than 4 is unkind to be honest. Also if you apply for 6+ selective indies and get no offers you have perhaps chosen the wrong schools for your child.
Thanks for all the replies. We live in North Oxfordshire, and were thinking of applying to 2 fairly competitive schools in Oxford (Oxford High and Headington), and an additional one in Warwick (King's High). DD is bright as a button, but I do feel that a certain amount of luck is involved in getting into a selective independent school.
I, personally, don’t think there is much luck! My friends from roughly your area also had DC at Rugby and Bloxham School to which they were suited. Your prep should also advise. Stowe is also a possibility. The schools you want are competitive so do you need a banker and, if so, which one is it if you think luck plays a part?
I don’t think King’s High is overly competitive to get into (compared to others on your list). not sure if your DD is already at Warwick Prep but if not be aware that most girls come up from the prep and know each other very well. So new girls have often found it very cliquey and hard to break into the established groups. The girls who seem happiest there came up from the prep and they have a very strong bond together. I know of a number of girls who joined at seniors from other schools and either never settled and left or who struggled because they never really found their group.
Having just done this (albeit in London) I think three is OK if they’re all relatively predictable. That’s what we did.
When I do it all again, I think I might add a fourth purely because our ‘middle’ choice turned out to be unpredictable across the board - lots of surprises, not just us. We ended up with an offer from our stretch option, a scholarship from our banker option, but waitlist for the middle option.
Thank you all for your great input. I really appreciate this. It has certainly given me food for thought!
As others have said, def go for a spread - 4 or 5,max. Some co ed schools are notoriously tricky so don't necessarily count on them as bankers, or even middle, depending on the school
Sorry, just see where you live. You won't necessarily need to go up to 4/5. Just talking London
I think it depends on whether you'd actually accept back up choices or go for a good state school? I know a lot of prep schools (South West London) seem to be advising 5-6 applications with a couple of stretch, a couple of 'should get' and a couple of back up. We felt that we wouldn't take a back up over a local comp so went for two stretch and one 'should get '. As it was we got an offer for one stretch and waitlist for the other and an offer for the 'should get '. I would just make sure you'd only apply to schools you'd be happy to your child to go to, that may be 3 or 6, it all depends on your circumstances and what's around you.
With dc1 we did 2 and had a 3rd (non-selective) back-up in mind.
With dc2 we just applied for our first choice as we were confident he’d get in (more academic than his sibling who was already there).
Thanks for all your replies, I never expected to get so many! It's really nice to hear from all you guys who've "been there, done that". Your advice is worth its weight in gold, thank you!
Bit of a while back now but did 1 state and 4 independent - London
We are in the Midlands, we did two and were offered the one i preferred. The other would not offer fee paying if you applied for bursary and the bursary competition was tough. There were only 3 we could have done but DD didn't like the third so we didn't sit for that one. I think two 8am starts on a Saturday for 4 hours of exams at 11 years old is plenty! I do appreciate it's a whole different ball game in London though!
We went with 3. In hindsight I’d have definitely gone with a couple more backups. DS did get into his first choice, but it was so stressful.
Most of his friends applied to 7.
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