Why Admission is Harder for Boarders
by Hadley Noble on Friday, December 5th, 2014
From September to December, wide-eyed, prospective students tour our campus. Many tour guides often highlight the fact that Milton strives for an equal ratio of boarding and day students.
Day students come from all over the Boston area, while boarders hail from a wide array of places within the country and around the globe. For the past five years, the average boarder acceptance rate has been 24.4%. Over the same period of time, the acceptance rate for day students has averaged at 26.35%.
This small margin between the different acceptance rates often leads people to believe that there is little to no difference in probability of admission whether one applies as a day student or a boarder. However, when you take a closer look at the statistics, the acceptance rate for day students over the past five years has been consistently higher than the boarding acceptance rate.
My hypothesis as to why applying as a boarder is more competitive than applying as a day student is due to the many factors included in a boarder’s application—factors often not applicable to day students. Although the applications for boarders and day students are identical, the types of applicants boarders compete with is much different than those day students do. Often, an international pool can create cultural aspects that admissions must sort through in order to maintain the diverse environment Milton prides itself in.
Additionally, students who are recruited for sports are often advised to board; therefore, many boarder spots filled up from these applicants alone. Because of size constraints on students able to board in dorms at Milton, it seems to me that every boarder could have easily been accepted as a day student, but not every day student might have had the same result if applying as a boarder.
When Admission evaluates students who want to board at Milton, it looks for very specific qualities. Interviews look for students who could be independent and self-motivated; they hope these applicants will be able to overcome the unique challenges they will face as boarders. In a multitude of ways, boarding applicants must be very self-sufficient. Admission officers likely desire boarding applicants to be able to interact well in a group setting, as dorms are a significant part of everyday life. There are plenty of intelligent, interesting, and motivated students who apply to Milton as boarders, but if they seem unable to thrive in a boarding environment, they are often not accepted. Excited and intimidated by the prospect of leaving home at a young age, boarding students are often self-selective. This quality of prospective students cannot be measured by a test nor reflected in students’ grades; however, being excited about the process is necessary to succeed as a boarder.
Having all been through the process ourselves, we know how difficult it is to get into Milton, but this struggle should not disguise the fact that more boarding applications are rejected each year than day student applications. Just because self-sufficient and independent qualities are emphasized in during the application process of boarders does not mean they are overlooked in the applications of day students. Although the community is made up of a diverse network of individuals, we all share a commonality in the strength of our ambition.
Ultimately, every student took a different path to get here, and, as a community, we should recognize our differences as much as our commonalities.
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