Secondary School Guidance
Secondary School Placement Guidelines for 7th Grade Families
Where to Start
Before you begin to seriously discuss school choices with your child, you need to come together as parents and decide how much influence over this decision you intend to give your child. Will you allow your child to make the final decision, or will you reserve that for yourselves? If this is the case, please make that clear to your child up front. Similarly, if independent schools are not a possibility, you need to make that clear to your child from the beginning. Some suggestions to get the process started:
- Sit down with your child and determine a general list of his/her interests and abilities.
- Be realistic regarding your child’s level of commitment and talent in the following areas: academics, sports, fine arts, community service, and social skills. Also consider the following criteria when considering a secondary school: size, single sex vs. coed, day vs. boarding, location & distance from your home, transportation options, and the school’s mission and educational philosophy.
- You are now ready to match a school to your child’s profile. There are several good sources of information with which to begin:
- Admission Open Houses. This is a crucial step and source of information, and I recommend that you begin immediately. You can learn a lot from an open house or information session. If you cannot attend an open house, parents may usually visit a school by appointment at any point during the year. Aside from open houses, most schools request that students visit during the official admissions season which begins in September/October.
- The Secondary School Fair is held here at Montgomery School each spring. The next fair will be the evening of Tuesday, April 11, 2017 beginning at 7:00 PM in the gym. Representatives from over 30 schools will be in attendance to talk to you about their schools. Many bring students with them. Plan to come and bring your child to this event.
- Secondary school websites: plan to visit the school’s website before attending a school event. Your student should research the sites carefully prior to any school visit or interview.
- Brochures from boarding and day schools are available in the library.
- If you are interested in boarding schools, the following link will be of assistance: http://www.boardingschools.com/
- The National Association of Independent Schools website has a lot of valuable information for parents.
- Independent consultants are also available.
- As the 7th grade School year comes to a close, please set up an appointment with Mark Dixon, to discuss the process specifically for your child. It would be very helpful to bring the following with you to this meeting:
- A list of all schools your family may be interested in exploring at this point in the process (this list may change over time).
- A letter to Mark Dixon, Middle School Head, that talks about what you think makes your child unique. Describe any out of school experiences and passions, as well as those in school. Mention things he or she may not be likely to say about themselves.
- A list of any questions you have about the secondary school process
- Once you have created a list, you will need to research and consider each school carefully.
With your short list in hand, you should visit schools beginning in the spring of 7th grade. After visiting, you may decide to apply to your entire short list or to a fewer number of schools. This is the time to check the schools’ references. Contact friends that attend those schools and ask them what they like and dislike.
Secondary School Placement Timetable
7th Grade School Year
March - April
Admissions Open Houses
Montgomery Secondary School Fair (April 11, 2017)
Review web sites of other schools and nais.org
April and May
Meetings with Mr. Dixon
Admissions Open Houses
May and June
Admissions Open Houses
Review web sites of schools and nais.org
Request admissions packets/information from 3-5 schools
8th Grade School Year
Register for the Standard Application Online and complete your biographical information. For parochial schools, begin bringing in transcript request forms and request for letters of recommendation.
Register for the ISEE (have the school codes for the schools to which your son or daughter is applying when doing so).
Deadline for ISEE test registration at Montgomery School
Late October/early November
First mailing of transcript/recommendation packets to schools (October for parochial schools, November for non-parochial schools).
ISEE test administered at Montgomery School (November 2017)
2nd mailing of transcript/recommendation packets to parochial schools before the Thanksgiving break.
For parochial schools and early admission notification schools, contact the admissions offices of each to make sure they have all the necessary information about your child.
Parochial and select other schools will begin notifying parents of admission decisions.
Late January into early February
Day schools will send letters notifying parents of admission decisions. Deadlines for decisions will vary from school to school. Most will be flexible with you if you are waiting to hear from a boarding school. Please discuss this with the admissions representative once you have been accepted.
Early in second week of March
Boarding schools will send letters notifying parents of admission decisions.
Secondary School Placement for 8th Grade Families
As your son or daughter approaches the beginning of their 8th grade year, you should have already begun the secondary school process by attending our spring school fair, visiting school open houses, and putting together a list of potential schools. If you have not yet met with me, please be sure to do so prior to the start of the school new school year. Once you have created a school list, you will need to research and consider each school carefully.
- You should continue to visit schools early in the fall. After visiting, you may decide to apply to your entire short list or to a fewer number of schools. Now is the time to check the schools’ references. Contact friends that attend those schools and ask them what they like and dislike, but keep in mind every child’s experience is different, and therefore this information should be looked at through that lens.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It will be necessary to visit schools during regular school days in the fall. This is a part of the process and we understand this; we will work with you to make up anything that was missed. There is no penalty for missing days for secondary school visits.
- Register for the November 5th ISEE test, which will be administered here at Montgomery.
You may register online, or by phone. ERB charges $105.00 to register for the ISEE ($125.00 if you do so over the phone). The deadline to register for this test is October 28th (after which time you may still register, but ERB charges an additional $20 late fee).
Online registration instructions are as follows:
- log on to www.iseetest.org
- select “Student Registration”
- select “Click Here” to register online
- select “Register for ISEE”
The next screen will prompt you to fill in four required fields, and ask you for “optional” member and invitation codes. Once you have filled in the required fields, place the following in the “Invitation Code”: D9YHFK2W (case sensitive). Then click “search”. Montgomery school will come up as the only option for you, and you proceed from there.
Whichever way you chose to register, you will be asked to include the school code for the school to which you would like the test report sent. Please have the school codes on hand before registering. You can get the codes easily by calling the admissions office of the schools to which you are applying. Even if you are not sure if you will apply to a given school, please include them in case you decide to do so later. Please also include Montgomery’s school code (395640).
- All non-parochial applications should go through the “Standard Application Online” offered by SSAT. In a nutshell, all information need only be entered once, including biographical information and the student essay, as well as recommendations. On our end, we will input your transcript and recommendations. You will need the email addresses for the teachers from whom you would like to request a recommendation, but these are almost always math and language arts (Lynn Vessey and Amy Brown). The link above will take you to the website where you will find step-by-step directions.
Please note that all applications to non-parochial schools should go through this application process. SSAT will charge you a $4.00 per school application fee, a very small price to pay for the convenience (this is separate from the application fee that you will pay to each school to which you are applying).
Lastly, I highly recommend having all of your information entered by the first week in November. This will enable us to have our information entered in time for your son or daughter to be included in the first round of candidates.
If you are applying to parochial schools, schools that do not accept the Standard Application Online, please pick up the application materials at these schools as you normally would, and drop off the request for transcripts and recommendations here at Montgomery with Patty Kirkner in the farmhouse.
- After you have applied to a school, you will be contacted by their Admissions office. A good admissions officer will explain the process carefully. As parents and students, ask questions that relate to your profile. This helps you decide if the match would be a good one.
- For parochial schools and schools not accepting the Standard Application Online, we will coordinate all transcript and recommendation materials for each student and see to it that these materials are sent to the secondary schools. We send these materials in two major mailings. One the last week in October, and one the last week before the Thanksgiving break. In order for your child’s materials to be sent in either mailing, we must receive the application materials from you at least two weeks in advance. Since most parochial schools have an earlier deadline for materials, we will need transcript and recommendation requests by mid-October in order to make the first mailing in late October.
- It is important to note that 1st quarter grades will be sent to parochial schools and/or added to your child’s Standard Application Online profile as soon as they are ready. Therefore, they may be added/sent separately from the other application materials.
- The financial aid process differs from school to school, and each admission office will provide appropriate information for your consideration.
- Once the process is complete, you will wait for an answer from the school’s admission committee. Some schools are beginning to notify families in mid-December. Most schools notify in late January and boarding schools notify early in the second week of March. Rejection is always difficult, but if you are realistic in your choice of application, the chances of rejection will be reduced. Often, it is more difficult to be accepted to all of the schools on your short list and be faced with a limited amount of time to decide. In either case, it is our responsibility as adults to help children keep some perspective. The school to which they are accepted or choose to attend is much less important than what they do with the opportunities that are offered once they enroll.
Questions will arise and the only bad questions are the ones not asked. We will assist you in every way possible and look forward to hearing about your child’s success in their next school.
Secondary School Timetable for 8th Graders
- Request admissions packets/information from 3-5 schools
- Register for the Standard Application Online and complete your biographical information. For parochial schools, begin bringing in transcript request forms and request for letters of recommendation.
- Register for the ISEE (have the school codes for the schools to which your son or daughter is applying when doing so).
- Deadline for ISEE test registration at Montgomery School
Late October/early November
- First mailing of transcript/recommendation packets to parochial schools
- ISEE test administered at Montgomery School (November 5, 2016)
- 2nd mailing of transcript/recommendation packets to parochial schools before the Thanksgiving break.
- For parochial schools and early admission notification schools, contact the admissions offices of each to make sure they have all the necessary information about your child.
- Parochial and select other schools will begin notifying parents of admission decisions.
Late January into early February
- Day schools will send letters notifying parents of admission decisions. Deadlines for decisions will vary from school to school. Most will be flexible with you if you are waiting to hear from a boarding school. Please discuss this with the admissions representative once you have been accepted, and if you need assistance, please feel free to contact me.
Early in second week of March
- Boarding schools will send letters notifying parents of admission decisions.
Middle School Head
Administrative Support for Lower & Middle School Heads