How I Chose My School

It all started in March 2019 when I found out that I had been accepted to all 8 schools that I applied to: the Williston Northampton School, Lawrence Academy, the Hun School of Princeton, Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, the Gunnery, the Asheville School, Cushing Academy and the Cambridge School of Weston (CSW). I was, of course, thrilled, but this also signalled the beginning of the complicated process of choosing a school, since I had to determine my future for the next 3 years. And I have a hard time making decisions in general, even with some of the simplest things...

After school visits and interviews, I took most of the schools off of my list entirely. Partly due to the fact that some of the interviews took place on Skype (meaning that I didn’t get to see the schools in real life), and partly due to many other factors, such as school ideology, schedules, school uniforms, location, and design. In some cases, I just didn’t like them. I ended up choosing my two top schools: Cushing Academy and CSW. And I ended up having to make a really hard decision, too.

On one hand, Cushing Academy won me over with its large budget (about a million dollars) for arts programs, as well as its new dormitories and new dining hall! It might sound absurd, but I really liked the official school color: purple. The interview and tour were also very low-stress and fun, which I liked.

On the other hand, I liked CSW’s ideology, its non-traditional modular educational system (for 6 weeks you study the same subjects, after which they change), wide variety of classes in all subjects, fairly small distance from the center of Boston, and the fact that I knew for sure that there was a Russian-speaking teacher on campus who could help in case of difficulties.

The crux of the problem lay in that these schools were very different from each other: if Cushing Academy is a more typical private boarding school, where 70% of students live on campus and where there is a trimester/semester system, a large budget and, most importantly, an ESL program (English as a second language), then at CSW, only 30% of students live on campus. Further, the school is also not as rich as Cushing Academy, and has very interesting rules — and no ESL.

Since it was so hard for me to make my decision, I consulted with my family and various members of the Hermiona team: no one wanted to influence my final decision, but everyone tried to help me make it. In the end, I chose Cushing Academy. We were ready to sign the contract and pay, but then I talked with Galit, my tutor from Hermiona, who I’d worked with for a long time. She said she thought that CSW would suit me better. Galit knew what kind of student I was — she had helped me through all of my admissions essays! —  and told me that CSW would be better for me: I wouldn’t have the same classes all year, and would be able to try out many different ones and participate in various school-wide contests and competitions.

After weighing the pros and cons again, I realized that I wanted to go to the CSW more. Now, I actually study there and am very grateful to everyone — especially Galit —  who helped me in this difficult decision, which I will talk about in the next blog!

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