You know that VJB & Associates pioneered the field of independent educational consulting, and that we have led the industry for nearly 50 years. But what can we do to help your child? Families who’ve worked with us recently share their stories here, and describe how VJB made a difference in their child’s development.
“Samantha” had attended a private K-8 school, and had followed her three siblings to the day school they attended. Half way through her 10th grade year, she realized that she wanted a new experience, and she decided to apply to boarding school. She researched a number of the most selective schools known for their supportive student bodies, superb academics and variety of offered activities. A student who knew herself well, Samantha was articulate, confident and intelligent. Unlike many students, she did not need coaching for interviews or essay writing, and her application essays were fantastic and really represented who she is. After visiting and interviewing, Samantha realized that the most important aspects to her were “a close, diverse, curious, involved, and supportive” student community with a large majority of boarding students. She was accepted at every school to which she applied: Groton, Deerfield, Lawrenceville, and Taft. Samantha decided to repeat her 10th grade year (even though she was an A student) and all schools supported this decision. “I want to experience boarding school where I can grow, become a leader, take new courses, and make long-lasting friendships, and I believe it is necessary to spend a minimum of three years to reach these goals,” Samantha explained. She is currently thriving at Groton, which she chose in close collaboration with her mother, her VJB consultant and through her own careful consideration.
My son started 9th grade at a boarding school that really wasn’t the right fit for him. When he decided that he wanted to transfer to a different school one month before applications were due, we called VJB immediately. They assessed his learning profile and provided us with a short list of schools they thought would be a good fit, and then they made sure that they were available to us for every step of the process, from brainstorming for essays to ensuring that my son’s applications were as competitive as possible. We were thrilled when he was accepted at his first choice school, not just because it was where he wanted to go, but because we knew it would be a much better fit for him than his first school. He is now finishing his 10th grade year and he is thriving academically, athletically, and emotionally. We owe everything to VJB, and we are so grateful that they helped us figure out what our son needed and made sure that it happened.
As expats living in Singapore, we knew we needed help when our son announced that he wanted to apply to boarding school in the United States. Neither of us had gone to boarding school, so at a friend’s urging, we hired VJB to help us. They were instrumental throughout the process, putting together a list of schools that suited our son, guiding him through every step of the process, answering all of our many questions, and helping us to make sure we met every deadline well in advance. It was an absolute pleasure to work with them. We could not be happier with the outcome for our son, and now as a 9th grader he is thriving at his new school. Our middle son is now applying to boarding school and we have already started working with VJB, who is going to be with us every step of the way.
We began working with “Anna” and her parents in the spring of her 7th grade year in New York City. Sitting down with Anna and her family, we talked about various school options, discussed both day and boarding schools, and learned that her mother had attended St. Paul’s School and her father had gone to Trinity School. Anna was quiet, and seemed a bit anxious about the process. Over the summer and into the fall of 2022, Anna visited school websites, thought more about what she wanted from high school, and with her parents’ support, she decided that picking a school based on it being a “name brand” was not for her, and that neither of the schools that her parents had attended were the right fit. She decided that she wanted a day school, and that all-girls schools really appealed to her. She applied to four girls’ schools and two coed day schools. It was amazing to watch Anna mature during this process, and to see her take ownership of the decision. We worked together, discussing what she wanted to write about in her essays, what was important to her, what could frustrate her at times, her goals for 8th grade and beyond, her passion for soccer, her desire to help others and how much she liked working with younger kids. No longer shy or quiet, Anna was articulate and excited about high school. Anna was accepted at Riverdale, Chapin, Sacred Heart and Marymount. She chose Chapin, where she will begin in the fall of 2023.
By the time he was in ninth grade, “Paolo” had changed schools many times due to his parents’ work. A fast learner and critical thinker who was curious about the world and passionate about computer science, geography and history, Alex needed an academically rigorous school that would challenge him, and which would also offer him the opportunity to make like-minded friends with whom he could have serious discussions about everything from geopolitics to hip-hop lyrics.
One of our goals in working with him was to build his confidence. We encouraged him to be honest and vulnerable in his application essays and interviews. Our work together was incredibly successful, and watching Paolo mature, gain confidence and take ownership of his future was wonderful for us and for his parents. While academically he could have entered his first choice school – Exeter – as a 10th grader, he chose to start in 9th grade in order to have more time to settle into boarding school life, make friends, and start sports and arts as a first-year student. Paolo is thriving at Exeter, and feels like he is finally home.
“Harper” was thriving in her independent day school. She excelled academically, had wonderful friends, was deeply invested in extracurricular activities, and had earned sought-after leadership positions. The pandemic shuttered schools around the world, including Harper’s, and she and her family began to worry that her window of opportunity for learning and building a strong resume was closing. After much consideration, she decided she wanted to apply to boarding school for her junior and senior year. However, it was late March, and acceptances had already gone out during one of the most competitive admissions seasons in history.
Harper needed a school with strong academics, athletics and art programs that matched her areas of experience and skill, and where she could once again seek leadership positions. Spots at the schools she had hoped for were completely filled, with no movement on long waitlists. We encouraged Harper to apply anyway, and as mid-summer approached, a spot opened up. As with all immediate placements, we worked rapidly and intensely with Harper, and we watched as Harper maturely weighed her options, accepted the challenges of the situation, and jumped in with full engagement when she received an offer. Now a senior, she absolutely loves this school. It is the perfect fit for her, and she is thriving in every way. It was as if a spot had been created for Harper long ago.
“Elizabeth” began working with the VJB team spring of her freshman year at a boarding school. She was a curious, kind, compassionate student who had many interests. She loved the sciences, was passionate about dance, and hoped to pursue student government. Her parents though were concerned that this diverse set of interests would weaken her college application. Our goal at VJB was to therefore help Elizabeth cultivate her inquisitive nature while simultaneously construct a cohesive narrative. We found thoughtful summer activities- an internship at an environmental policy think tank, for example- that aligned with her long term goals. We also planned a long term strategy for standardized testing (since Elizabeth did not enjoy taking tests), built an ambitious college list (with beloved back ups), and made sure that her school transcript well represented her academic potential. Four years later, Elizabeth began freshman year at her first choice school. As she recently shared, she’s still unsure exactly what she wants to major in but is excited to explore many fields of study in a school that fits her learning style and personality.
My daughter wanted to transfer colleges due to her change in major. It is a very specific major offered only at highly competitive schools. VJB created a realistic list of schools and guided her through the whole process. She met weekly with her consultant and brainstormed essay ideas. She is now thriving at the college she chose, and was even accepted to her original top choice!