School Rankings/groupings

Lists and groupings can be notoriously misleading. In fact, The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) refuses to rank schools (read their article to find out why). Different criteria and weighting provide different rankings, and may not be based on criteria that are important to you. At best, lists allow for quick comparison on basic data to help provide a range of school options. However, decisions should not be made on rankings alone. It is the softer side of schools their values, culture, tradition, environment, support provided that often determines what is truly the best fit for your child. No two schools are the same. Final decisions should be made only after personal visits to the schools and conversations with admissions, faculty and students. 




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Suggested Reading & Vocabulary Lists


Frequently Asked Questions

What are schools looking for in an applicant?

A nationwide survey of IECA professionals identified these top 12 things that schools want. While written for college applicants, the same holds true for boarding school applicants too.

What academic history do schools look for?

Each school has its own academic standards, but generally schools look to see how challenging your courses are, the breadth of courses taken, how well you do, and is there an upward trajectory over time (2-3 years).

How important are standardized test scores?

High test scores do not guarantee admission into schools, but low scores can definitely hinder acceptance chances. Test taking is stressful. Studying, tutoring and taking practice exams can all help improve test scores. But test scores and academics are just one piece of the puzzle. Interviews, essays and extracurricular activities are also heavily weighted.

How should I go about getting good teacher recommendations?

First and foremost, be a good student. Participate in class. Create a relationship with your teachers. Ask teachers who know you well to write your recommendations and give them a lot of time to do so in order to avoid placing unnecessary pressure on them.

I don’t write well. Will you write my essays for me?

We do not write our students’ essays. It would be unethical to do so. However, we will support you through the process at every step of the way — we help you brainstorm topics and we review and critique your essays so you can improve them. Enabling self-reflection and awareness is a large part of how we can help you.

What sorts of extracurricular activities should I have?

Schools are looking for well-rounded students with strong character, so the choice of specific activities (sports, music, arts, community service) is less important than how you perform that activity. Do you excel at it? Are you in a leadership position? Are you helping others? It is better to be outstanding in a few, consistent extracurricular activities you are passionate about than simply to participate in lots of different activities.

Do you guarantee admission to schools?

We help students identify the best schools to which they should apply. We help them make their application the best it can be. We assist with interviewing skills. And we champion our students with the school admissions staff. But we do not, and nor should any consultant, guarantee admission to any school. This is entirely the decision of the admissions team. But by carefully crafting a well-balanced mix of schools to apply to, we can help increase the odds of acceptance.

Is it the right political climate for an international student to study in the USA?

The short is, "Yes, it still is." For a more detailed answer to this question please read this statement released by The Association of Boarding Schools.

When is the right time to start working with you?

The sooner, the better. The more time we have, the more time we have to work with the student to create a strong foundation for the schools. Not only are applications stronger, students become more self-aware through the process. Typically our students start working with us in April for placements 16 months later in September. Our Head Start students start up to two years earlier than that. We do work on shorter timelines and for “immediate placements,” but the intense, concentrated amount of work requires enormous diligence from everyone involved – parents, students, teachers and from us.

We don’t live in the same city as you. Can you still work with us?

Absolutely. Our consultants are based in the USA and in Asia and work with clients all over the world. We travel frequently. But most importantly, we make use of technology to provide frequent and personalized service to our clients. We typically work when it is convenient for our clients to do so through a combination of face to face meetings, emails, phone and Skype calls.

Do you place students in schools outside of the USA?

Our focus is on US educational institutions. Educational style, approach and quality varies extensively around the world. We recommend that you first determine the country in which you want to study, then find a consultant to help you identify the right schools in that country.

Do you maintain confidentiality?

Absolutely. We do not share clients’ names or information with any people or organizations outside of VJB & Associates and the schools to which they are applying. We always maintain the privacy of the families with whom we work.


Beyond our own services, we can also offer our clients recommendations to a range of experts providing excellent service in their respective fields:

  • Summer enrichment programs
  • Test prep companies
  • Academic tutoring services
  • Psychoeducational evaluations
  • Therapeutic/special needs consultants
  • Travel/logistics advisers
  • Internships
  • Educational Consultants for UK Schools