Helpful Resources to Find Private High Schools and Boarding Schools for Your Middle Schooler

Sarah Mead

Sarah Mead

Are you the parent of a middle schooler and starting to plan for their transition into high school? We understand how tedious the Secondary School process can feel for parents and students alike, especially if this is the first time through the search. But never fear - we're here to help!

At Whitby, the goal of our Secondary School Counseling Program is to help each individual student to find the"best fit" in his or her next academic environment. Whether a child is looking for private schools in the area, local public schools or a top boarding school in New England, our objective is to help students find environments where they will learn effectively, enjoy and contribute to their communities, and reach their full potential.

We have found that the following resources to be helpful for our families in the past, and we think you might find them useful as you embark on the search for your child's best-fit high school. 

If you have a resource you find helpful, please share it with us in the comment section below!

Information on Private Day Schools

National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) 
The National Association of Independent Schools, governed by a board of trustees and staffed by approximately 40 individuals, is a membership organization and the national voice of independent education. NAIS represents approximately 1,400 independent schools and associations in the United States, and affiliates with independent schools abroad as well.  NAIS offers a broad variety of services and products. 

The Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS)
Founded in 1950, CAIS is a voluntary association of 97 non-profit independent schools serving 30,000 students from all Connecticut towns and many other states and countries. The CAIS website has a variety of resources including a comprehensive school directory and database of upcoming Open Houses.

Association of Independent Schools New England
AISNE has a selection of notable Independent Schools hosted on their site. Each school has its own page that has key information such as tuition, student-faculty ratio, grades served, and application deadlines.

Great Schools
Great Schools is a website dedicated to providing families with information about both public and independent schools. Not only is their school directory easy to navigate, but they also have a number of helpful articles on their website.

Boarding Schools

The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) is the public voice for college-preparatory boarding schools and the central resource for boarding school education. TABS serves roughly 300 boarding schools across the United States, Canada, and abroad.

Additional Secondary School Information

Secondary School Admission Test 
The Secondary School Admission Test, orSSAT, is an admissions test administered to students in grades 5-11 to help determine placement into independent or private junior high and high schools. Despite its similarities, the SSAT is not related to the SAT Reasoning test and is not administered by the College Board.

There are two levels of the test: the Lower level for students in Grades 5-7 and the Upper level, designed for students in Grades 8-11. The SSAT consists of two parts: a brief essay and multiple choice sections that include Mathematics, Reading Comprehension, and Verbal. The test, written in English, is primarily administered in the United States and Canada at various test centers, which usually are independent schools. However, there are also test centers worldwide.

Independent School Entrance Exam 
The Independent School Entrance Examination, or ISEE, is an entrance exam used by many independent schools and magnet schools in the United States. There five sections to the exam: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Mathematics Achievement, and a 30-minute essay section. The test is approximately three hours long in total, including time for two breaks.

School and Student Service for Financial Aid 
To apply for financial aid at most secondary schools families will be required to submit their information using the SSS website.  All financial aid decisions are made independently at each school but almost all schools use SSS to collect financial information.  Using SSS makes filing for financial aid at multiple schools much easier because you only need to submit most of your information one time through the SSS website.  However, schools may still require additional information or hard copies of some documents such as tax returns or W2s. 

Network with Representatives from 90+ Private and Boarding Schools

If you and your middle schooler are interested in having face time with Admissions representatives from nearly 100 private and boarding schools, we think you will find our upcoming Secondary School Fair to be invaluable. The fair is free and open to the public, and will be held on Tuesday, September 20 at Greenwich Catholic School beginning at 6:30pm.

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Sarah Mead

Sarah Mead

Sarah Mead is the Director of Marketing & Communications for Whitby School. Sarah's mind is a stirring pot of thoughts and ideas on content marketing, blogging, photography, videography, storytelling, social media, and website optimization. Working at Whitby has inspired her to reeducate the world about education, and to spread the passion, wisdom and expertise of the school’s talented faculty and staff.