Applying to private schools, especially private high schools, gets a bad reputation for being a highly stressful and highly selective yet oddly ambiguous process. Many students and parents find themselves asking the question - what do they want? What are they even looking for?
At Blyth-Templeton we pride ourselves in operating under a spirit of honesty and transparency. We think a high school education should be about more than standardized testing and measuring up to predetermined benchmarks of success. We believe that high school can and should be a time to prepare students to live well-balanced and meaningful lives, and offer them an opportunity to discover their love of lifelong learning.
We think about education as a process of learning how to be, how to do, and how to know. Because of this, our biggest priority in the application process is to find out three things from students and families:
- What do you already know and what do you want to know?
- What do you already know how to do and what do you want to know how to do?
- What have you already become and what do you want to become in the future?
Let’s take a deeper look at what these questions are asking, why they are important to us, and why answering them matters to you and your future success.
What do you already know and what do you want to know?
This question addresses student’s desire to explore different subject matters and academic areas of interest, and to demonstrate their current proficiency and growing knowledge base.
Now, don’t misinterpret this question - we are not interested in measuring what you know against an impartial rubric. We understand that each and every student is unique in their learning style and interests, and we are not looking for a one-size-fits all applicant. If you can’t recite the Gettysburg address from memory, don’t stress. We want to know about what you do know - what you are excited to know and can’t wait to share.
This is a great time to share with us your passion for environmental science, your fascination with US history, or your intricate knowledge of data mining processes. Maybe you have a keen awareness of the issues of poverty and homelessness in urban areas and you want to come up with a plan to help - share that too! Our teachers want to know what makes you excited to learn and explore, so that they can feed those seeds of greatness.
What do you already know how to do and what do you want to know how to do?
This question is designed to help us get to know your skills, attitudes, and natural abilities. No one student at Blyth-Templeton is the same. A student’s aptitudes are different than their interests or the stuff that they know. Aptitudes are the complex and intricate result of genes, early childhood exposure and experiences, and innate abilities.
To address this question, we want you to share with us your natural ability to read well, or speak to large groups of people, or solve complex algebra problems. Maybe you have always had a knack for music, or completely skipped the stick-figure stage in preschool and went straight to drawing realistic people. We want to know those things.
Also share with us the things you want to learn to do. Nothing is too insignificant or too ambitious. If you want to learn how to compose music, bake bread, start a business, design a robot, or just improve your writing skills - these are all things we can help you to do through one-on-one teacher guidance and experiential learning techniques.
What have you already become and what do you want to become in the future?
Character matters a lot to us at Blyth-Templeton Academy (BTA). Character makes up the stuff of who you are and how you contribute positively to your community, society, and the world.
This question helps us at BTA to understand you better, and understand what is at the core of your person. Every student who walks through our doors, comes with a history of personal experiences that have shaped them into who they are - given them their identity.
We would love for you to share with us some of those experiences. Tell us about that time you completely failed a test, and how it taught you the value of hard work and planning. Or share about your encounters with different cultures, and how it has instilled in you a deep understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion.
Experiences alone don’t define who you are - and we realize that. Often you become who you are, in spite of your experiences and circumstances. So when you are thinking about how to answer this question, also make sure to consider the ways you have overcome obstacles in your life, and how it has shaped who you are today.
Your future is just as important to us as your past. Share with us your dreams about who you want to be and how you want to grow over the next four years - to be more compassionate, humble, hard-working, and just.
These three questions that are central to our admissions process reflect our interest in the full potential of your child and their unique desires and gifts. We prefer this model to an admissions system that is heavily reliant on testing, and requires the child to “prove” themselves good enough for the school based on certain criteria.
BTA wants to support students who are pursuing and learning about things they love, and these admissions questions help us find out more about who you are and who you want to be.
Want to learn more about our admissions and application process? Check out our full resource on the topic, Your Complete Guide to Applying to Blyth-Templeton Academy!