HT E-news 2021: US Boarding Schools Special

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E-newsletter 2021 Vol.1

A Global Pr

ence wi

a Local Mind

BOARDING SCHOOLS IN THE USA Sharing from HT-North America Why Boarding School in the USA Unlock the Advantages How to Choose a Great School Harmony Tree Drama Scholarships 2021 Portfolio Building Opportunities CNY Special Offers Prep for Your Application Adaptations in 2021 Personal Essays & Scholarships Build an Invincible Portfolio

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HARMONY TREE

16
 YEARS



F

irst of all, on behalf of everyone at Harmony Tree, I wish all HT families, friends, partners and readers of this e-news a happy, healthy and prosperous new year in 2021! If 2020 taught me anything, it was to prepare for the unexpected. HT’s plans to celebrate our 15th anniversary last year unfortunately tumbled. However, every cloud has a silver lining and I’m glad that we are starting to see it in the first month of 2021. I’m incredibly proud and thankful for all your support for HT to go 16 years strong. We have received overwhelming responses from our Study in Canada webinar and last issue focusing on Canadian Private Schools. I’m very glad that HT team in North America are able to assist our families in the ways they need for their future. In this issue, we are going to dig deep in boarding school education in the USA and building up an extraordinary portfolio. In 2021, I hope that it will only get better from here for everyone. Happy reading!

Irene Chan Founder & CEO Chief Advisor of HT Admissions Consulting (North America Division) 6x Int’l Award-winning Producer

©All published material in this publication is copyright protected. Permission in writing from the Publisher (Harmony Tree International) must be obtained for the reproduction of the contents, whole or in part. The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily the opinions of the Publisher. The Publisher assume no responsibility for any costs, damages, or other matters that occur as a result of reliance on the material contained herein.

FOUNDER’S MESSAGE


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he United States has long been the most popular destination for international students — with over 1.1 million currently studying in a U.S. institution.

In this issue, HT-North America Team will focus on decoding USA Boarding Schools for families. From the basics, advantages to choosing and applying for one; From the preparation for portfolio building and scholarship strategies, to building a fantastic portfolio that schools in the U.S. just simply cannot reject you.

STUDY IN THE UNITED STATES of AMERICA


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his column aims to provide background information for families who have just started to consider the option of studying in the United States. There will be a brief introduction on U.S. curricula, systems, school types and living arrangements etc.

The comparisons of different options will also serve as a good starting point for you to map out your future study plan in the United States!

KNOW THE BASICS

BY JAKE MORGAN HT-US CONSULTANT


Apar t from mainstream cur ricula (traditional, progressive or liberal arts), there are also the Int’l Baccalaureate, Waldorf and Montessori curricula etc.

Religious Affiliations

Living Arrangements

About 1/3 of private schools in the U.S. are nonsectarian (no religious affiliations). 2/3 have religious orientation, with Roman Catholic being the most common.

Compared to Day Schools, the Boarding School environment helps develop independence & build close relationships with those living on campus.

From Grade 1 to 12, American students attend primary & secondary school (Middle & High) for a combined 12 years before Higher Education.

Curriculum

Grades

Same as many other countries, there are the public school system and the private school system. Over 90% of boarding schools in the U.S. are private schools.

With Co-Ed being the norm in private & public schools system, there are All-Boys & All-Girls schools that are less shaped by gender stereotypes.

System

Gender




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hese numbers give you a sense of the private school system in the United States. The comparison below offers insights when making the most common yet important choices in your future study plan. *From National Centre for Education Statistics 2018

32,461

4.89M

21,548

1:10.2

97.3%

507+

Private Schools in The United States

Students in Private Schools in The U.S.A.

Private Schools’ Avg. Teacher:Pupil Ratio

Private Schools’ G12 Graduation Rate

CO-ED SCHOOL

vs

Private Schools with Religious Orientations

Boarding Schools in the United States

SINGLE-GENDER

Learning from Each Other:

Tailored for the Gender:

It offers a balance within the classroom and allow boys and girls to learn from each other. Diversity benefits both.

Boys and Girls learn differently. It offers a tailored curricula and style that fit the gender best without compromise.

Real Social Exploration:

Develop their Unique Selves:

The real world operates in a way that both Boys and girls will have more freedom to genders work together. It will broaden their explore their interests and be less influenced horizon and learn to respect differences. by gender roles and social expectations.

The COMPARISON



BOARDING

vs

DAY SCHOOL

Convenience & Time Saving:

Lower Tuition:

Expenses are covered by boarding fees, It saves the time and energy for parents

Day fees are roughly at half of boarding fees, yet extra expenses need to be arranged.

Safe Environment

Stability:

Schools work hard to build a safe environment to live for boarding students.

Living at home with family requires fewer changes during their adolescence.

Independence & Maturity:

Family Bonding & Support:

It is a wonderful opportunity to develop independence, leadership skills and for kids to grow in a boarding school setting.

Parents will be more hands-on and involved as kids spend much more time at home and it will be a great opportunity to bond.

Community Spirit & Networking:

Freedom & Lifestyle

Take advantage to immerse yourself in a Kids will have more free time outside of strong community and family-like school hours to navigate their other interests environment to develop lifelong friendships. apart from academics and school activities.



WHY BOARDING IN THE U.S.A.?

“My once in a lifetime Experience!”

— Lauren, HT Alum, boarding student in Connecticut.



ADVANTAGES UNLOCKED

BY NANSY BLUE, HT-US CONSULTANT

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t is a certainly big decision to make. Countless questions must have gone through your mind when you consider a study-abroad journey for your child. Let us help you puzzle that out one by one — starting with the reasons why the United States is a smart choice.

Geographical New England (comprising the states of Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut etc) is the region filled with traditionally elite Boarding Schools, together with New York and Pennsylvania on the East Coast. Then there is the Midwest like Minnesota and Wisconsin etc and onto the Pacific Coast with California, Washington etc. There are various climates, customs, cultures and C O NT A CT U S N OW T O B U I L D U P P O RT F O L I O attractions to offer.

W IT H T H E M O ST L OV E D M U S I C A L O F A L L T I M E ! !



Cultural Diversity Being called “The Melting Plot”, it is safe to argue that the United States is one of the most culturally diverse places in the world. Take this opportunity to keep an open mind and immerse yourself in plenty of new cultures, make new friends of other backgrounds, races and ethnicities. It is an important lesson to accept and respect differences. It will be a stimulating experience and the U.S. is the best ‘classroom’ for it!

Abundant Opportunities

When you look at Silicon Valley, New York Broadway, Hollywood, sports like the NBA etc, the opportunities offered here are just unparalleled. Whichever path you want to pursue, as Forrest Gump once said “luck is when preparation meets opportunities” as long as you work hard, the United States is a land full of amazing opportunities for everyone, especially students.



Compared to other countries like the U.K., the United States has a much more flexible curriculum. For example, students have the freedom to pursue and try different courses before declaring their major at the end of their sophomore year. Specialty like law, medicine are subjects to further study in Graduate Schools and students get to explore their interests in undergraduate programs. In terms of secondary level, there are programs like Multimedia and Film, Gastronomy and even e-sports etc. Apart from their beyond-solid academic programs, Boarding Schools in the U.S. are able to offer unique and diverse programs to their students.

Academic Excellence

In the world’s top 20 boarding schools, 15 of them are from the United States. The general academic standard of U.S. boarding schools are matchless. Academic excellence does not mean a stressful, academic-oriented journey for students. Balance between study and leisure is still a priortized focus for students in the U.S.

Flexible Curricula



It is no secret that U.S. Boarding Schools are the “unofficial feeders” of Ivy League Schools and other top universities in the country and abroad. One of the reasons why they are the most selective boarding schools in the world is the track record and historical significance they have for students to open Ivy League doors.

Lifelong Connections in the Boarding Environment Do you know, President John F. Kennedy was an alum of Choate Rosemary Hall? Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg attended Phillips Exeter Academy etc among other notable alumni in various boarding schools in the U.S.

It benefits students’ whole person development by living on campus and forming a closeknit community where lifelong connections and valuable social networks are built. The boarding school environment also encourages maturity and hone leadership skills.

Open Ivy League Doors



Schools are as many as the paint swatches. How to make the right choice?

CHOOSING THE RIGHT SCHOOL


BY TREVOR HANKS, HT-US CONSULTANT

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here are seldom schools that can check all the boxes. Each one has specific values and missions. Different schools aim to cater certain types of children and we are here to assist you finding the most suitable ones for your child. Follow these initial steps would be helpful to find out your preference and narrow down some choices. For a detailed and tailor-made recommendations, we encourage you to contact HT Consulting Team!

Step 1: Look beyond the Ranking The ranking is by nature the first thing you will read when you browse school options and it is okay. It is a good referencing tool but it should not be the only thing you base your decision on and neither is it the most important factor.

The goal of a boarding school experience is for students to grow not just academically but as a wholeperson, especially leadership skills, maturity, outside of classroom interests, connections and more. Rankings can only be based on academic excellence, exam/ admission results. It hardly reflects school culture, teaching styles or reputation etc. We strongly recommend to take rankings as a reference only.

CHOOSING A SCHOOL




Ask yourself simple quick-fire questions would help you narrow down some choices. For example, “Co-ed or single gender?”, “Boarding or Day?”, “Which coast, which city?”, “Any religious preference?”, “Any specific curriculum?: etc. Answering these questions would allow you to eliminate some directions and focus on certain types of schools.

Step 3: Ask Personal Questions Finding the right fit means the school can cater your child’s unique characteristics, strengths and personal needs. For example, ask yourself these questions: “Is my child independent?”, “What are his/her main areas of interests?”, “What do you want him/her to achieve out of the study abroad experience?” also the budget etc.

The more you know about your child, the easier for you and for us, your consulting team, to match your pressing needs with schools that are suitable. We would then be able to offer advice customised to your child’s profile and unique traits.

Step 2: Start with the Simple Preferences



Now you have come up with some personal preferences. Set up a meeting with HT Team and we will arrange an initial screening, assessment and consultation session for you. We set up an individual profile for each student and hold internal team meetings to discuss each case in order to meet the customised needs of each child with a list of recommendations.

Step 5: Visit The Schools It is always a good idea to visit the schools on our list to get to know more about its culture, values, environment etc, and to talk to admissions. Tour the school campus, attend open houses, go to school events etc. Observe the school up close is beneficial!

We understand that it might be difficult to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic. HT-North America is here to help! With team stationed in 6 different cities across 5 timezones, we provide local immediate support to our families and maximise your chances for your dream school! Get in touch with HT Consulting Team now!

Step 4: Consult HT Team


BY JULIE CONNORS, HT SENIOR CONSULTANT

O

ver the past 15 years, HT Team has dedicated ourselves into finding the best fit schools for our students’ customised needs and schools that can fulfil their unique potentials. There are several things in common in terms of what we consider a great school and we want to share these features with you.

Caring & Support A caring and supportive environment is very important, especially for international students who are far way from home.

Although HT Team station in North America and are ready to provide support to our students anytime they need it, it is crucial to us that the schools we recommend have a dedicated system and team to care for students’s mental health and wellness. Schools should be able to offer guidance, promote and raise awareness on wellness in and out of the classroom because a supportive environment that students feel safe can foster their learning and wholeperson development during adolescence.

WHAT MAKES A GREAT SCHOOL?



Leadership & Faculty The leadership of a school plays a significant role in our consideration. The leaders’ philosophy, style, missions and communications tell a lot about the kind of education our students are going to receive and also the development and direction that the school is heading into. The faculty and staff are also an important combination of the school. The ways they work and interact with one another demonstrate the support our families are going to get and there should be clear communication on this.

Opportunities for all

Every student is unique and it is vital to us that they are getting enough opportunities in and out of the classroom. For example, the attention they receive in class, and the courses as well as activities they can choose and explore. We look for schools that are able to recognise, appreciate and support our students’ strengths and interests.




HOW TO STAND OUT YOUR APPLICATION?


BY SEAN WONG, HT SCHOLARSHIP SPECIALIST

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here are boarding schools in the U.S. that received over 3,000 applications every year and the acceptance rate is less than 15%. To be able to get into the final pile of applications require strategies, techniques and preparations — from interview prep, personal essays, parent statements, to portfolio building etc. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools are relatively flexible with standardized tests such as the SSAT and TOEFL in 2020 and 2021. In other words, other components in the application become even more important for admission decisions now. How to make your application stand out in the new normal? Let’s find out!

How to Ace Your Essays?

Great consulting team will help bring your essays to life by highlighting the parts that admission team actually want to know. Before that, the basis of an extraordinary achievement, an unforgettable experience or a valuable lesson all come from you, specifically from your portfolio and all the wonderful opportunities you have had over the years. Let’s focus on building a portfolio even during COVID that provides you all the substance and write an essay that admission teams simply cannot turn you down!

PREPARING FOR AN APPLICATION



Some boarding schools in the U.S. will require the candidate’s parent to submit a statement or answer certain questions to get to know the child more from a parent’s point of view. HT Consulting Team received lots of parents’ enquiries on how to write a parent statement for their children’s application in order not to ‘ruin the chance’? Don’t overthink. Share what you think about your child candidly and we will handle the polishing! The reason why a parent statement is requested is that parents collaborating with school always benefit the child the most and the school wants to understand how they can assist your child in the best ways by getting to know more about him/her in the household.

Show Your Potentials!

Interview with admission team is a great opportunity to finish painting your story you were telling in your essays. If you have a recognition or an achievement, don’t be shy to share! It is only fair for both sides that they get to evaluate you with the most accurate and comprehensive info about you!

Parent Statement




BY KIARA WELLSTEIN, HT SCHOLARSHIP SPECIALIST

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hat an achievement to be accepted by some of the best boarding schools in the world! What’s even more remarkable is to be admitted with a scholarship. There are merit-based scholarship, needs-based scholarship and diversity scholarship (mainly for underrepresented nationalities to increase cultural diversity at school or for international students) etc. It is an incredible honour to be a scholar of a school, let alone of a top one. The amount of a scholarship can vary from Honorary, prize money, a percentage off your tuition fees to a fully funded place, depending on the grant and the significance of your achievement demonstrated. In this article, we are going to focus more on merit-based scholarships — be it a Drama Scholar, Music or Athletics, you name it.

Versatile is King? It is wonderful for a child to be well-rounded. We encourage parents to let their children explore as many interests as possible in a young age. However, in the case of a scholarship, it required a high level of excellence with recognition or the showcase of potentials that the school can project your contributions in the near future.

There is no scholarship offered for trying 10 different things but excel in none. When kids get older, HT strongly recommend students that it is time to narrow down the interests and focus on directions that either you have a strong interest in or have outstanding potentials.

SCHOLARSHIPS STRATEGIES



When considering scholarship recipients, apart from excellence and potentials, schools are also looking for passionate ambassadors for the school and who would lead by example to be fully committed in the years ahead. It is important to show that you are passionate about it and is ready to involve.

The Scholarship Task Force Let’s be real. It is a lengthy and a challenging process to apply for a scholarship. It may take years to plan, research the suitable ones, ask for references, prepare for the applications of various forms etc. Some require essay writings, some need an interview or audition if you are going for performing arts scholarships. It is a lot of work and you need a game plan.

There is a specific task force set up specifically for students’ Scholarship Applications within the HT Admissions Consulting Team. The Task Force consists of professionals across many disciplines and industries as well as former scholarship recipients to help your scholarship application stand out!

Passion and Commitment



Q&A WITH HT PARENTS

BY KRISTIE LOPEZ, HT SCHOLARSHIP SPECIALIST

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e understand that it is not an essay process to arrange your child to study overseas. We have had conversations with parents who had done it before to share their insights on common concerns and their advice! [This is conversation with Mrs H. Ma]

Q: What makes you consider studying abroad? The reason why my husband and I considered to send our girl overseas was because we started to realise that the school she attended in HK was not working out for her with the heavy academic workload. She was not excited about going to school anymore. She was falling behind academically and she did not have time for other interests and activities. We could tell that she was very stressed. It is extremely competitive to get in an international school here in HK so we just tried to look for options in the USA and Canada.

Q: Then what were you looking for in a school?

First thing was definitely the overall workload and the academic requirement. The last thing we wanted would be one to send our girl from one school to another but equally demanding academically. We were looking for schools that would benefit our girl’s development as a person. She would have time for her other interests, meet new friends, to actually enjoy school. That’s our priority. We also wanted her to be more independent and mature as it would be time away from home. So we told HT that we would focus on schools that would allow her to grow and flourish and we are glad to have made this decision!



BY CATHERINE CHOW, HT-US CONSULTANT

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e have had conversations with parents who had done it before to share their insights on common concerns and their advice! [This is conversation with Mrs R. Ho]

Q: Were there any challenges? Yes absolutely. Before I reached out to HT, I had actually made a list of targeted schools that I think would fit my son as I got info from friends and some other parents that I met. Those are schools that I heard are good, and I’m sure they are, as they have very good rankings. The problem is that I don’t know whether they are good for my boy. With COVID, we could not travel to visit the schools in person so it is hard to say. Eventually, I understand the importance of consulting because as much as I value the info I got from friends, it is just different looking at it from a professional angle and insider info. My son has been with HT for 6 years before so I trusted that they would understand his strengths and weaknesses as well. Also they actually helped us to visit and meet with the admission team there in person so it was really helpful.

Q: Any tips for other parents?

The application process can be lengthy and sometimes you would panic waiting for updates. I would suggest to be patient and believe in your child. Also, do everything early. For example, get the references from your current school as early as possible. Leave enough time for everything, don’t wait until the very last minute would be good.

Q&A WITH HT PARENTS



We, at the Northwest School, believe that an arts education is vital in preparing one for a fulfilling life and is closely connected to academic and personal success. Requiring critical thinking, discipline, and self-reflection, the arts offer students foundational experiences. From multiple studies devoted to the relationship between the arts and a teenager’s development, we know that: • Students who study the arts are four times as likely to be recognized for academic achievement. • Students who take four years of arts classes score an average of over 150 points higher on the SAT. • Sustained learning in the arts correlates strongly with higher achievement in both math and reading. • Engagement in the arts promotes creativity, social development, personal growth, and self-worth. • 72% of business leaders say that creativity is the number one skill they look for when hiring. At the Northwest School, we require that along with math, science, and the humanities, all students take two arts classes throughout their studies, ensuring that no one graduates without having danced, made music, acted onstage and / or created something with their own hands and in their own vision. The Northwest School students can choose from over 50 unique classes in the arts.

This rich program allows for experimentation, encourages high achievement, and helps our graduates gain admission to top universities in the United States and abroad, including Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Princeton, Stanford, University of Washington, among others. The school has a national reputation as a vibrant intellectual community and has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

The Transformative Impact of the Arts : Ensuring a Child’s Academic and Personal Success


BY MABEL CHEUNG, APAC MANAGER & ASST. PRODUCER

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armony Tree was established in 2005 with two directions - Performing Arts and Admissions Consulting. Both created with the same goal to provide unparalleled opportunities through our global network and top-quality programs to pave the way for students' future no matter which path they aim to go. 16 Years later, we have taken this mission to new heights. Our Asia-based team work very closely with our colleagues in other regions as well as our global partners to ensure our students are provided with limitless and extraordinary opportunities to shine.

The HT Drama Scholarships With 6 Prestigious International Awards in Musical Theatre, HT takes great pride in our achievement and standard in Performing Arts. Over the years, many talented and dedicated HT students have been awarded Drama Scholarships in Schools and Universities around the world.

We are honoured to be recognised in the field of Theatre Education. In 2021, there will be a number of Harmony Tree Drama Scholarships offered by our boarding school partners in North America, exclusively for HT Students. Stay tuned!

PORTFOLIO BUILDING THE HT SCHOLARSHIP



BY MABEL CHEUNG, APAC MANAGER & ASST. PRODUCER

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ou can tell a lot about a student’s quality and character when there is theatrical experience on his or her portfolio. It is more than just acting or drama. It is a great platform to build up confidence, develop interpersonal skills, team work and more, while having lots of fun. Being cast for HT productions that have earned 6 International Exhibition awards and is the only organisation in Asia that has won this prestigious award from Trinity College London with Musical Theatre Production, it is a testament of the student’ potentials as well when the schools see such achievement on your portfolio. Grab this opportunity & join us now!

More Than Just a Class!

It may appear to some as taking classes but at HT, it means a valuable opportunity. HT Debate Team are able to learn from industry elites and scholars as regular guest speakers and was invited to be guest lecturers at The University of Hong Kong with reference letter signed by professors.

PORTFOLIO BUILDING HT OPPORTUNITIES



BY DAMIEN KWAN, ASST. ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

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reativity and passion for theatre are going very strong for HT students even during lockdown! I’m so thankful for all the support from our parents and students as well as our production team to make this special Voiceover project of “Peter Pan” Musical come to live! It takes extra measures and adaptations to produce this 5-day Chinese New Year workshop and performance. We are very proud that it is an international effort across 2 continents, 3 cities and 3 timezones! Special thanks to our sound design team all the way from Vancouver, Canada for our audio post-production! Well done to everyone involved and it is a blessing to work with such a group of dedicated and talented young students!

Calling for Global Young VO Talents!

@TattleTed on Instagram is offering 3 quotas to HT Students to be a part of its upcoming new VO series! Students in the Peter Pan performance have already submitted their audition tapes! What are you waiting for? Contact @TattleTed for audition details to be a part of a global, fun and portfolio building project now!

VOICEOVER PROJECT PETER PAN 2021




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PORTFOLIO BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES 2021



50% OFF TRIAL CLASS FEE FOR COMMUNICATION SKILLS Get the BEST prep — Interpersonal Skills is for life! Email info@harmonytree.com.hk to schedule a trial. Offer until Feb 28, 2021.

50% OFF ASSESS & CONSULT FOR USA/CAN STUDY Free Initial Screening of: Report Cards, Portfolio & Student Background

Limited Quota. Book via team@harmonytree.ca. Offer until Feb 28, 2021.

CHINESE NEW YEAR SPECIAL OFFERS


E-newsletter 2021 Vol.2

A Global Pr

ence wi

a Local Mind

NORTH AMERICA UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES

I M O

U S IS

G N

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Enquiries on HT E-news Email: info@harmonytree.com.hk

Enquiries on HT Admissions Consulting Email: team@harmonytree.ca

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For More Info about Harmony Tree Website: www.harmonytree.com.hk es

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