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On to the Next Chapter!

By: Sixth Grade Teacher Jim Holmes

January 8, 2018

I have a unique perspective this year from having my own child apply to college at the same time as my 25 Rossman kids apply to secondary school, and it’s amazing how similar the processes actually are! Both can be incredibly stressful times for students and parents alike.

Let’s Compare the Steps:

1.    Find the right fit – school research

We are blessed with so many great secondary school choices in St. Louis. For college, the landscape is even broader!

2.    Complete a lengthy application, which is sent to all schools

The Standard Application for St. Louis area secondary schools bears an uncanny resemblance to the Common App for college with sections to be completed by both parents and students.

3.    Write self-exploratory essays

The writing skills that have been honed as students progress through Rossman are put to good use creating short essays on interests, activities and more. College essays become harder with thought-provoking additional prompts layered on top by some of the more selective institutions.

4.    Teachers or counselors write recommendations

At Rossman, after gathering input from other teachers and spending the first trimester and the weeklong sixth grade camp really getting to know the class, the sixth grade teachers spend countless hours crafting recommendations that provide detailed descriptions and evaluations of each student. Unlike the college process, we have the opportunity to meet face to face with each admission department and discuss our pupils at length, showing additional work and advocating for each student.

5.    Transcripts and other records are submitted

Secondary schools and colleges need to see the results of the years of hard work.

6.    The admissions test

For college it’s the ACT or SAT, for secondary school it’s the SSAT with sections on reading comprehension, vocabulary, analogies, mathematics and a writing sample. Rossman students are very well prepared for this test and usually do quite well.

7.    Binding early decision available at some schools

Saint Louis Priory School will accept boys at the end of fifth grade, contingent on the successful completion of sixth grade of course. Whitfield School offers decisions mid-February for those willing to commit to the school ahead of time, if accepted.

8.    Nervous wait until Spring Break

Just like the high school seniors, our sixth grade families anxiously await the release of admissions decisions that usually arrive after school on the Friday before Spring Break.

9.    Accept, Deny and Waitlist

The decision options are the same as in college but Rossman sixth graders fare much better than most senior classes with an 83% acceptance rate over the past 5 years, including 100% at many schools.

10. Decision time in April

At about the same time as high school seniors are choosing which school’s offer to accept, our sixth grade families are making final visits and sending in tuition deposits.

11. Excitement about new school over the summer

Many schools have picnics and other events over the summer for new students. At least the sixth graders won’t have to worry about who their roommate will be!

12. Return over the Holidays to share how happy you are with your final choice

In both high school and sixth grade, the process almost always works out for the best. When the Rossman graduating class returns the following December to sing “Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer – Rossman Style” on stage at the Holiday Program they beam with happiness over and pride for their new school.


I can’t wait to see how this works out for all my kids this spring!

Rossman School, nestled on a 20-acre campus in Creve Coeur, is an independent preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (four years old) through Grade 6. The school’s mission is to provide a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community committed to excellence. Dedicated to developing personal, nurturing relationships with each child, Rossman’s experienced educators provide a solid foundation in academics, athletics and arts while emphasizing strong character development and leadership skills.​ Request a free Rossman School brochure here

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