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School Placement

The Chestnut Hill School is intentionally focused on the earliest years of a child’s education. Sixth grade is the culminating year of students’ Chestnut Hill experience, and the secondary school placement process is an important component of that capstone year. Our placement team is here every step of the way to guide students and their families through the admission process for their next schools.

As children enter their adolescent years, they are able to consider the next step of their educational journeys -- an empowering and confidence-building exercise in self-discovery.

But the skills and self-awareness needed to thoughtfully approach such a decision don’t magically appear in the fall of sixth grade. Rather, the placement process is a culmination of students’ years at CHS, built on a foundation of principled leadership and depth of character, and supported by our pillars of academic excellence, diversity, and community. CHS alumni join their secondary school communities with a sense of joyful purpose, and they are highly sought-after by admissions offices.

Through the process, students learn to think and write about their place in a community and in the world. They are asked to consider and to celebrate what makes them distinctively themselves. They move beyond thinking about whether one person is merely better than another to understanding that we are all individuals with multiple strengths. They are excited about what they learn about themselves, and their confidence grows. Families, too, are amazed by the growth in their children. Although the decision to enroll in CHS was often made by adults, the next step after sixth grade is often a family one. As a result, students own the decision for their school in a way that is significant. CHS graduates are noted consistently by ongoing schools for their leadership, their community impact, and their ability to fundamentally shift learning in a meaningful way.

  • During third and fourth grades, CHS will host a general parent coffee about the application process, aid, and about the CHS upper school. This, along with the November Sneak Peek at the Upper School will give families a strong sense of CHS program and placement.
  • At the end of their third year or at the beginning of the fourth grade year, families meet with our Academic Dean to discuss the CHS Upper School and tIo begin to discuss placement (standardized testing, academics, and family values). Our commitment to families is to find the best fit for their children -- and we recognize that this is not a “one-size-fits-all” proposition! This partnership is at the core of the outplacement process.
  • At the end of their fifth grade year, families attend a coffee with admission staff from area schools. Families have a chance to learn about the process and ask questions from these professionals.
  • Our placement team meets with each individual family during the summer before sixth grade to reflect on their student’s growth during their years at CHS and begin to identify their hopes and dreams for their secondary school experience. From that place of reflection, we then begin to explore which schools may be good options.
  • During the sixth-grade year, we host a series of coffees to walk families through the placement process. There is also an emphasis placed on one-on-one communication as each family will navigate the process differently. 
  • We offer mock interviews with each sixth grader to provide practice with this unique and necessary skill.
  • We provide ISEE testing onsite at CHS for families’ convenience and students’ comfort and familiarity on testing day.
  • Our Head of School serves as an advocate throughout the process and has conversations with every school to which our students apply in support of students’ candidacy.
  • Our sixth-grade teachers write thoughtful and individualized letters of recommendation for every student, and we send out completed admissions packets on each student’s behalf.

The School’s standardized test scores reflect a strong academic program. Our 6th grade students take the ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) exam, which, in part is scored on stanines that are scored on a bell curve. As its name indicates, this test is taken by a student entering independent schools. Student scores reflect a bell curve. As seen below, CHS scores are far above this national bell curve.

4% of independent school students
are supposed to score the top score (stanine)
15% of CHS students do
11% of independent school students
are supposed to score the top two scores (stanine)
36% of CHS students do
23% of independent school students
are supposed to score the top three scores (stanine)
50% of CHS students do
40% of independent school students
are supposed to score the top four scores (stanine)
75% of CHS students do
CHS students apply to a wide variety of schools with strong results: Class of 2021: 91 applications to 19 schools (87 accept or waitlist)
Class of 2020: 74 applications to 21 schools (60 accept or waitlist)
Class of 2019: 82 applications to 15 schools (69 accept or waitlist)
Class of 2018: 92 applications to 18 schools (81 accept or waitlist)
Students getting into their “top” choices Class of 2021: 13 of 17 got into one of their top 2 choices
Class of 2020:  All graduates got into one of their top 2 choices.
Class of 2019: 15 of 19 got into one of their top 2 choices
Class of 2018: 19 of 23 got into one of their top 2 choices
There is one highly competitive local school to which students must apply early (Winsor) 2021: Of 3 applications, 3 were accepted or waitlisted.
2020: Of 7 applications, 7 were accepted or waitlisted. 
2019: Of 8 applications, 6 were accepted or waitlisted.
2018: Of 8 applications, 6 accepted or waitlisted.

Our 6th-grade graduates have applied to and matriculated at several Boston area schools over the last five years. Please note that the chart below details applications and matriculations.

Beaver Country Day School****** Fessenden******
Belmont Hill School****** Meadowbrook School of Weston***
Brimmer and May****** Milton Academy*****
British International School of Boston Newton Country Day School******
Boston Trinity Academy*** Noble and Greenough School******
Buckingham, Browne, and Nichols****** The Park School*****
Carroll School Rivers School******
Dana Hall School****** Roxbury Latin******
Dedham Country Day St. Sebastian's School
Dexter Southfield****** Thayer Academy
Eaglebrook School Public and Charter Schools** (NA)
Fay School Boston Exam Schools******
* Two or more students have applied in the last two years     ** Four or more students have applied in the last two years     
*** Two or more students have been accepted in the last two years     **** Four or more students have been accepted in the last two years
Please note: This information is for 6th grade students only. We do not include Winsor in this list, as our 6th graders do not apply. If we were to include them two or more apply and two or more have been accepted in the last two years.
  • "CHS students form the core of our community. We have found them to be the leaders in our school in every kind of way academically and socially."
  • "CHS students have a sharpness of mind, a comfort asking questions, and a warm heart."
  • "The students have a work ethic that stands out, they are strong writers with clear voice and creative mathematical thinkers."
  • "CHS seems to raise diligent, confident young individuals."
  • "It continues to surprise me the number of times I realize one of our best students or community members really is a CHS one. They come ready to not only join a community but to help build one."
  • "CHS ask some of the hardest questions. They are often one of the first to volunteer to help."