We Applied a Week Before School Started: A Family’s Story
The plan was in place. Everything seemed set.
"We were thinking about St. Michael’s for Grade 9," says Alfonso, referring to high school options his family was considering for their eldest child.
Alfonso and his wife Michelle began some preliminary research, knowing they had ample time — more than a year — to apply for admission.
Then the global pandemic and other factors intervened.
"I just found that he wasn’t as engaged as I think he should have been," says Michelle.
"I wanted him to be a bit more involved in everything — in the learning, in the whole school environment. There’s so much to take in when you’re part of a school. I just wanted him to take advantage of all of that," she says, thinking back to her son Michael’s experience in both Grades 6 and 7.
As his parents monitored their son’s scholastic journey, they knew it would be a hard sell. Michael had attended the same elementary school for nine years.
"The idea of change, especially for a young boy of that age or child of that age — it’s a big thing," says Alfonso. "There’s always hesitation and fear and questions of the unknown."
As the end of August 2021 approached, Michael was still slated to go back to his elementary school for Grade 8.
His parents, however, continued questioning and researching.
"I went online to look at the requirements just to see what we would be looking at for Grade 9," says Michelle. "And that’s when I actually found out that enrolment was still open, and that there was availability for Grade 8. I didn’t even know that that was a possibility. Once I saw that I thought, ‘oh, maybe this is a good option.’"
By this time, Michael’s parents were clear about one thing — something would have to change.
"I wanted him to go somewhere where he was more accountable for his work and for his overall learning," says Michelle. "And I wanted the accountability on both parts — with him and with the teachers in that school."
In early September 2021, mere days ahead of the start of a new school year, the family formally applied for admission to SMCS.
Using online resources, feedback from other parents, and after connecting with the school’s Admissions staff, the family felt confident in their decision to move forward.
If there was no space for Grade 8, they decided, at least the application process would prepare them for Grade 9.
The plan had deviated, but the effort would be worthwhile.
"We knew that it was a strong academic programme," says Michelle, who also has a younger daughter.
"We knew that there was more engagement with the parents overall. And we knew that Michael would be more engaged and that he would be more accountable. Let’s put him in an environment where he will thrive a bit earlier than planned and give them that bit of extra leeway," she says, recounting that nerve-wracking period.
“A lot of people just assume oh well, it’s too late and forget it,” says dad, Alfonso, referring to applying for admission well after the standard deadlines. "Meanwhile, you’re trying to deal with your child, and that’s an issue too. For other parents, I would highly recommend the journey. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know."
Michael was offered admission into Grade 8 at SMCS in the first week of September 2021.
To date, the family is happy they followed their instincts and took the steps to seek out another solution for their son.
"What really surprised me is how Michael has changed," says his mom. "He has become much more independent. He’s taking the subway now, and he’s navigating through the school system and keeping on top of what’s happening when."
Michael is also participating in athletics, including hockey and lacrosse.
"We’re very thankful," says Alfonso. "We’re very thankful that there was still an opportunity."
And grateful for crafting a new plan.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The Ongoing Admissions cycle at St. Michael’s College School begins in mid-March.
- The Standard Admissions period ends in December.
- New applications are accepted as long as spots are available.
Learn more about the Application Process.
Book an in-person tour of the school.