The importance of “fit”; when the Brannock Device isn’t an option

Unlike shoes, for which you can fairly easily determine your size using the under-appreciated Brannock Device, admission “fit” is nebulous. Shoes either fit or they don’t fit, whereas admission fit can be more difficult to determine and even more difficult to define. When reviewing an application to Nobles, we ask ourselves: Will this student be a good fit for Nobles and is Nobles a good fit for this student? Here are a few thoughts on our process of measuring fit:

First and foremost, we ask ourselves if an applicant will be able to thrive academically at Nobles. We look at grades, teacher comments and standardized test scores to try to determine if the student will be able to do the academic work at Nobles while balancing other interests and having time to be a kid. Nobles is challenging, and even the very best students will have times when they have to buckle down and focus on their coursework. But we look for students who can handle the workload without having to sacrifice the other things that make them who they are.

Once we have determined that a student is likely to be successful here academically, we then look to see what other interests or talents the student will bring to our community. Most students here are involved in many different activities and participate at a high level across the board. Some students are stand outs in one academic or extracurricular area. We are definitely looking for students who will come here and do something or a lot of different things in depth. Ours is a vibrant, busy, productive community, and we look for those who want to participate fully in that community.

We care about personal qualities. This doesn’t mean that there is a “typical” Nobles student. At Nobles, there are students who are outgoing, shy, loud, quiet, serious and silly, just to name a few. In general, it is safe to say that we seek kind, thoughtful people who are curious, motivated and happy working with other students and faculty members. The importance that we place on personal qualities is reflected in our mission statement, which includes words like leadership, creativity, character, citizenship, independence, self-respect, humility, humor, collaboration, honesty and respect for others. Although it is impossible to learn everything about a person from an application, we are able to learn a lot from essays, teacher recommendations and an interview or group session here on campus.

Although we are talking about our experience during the admission process at Nobles, we believe this information will be helpful to you if you are a student or a parent trying to decide if Nobles or another independent school might be a good fit for you.