Rolling admissions phase is now in motion at Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy which means that all application deadlines have passed. Although for many this signifies the final moments of anxiety as they wait for their coveted acceptance letter, for Matthew Swiderski, this time last year represented a shot at independence and the hope of a new path that would lead him to academic empowerment.
For most students and families who are considering a boarding school, hitting the priority deadline is essential to ensure the highest likelihood of having the right set of eyes on your application and ultimately getting an acceptance letter. With thousands of applications and competition at the global level, class rosters can fill up fast. This is especially true for students seeking full-time boarding where each acceptance moves the school one step closer to having to turn on the “no vacancy” sign. In the classroom, there’s sometimes a little flexibility to add an extra chair, but our boarding facilities can only safely and comfortably fit a defined number of students. However, like most things in life, situations and circumstances at independent schools and those attending them can change. The rolling admissions phase is where many of these situations come to light and where seats that were once completely full are now open to the next great candidate.
For Matthew Swiderski, applying during rolling admissions phase was both exciting and a bit scary. “Originally we were kind of thinking about applying more for next year because then my parents would have moved here with me because my older brother would be in college by then”, said Matthew, “but I also wanted to spend some time away from my family and gain some independence that would better prepare me for college”, he continued. “Even when I finished the application we were still kind of thinking more for next year so I wasn’t super pressured, but I did want to get it in just in case there was an opening!”
"I just decided to go for it and I’m REALLY glad I did"
“Taking a leap of faith” as Matthew described it is just what he had to do when his acceptance letter came in. Transitioning from being a typical student who wakes up in the comfort of their own home each morning to a boarding student thousands of miles away is bound to make even the most independent person a bit nervous. “I was a little nervous about boarding at first, but I just decided to go for it and I’m REALLY glad I did,” said Matthew.
Now that Matthew has a full semester under his belt he’s had the opportunity to play football, discover his favorite classes, favorite teachers and begin preparing to start ISR (Independent Science Research) as his after school activity. “I think that being here has really made me more independent and it’s also made me more appreciative of things that I get at home like having my laundry done for me. It’s also made me get out of my comfort zone a bit and be more social than I would have at home because there’s not a ton to do if you’re just staying in your room.”
If you were to search the dorm rooms at most times, Matthew would be nowhere to be found. You’ll find him blending in with other boarders and day students alike. “I would say it’s pretty important to try and become friends with day students and boarders because as a boarder it’s really nice that sometimes you are able to get signed out over the weekend and spend time exploring the island with local friends.”
"it’s really really nice to have college visits all the time because that doesn’t happen in a lot of places"
When he isn’t out socializing, he’s out taking advantage of one of HPA’s many service learning opportunities. “There are all kinds of service opportunities here which also allow you to explore the island. Also, it’s really really nice to have college visits all the time because that doesn’t happen in a lot of places as far as I know. You usually have to go to a college fair or schedule visits, but it seems like a few times a week I can just go to the library and experience a bunch of college visits which is nice.”
"I really think that this school is gonna help me"
When asked if he has any colleges in mind, Matthew says he currently has his sights set on Notre Dame where many of his maternal family members have gone. “I’m only a sophomore, so I’ve got plenty of time... I really think that this school is gonna help me with that.” Even without a fully solidified selection, Matthew will be equipped with the tools necessary to reach whatever goals he sets out to reach. With a full-time team of college counselors by his side and guiding him every step of the way, he’s put himself in a place where he is directly in control of his destiny. When considering where he was just over a year ago, it’s a completely life-changing opportunity for him. From learning independence to integrating into diverse social circles, the opportunity to find a place where he is able to be himself and excel academically is just the icing on the cake for Matthew.
It all could have been an entirely different story had he not taken the leap and filled out the application. Although not all candidates are as lucky as Matthew to gain a space so late in the game, students and families are encouraged to continue applying even if the priority dates are passed.
We welcome your interest, even after the deadline… Apply Now