How to Get Into Horace Mann School: Your Ultimate Admissions Guide

Our private school admissions consulting has a high success rate in the Horace Mann admissions.

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Horace Mann School is one of the oldest and most distinguished schools in the country. Nicholas Murray Butler established the institution as an independent day school for boys in grades 7 through 12 in 1887. In 1972, it became coeducational, and in 1975, girls began enrolling in the high school curriculum. It belongs to the Ivy Preparatory School League and is renowned for its rigorous academics, strong arts program, and commitment to diversity.

A library, a science center, a performing arts center, and various athletic fields are among the buildings on the Horace Mann campus in Riverdale, Bronx, New York. It is proud of its John Dorr Nature Laboratory, which is located in the Connecticut villages of Washington and Bethlehem. Students can explore the 320-acre nature preserve’s woodlands, fields, streams, and ponds as well as interact with the surrounding environment. Younger children spend a day and older students spend more than a week during trips to Dorr. 

Horace Mann is known for its rigorous curriculum that includes AP and honors classes on top of the core subjects. Its academic program is designed to prepare students to pursue their dreams and become leaders in their chosen fields. There are also challenging activities that students can participate in to build their character and expand their horizons.

Is it hard to get into Horace Mann?

Yes. As one of the top boarding schools in the country, Horace Mann has a very selective admissions process. The school is looking for academically excellent students and families who will be positive members of the school community. Successful applicants usually belong to the top 10% of their class, have ISEE or SSAT scores in the 90th percentile, are leaders in an academic field or community service, and possess special skills and talents in arts, music, or athletics. 

But don’t lose heart. Even if your child does not have exemplary credentials yet, as long as both of you are willing to go the extra mile in achieving your goals, you can still gain admission with the help of our holistic boarding school admissions consulting led by top-tier educational consultants. By preparing early, we can put everything in order and create an application profile that admissions officers will notice and consider.

Horace Mann Admissions Process

The Horace Mann School admissions process requires attention to detail and patience, as students and their families must dedicate a lot of their time to completing the required documents. Our admissions consultants will help you every step of the way and make sure that you submit applications that admissions officers will notice. 

Here are the steps to the admissions process: 

  1. Set up a Ravenna Account
  2. Complete the application
  3. Schedule an admissions interview
  4. Submit the student essay
  5. Schedule the standardized test
    1. Day School applicants are required to submit ISEE scores
    2. Boarding School Applicants should take the SSAT instead
  6. Delegate recommendation letters to two current teachers
  7. Request transcript from the current school
  8. Submit a parent statement (optional)

Horace Mann Application Requirements

Admissions Interview

Candidates can use Ravenna to arrange their interviews. Since appointments fill up rapidly, it is advised to schedule one as soon as the application has been submitted. The campus visit is normally included in the interview, which lasts an hour and a half and must be attended by the applicant and at least one parent or guardian. 

Admissions interviews give admissions officers a glimpse into the personality of the applicant as well as the relationships among members and the overall family situation. They want to see if you are a good fit for their institution and if you will be a positive addition to the school community. The questions may seem basic and easy to answer but bear in mind that the interviewers are assessing you, so your responses matter a lot. Our interview preparation will help you present your best self and give answers that will highlight your positive attributes. You will get the chance to practice through mock interviews, and our admissions consultants will help you identify which aspects of your lives are worth sharing to add value to your application.

Student Essay

There are several prompts that your child can choose from and write a 500-word essay about. You may also choose to do one of the Independent School Admissions Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY) common essays. Together with the essay, an activity or interest list should be submitted via Ravenna. 

In writing admissions essays, remember that admissions officers want to know your child beyond grades, test scores, and other academic achievements. One common mistake that parents and applicants make when writing essays is that they try to impress and show why they should be admitted. At Cardinal Education, we focus on differentiation. We spend time getting to know your child to determine the unique experience, talent, skill, or activity to highlight in the essay. 

If your child is not a good writer, our Program in Writing and Reading (PWR)  has qualified writing tutors who can help in developing writing skills.

Standardized Tests

Test scores indicate a student’s academic achievement and preparedness to undertake the Horace Mann curriculum. Day school applicants are required to take the ISEE while boarding school applicants should take the SSAT

Before taking the test, we recommend a comprehensive test prep course to ensure that your child is ready and ensure that you get the best possible results. Our test prep includes SSAT practice tests and ISEE practice tests, under the guidance of our highly qualified SSAT tutors and ISEE tutors. What makes our test prep unique? We do not only teach the concepts. We also focus on test-taking techniques and strategies to make your child confident in taking the test.

Recommendation Letters

Horace Mann School requires two recommendations from an applicant’s teachers from the current academic year and should be requested on Ravenna. 

Recommendation letters provide an in-depth look at a student’s academic performance, leadership, and character. When choosing teachers to write, it is important to select those who know your child well. Request letters early to give them time to write thoughtful letters. Also, being active in school and engaging in various activities will increase your chances of obtaining positive recommendations because it will be easier for teachers to remember your child.

Having been in the admissions consulting business for nearly two decades, we know how to ask for strong recommendation letters from teachers. We have strategies in place that have proven to be effective over the years. 


Grades and report cards from the previous two years and the first quarter of the current school year are required to be submitted. The request form can be found on Ravenna. 

Student transcripts allow the admissions committee to see your child’s progress and academic proficiency through their years of school. But what if your child’s grades are not that great? If you apply early, our tutors can help in the subjects your child is having difficulty with and eventually improve grades. We offer in-person and online tutoring across different subjects. Aside from tutoring,  we also have academic coaches who offer academic coaching for the overall development of executive function skills.

Parent Statement

Although optional, we suggest that you submit a parent statement to introduce your child to the admissions officers. Your essay should reflect how well you know your child and how supportive you are as a parent. Describe your child’s personality, character, relationship with the rest of the family, and engagement with the community. 

As part of our private school and boarding school admissions consulting process, we can help you craft a parent statement that will help the admissions committee understand your child as well as your family are a good fit for Horace Mann School.

Horace Mann Alumni

  • Betty White (+) – American actress and comedian, known as the “First Lady of Television”
  • William Barr- 77th and 85th US attorney general under the administrations of Presidents Bush and Trump
  • Roy Cohn- American lawyer, prosecutor, and Donald Trump’s personal lawyer
  • James Murdoch- British-American businessman, former chief executive officer of 21st Century Fox
  • Eliot Spitzer- 54th Governor of New York and was elected as the Attorney General in New York from 1999 to 2006
  • Renee Richards- American ophthalmologist and a  former tennis player, known for undergoing male-to-female sex reassignment surgery and later on winning a case in transgender rights
  • Robert Caro- journalist and author who won two Pulitzer Prizes in Biography for his works on the biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson
  • Pedro Alvarez- Dominican-American baseball player who played in Major League Baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles
  • Marsha Hunt- American actress, model, and activist
  • Jack Kerouac (+)- novelist and poet, considered a literary iconoclast and known as an underground celebrity and forerunner of the hippie movement

Student Life at Horace Mann School?

Horace Mann Academics

Students are taught a balanced curriculum with Arts, Computer Science and Engineering, Counseling & Guidance, English, History, Independent Study, Interdisciplinary Studies, Mathematics, Physical Education & Health, Science, and World Languages. They are challenged to think acutely, genuinely explore, and confidently express themselves in speech and writing. Horace Mann School focuses on traditional fields of humane learning and requires a weekly seminar for 11th-grade students on Identity that lasts a semester. 

Horace Mann Athletics

Students have the opportunity to participate in different athletic activities such as cross country, field hockey, football, soccer, tennis, volleyball, water polo, basketball, crew, fencing, track, skiing, squash, swimming, wrestling, baseball, golf, lacrosse, rugby, softball, and tennis. 

Horace Mann Activities

Horace Mann School offers 85 clubs to choose from including Women in Stem, TedEd-Student Talks, Citymeals of Wheels, The Union, Classics Society,  Animation Nation, Dungeons and Dragons Club, The Investors Club, and Criminal Justice Club, and 20 publications including Voyager and For The Win. 

Horace Mann Arts

Students have access to multiple forms of creative study including music at the Horace Mann Music Department, Kindergarten concerts, Theatre, Dance, and Film Studies. Additionally, the school holds an ND Art show and an MD Art show for all aspiring student artists to showcase their art to the world. 

Did You Know?

There are 70+ middle division, junior varsity, and varsity athletic teams that students can join at Horace Mann.

Client Testimonial

I am so glad that we worked with Cardinal Education. My son aced his SSAT and they helped craft a strong application that truly reflected his strengths and talents.