Blogs

FILTER BY:
Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, ADHD, Executive Function Disorder, ASD, and many other learning deficit diagnoses, accompanied by acronyms, float around a neurodivergent school, especially this time of year in the admissions office. The admissions cycle is strikingly different in neurodivergent independent schools than it is in traditional independent schools. Neurodivergent schools like to say that we start our re-enrollment process around the same time frame as traditional private schools allowing a similar window and process for families to return contracts. However, we branch pretty far away from traditional private schools with prospective families and new enrollment. ...
0 comments
In March 2020, COVID-19 had arrived, and society was asked to effectively shut down. What that meant for The York School was the entire admissions process went virtual and every single touchpoint with families had to be re-imagined: creating a 3D school tour, hosting virtual open houses, conducting online assessments, and interviewing parents and prospective students via Zoom. But we weren’t convinced these were enough to provide prospective families with a true sense for what sets The York School apart. So we opted to embrace the popularity of the podcast medium to develop YORK Talks, a series modelled after our successful YORK Talks presentations typically ...
0 comments
The University of California at Berkeley adopted the SAT as a standard for admission in 1967, a good 20 years after the ETS was founded. It was a big feather in ETS’s cap. That delay was partly because the school was on the West Coast and the ETS was an East Coast institution. But the other reason was Berkeley had its own method for finding students (Lemann). Prior to the SAT, Berkeley admitted all qualified high school graduates from the state of California. It was then the job of professors to sift through the freshman class. While not an explicitly stated policy, professors of freshmen generally failed about half their students, straining the grade down to ...
0 comments
On a recent WeAdmit podcast , I touched upon crafting personal narratives that I’ve continued to ponder. While the final product is our personal narrative, it’s the process that’s important and understanding that one’s personal narrative will continue to change throughout time. And yes, I'm writing this reflection on my phone on a rainy Saturday morning while waiting for the rest of my house to wake up. The WHY Before we go into the what and how, I like to employ Simon Sinek’s strategy of identifying the why. Why is crafting your personal narrative important? Because your story reveals your values. Your values highlight your brand, and when your brand ...
0 comments
By the time admissions professionals finally get to March, and new students have been accepted and enrolled, it’s time to celebrate! But, working within a limited budget sometimes makes that welcoming revelry feel more stressful than celebratory. Getting caught up in trying to compete with the school down the street that delivers new family gifts by helicopter - reminiscent of Oscar swag bags, complete with monogrammed gold headphones and a new car, makes those of us who do not have the same resources struggle to make our new families feel just as special. Fear not, dear colleague. There are other ways to share your excitement with incoming kiddos that are ...
1 comment
Family ambassadors are such a gift! How we all appreciate the tremendous value they bring by spreading the word of our school. But have you ever reached out to a family who is apprehensive about “being an ambassador?” Immediately, a look of trepidation falls across their face. “Does that mean I have to give a tour?” Just as we listen to our prospective families about what is important to them in a school and tailor the tour to address these wants, the same goes for asking for parent volunteers. It’s not only determining their comfort level; it’s matching their strengths to the numerous opportunities available for them. At the beginning of the year, ...
0 comments
This time of year, many schools announce tuition increases and ask families to commit to attending again in the fall. Retention work, which should be a year-round effort, becomes increasingly important. Regular check-ins with families, sending thoughtful emails home, and hosting an event or two showing student work can help with this effort. However, this year we wanted to do more. Through a concerted effort, asking our own families and faculty to tell us what is so wonderful about our school, we are creating a campaign of written testimonials, videos, and pictures to share among both our school community and the broader world. When asked to reflect on everything ...
0 comments
For admissions professionals, the “COVID years” have added enough stress and uncertainty to the market to create the need for some serious design thinking. As some hope emerges on the pandemic front, geo-political tensions – most obviously related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and an increasingly inwardly-focused China – have forced all of us to work within and around an increasingly shifting world order. For some of us, the natural response to grim global news is to turn to nostalgia and to circle the wagons: What has always worked? How do we minimize enrollment risk without losing valuable pipelines? Where are our un- or under-tapped markets closer to home? ...
0 comments
In the age of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), there has been an abundance of discussions, newly created positions and departments, and professional development to encourage awareness and fairness for all. However, it’s important to keep in mind that DEI does not only apply to Black or African American people. My personal shift has gone from diversifying largely with the Black population (due to the societal struggles associated with the often insurmountable challenges they face), to including a wider spectrum of diverse people. This comes to mind for me for many reasons. Firstly, I chair a DEI committee at my school, although my professional title ...
0 comments
Recall a recent example, personally or professionally, when you instinctively spoke your mind and immediately regretted it. Odds are that more than one instance just popped into your head. The good news - you’re not alone. As humans, our brains are wired to respond emotionally, albeit not always reasonably. The next time you feel angry, we recommend you take what we call the Presidential route to expressing your emotions. Former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson once said, “When angry, count to 10 before you speak. If very angry, count to 100.” The key to this strategy is giving yourself a moment to think things through. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Harry ...
2 comments
As I put pen to paper (or rather, fingers to keys) for this blog post, I am back in the office after a thankfully healthy but far from relaxing holiday break. That is not to say that I didn’t get some quality downtime with family or a few woodworking projects done. Those things happened, because with admissions and financial aid applications in full swing, it’s important to make the time and find the space to recharge. Since the start of the pandemic, I have found a distinct blurring and almost total disappearance of the seasonal nature of this work. There’s no longer a clear end to one admissions season with a time for preparation and a clear beginning ...
0 comments
The Admission and Enrollment world has become a year-round busy season, making it difficult for many of us to take time off without some level of stress or guilt. There never seems to be a “good” time to do it, yet it is essential to unplug and recharge in order to fill our tanks. If taking a week off feels challenging, the thought of taking three months away from the office to welcome a baby into the world can feel like scaling Mount Everest. But it is arguably the most valuable time you’ll ever have, and ultimately make you and your office better for it. First, some context. I head up the Admission & Enrollment Office for an age 1 - grade 12 school ...
1 comment
“After this is all over.” “When things go back to normal.” “After COVID.” These phrases became our constant companions during the 2020 year and into 2021. They were, in time, replaced by, “maybe next year,” “if we ever get back to normal,” and “sometime.” The journey back to normalcy has been a long and winding one. The certainty things would go back to the way they were- was replaced by uncertainty. And now, it just feels like perpetual pause. Each frame of movement advancing just enough to get you to the next event, the next question, the next stressor. This pandemic has caused a time warp. Things only exist in the here and now or “before COVID.” Sometimes ...
2 comments
The question I was asked at my interview wasn’t even a question. It was a story. A handful of admissions representatives had gone to a local church to talk about the school and how to apply. The church was diverse in a way the school was not - though I sort of understood from the question that “diverse” was being misused. It was like the way people might call the elementary school where I went in Queens “diverse” when it was almost entirely black and brown kids and actually not very diverse at all. A handful of families from the church applied. None of them were accepted. The interviewer asked for my thoughts. A question like that is hard. We who do this ...
0 comments
When we want to feel empowered as admission professionals, we should remind ourselves that we are responsible for roughly 90% of the revenue our schools are generating. Our role is crucial to the business, and ultimately, the success of the schools that we represent but with that said, our responsibility to our customers should be anything but transactional. Families commit to ever-increasing price tags at our schools because, more often than not, they are swayed by our promises to know and care for their children. With so many fantastic independent school options, particularly in the most saturated markets, showing people the way they will be known and cared ...
2 comments
Enrollment Managers know all too well that our job descriptions rarely reflect all we do. An Outlook calendar that would make some people see double is usually a standard way of operation through the grind of the admission season. So how do we keep ourselves up for the enduring race? The post-pandemic feeling of exhaustion isn’t going away any time soon. The new normal means planning both a virtual and on-campus event, trying to predict an even more uncertain next year projection, and trying to grapple with the long-term effects of families demanding more flexibility is here to stay. So, with these worries, evolutions, and changes, I have found three secrets ...
2 comments
As we enter the second school year of operating live during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing the health and safety benefits of vaccinated adults and the waning of the current delta surge. We are hopeful that the opportunity of student vaccinations in the coming months will further our wish to have life feel more 'normal'. Yet, we must prioritize the health of our unvaccinated students, and doing so continues to impact the way our schools, and admissions operates. Norwood School is a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade independent school in Bethesda, Maryland. Our child-centered program adopted a multi-layered approach to COVID-19 prevention which included: ...
2 comments
A lifetime ago, I was a member of the Board of Trustees of Lancaster Country Day School and served as Board Chair for two years. It was an exciting time for me personally, and for our school in terms of growth. I was the Development Chair and Enrollment Committee Chair during that time. Fast forward to today, a time when our school has the highest tuition in our marketplace and a time where we need to offer more financial aid to our families in order to maintain optimum enrollment. In my new role as Tuition Assistance Concierge, I now see the life of the school from the front-line, helping with the tuition assistance for our new and returning families. And ...
0 comments
Throughout my 15-year career in independent schools, I’ve been fascinated and intrigued by the question of how parents choose a school. On a very basic level, it is natural to attribute parents’ school choice to the perceived quality of a program vis-a-vis the cost of tuition. Yet, a closer look leads us to realize that there is much more at play. After conducting a study on school choice using the behavioral economics framework, Sean Leaver, Professor at the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing at the University of Melbourne, Australia concluded that “School choice is a wicked problem.” To understand why, we need to think about the circumstances under ...
1 comment
Welcome aboard! There is a musical ring to this phrase that is an anthem for many admissions professionals. Among the many hats we wear, nothing is more important than the hat of chief welcome officer. We are often the first official face families meet on campus, at a school fair, or randomly at the grocery store (a blog for another time). Lately, I've been reflecting on my journey as an admissions professional in independent schools. Something is exhilarating about getting in the trenches with a prospective family and coaching them to see beyond our application checklists and consider how we can partner to develop their child together. Increasing tuitions ...
0 comments