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"Touring" boarding schools in the fall

novaboymomnovaboymom 7 replies5 threads New Member
I am guessing that boarding schools will not allow any visitors in the fall. Luckily, several boarding schools are now offering virtual open houses, information sessions, and tours. However, this is not the same as seeing a school in person. Do you think schools will allow prospective students to at least drive through campuses? We are considering visiting a few schools so that we can at least see the campuses and check out the nearby towns. Is this allowed or are most schools closed to cars too?
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Replies to: "Touring" boarding schools in the fall

  • CateCAParentCateCAParent 610 replies7 threads Member
    That varies a lot by campus. Some have one point of access (eg NMH and sort of Loomis), some are nestled into towns (eg Choate and Milton). Some you could drive through and no one would notice, others wouldn’t let you on campus without prior arrangements.

    It is an excellent question, though, for the admissions offices. I am sure they are all trying to figure out how to get applicants an actual view of the school. I can imagine some are tossing around the idea of drive throughs.
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  • novaboymomnovaboymom 7 replies5 threads New Member
    Thank you! I might call a few of the schools in August. Hopefully, by then they will have a better idea of what school will look like in the fall.
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 2235 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Agree, some you can drive through or walk around without anyone really being able to stop you. Others have a single entrance/exit. I think even being able to see the school and walk around will tell you a lot. I'm always surprised when people visit a BS and don't leave time to walk around the local town/city/area.

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  • derakiii33derakiii33 28 replies0 threads Junior Member
    If you were planning on visiting Deerfield this fall, don't count on it. They announced their plan for the fall and it sounds like visitors will only be allowed on an essential basis, so likely most admissions programming will be conducted virtually.
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  • buuzn03buuzn03 1872 replies16 threads Senior Member
    We are touring. In true buuzn form...whether or not anyone is there, we will at least do drive-bys. We have three scheduled for next week, in fact.
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  • hopefulswimmer58hopefulswimmer58 56 replies8 threads Junior Member
    A lot of schools are allowing tours, especially small sized ones where it is easy to social distance. Most schools wouldn't notice if you drove through, but they would for sure be okay with it if you called ahead of time :)
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  • owlfoxmama9owlfoxmama9 27 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I've contacted a couple of schools and found that if you inquire directly and can drive to campus (not take public transportation), they're pleased to hear from you and will set a date to give an outdoor tour of campus. They're not doing interviews or showing the insides of buildings. Obviously, there are limitations to this because prospective students and families won't get to see the campus when the students are going about their days, but at least prospective students can get an on-site feel for campus.

    I've attended a few virtual open houses with my son, and they are inherently difficult. The information seems mostly generic so that the schools all seem alike. It's hard to differentiate them in an online presentation. Also, I realized my son was basing his opinion on the admissions officer giving the presentation rather than the school itself. Still, the schools are doing a good job to pivot from in-person to remote presentations.

    This is hard on everyone: the prospective families and students but also the schools. At least we are all in the same situation.
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 2235 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Try connecting with people who have kids at the actual schools and are willing to talk with you about what life is like there. There are some on CC or you could ask the school to speak to a current parent. While they are likely to give you someone who loves the school you can still get your questions answered. Look at the student newspaper!! Will tell you so much about how people communicate. So will the alumni current magazine. These are often online. Some schools have excellent websites (marketing) and some do not. Make a list of all your questions and go through it.
    Given Covid, I'm sure AO's are going to have to rely on more than the drone-based video's of the campus.
    Sadly, I do think the visit gives you the best information. You can see how people interact with one another, catch the vibe and see classes in action. With any luck, these will be available by next Spring.
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  • hellomaisyhellomaisy 220 replies7 threads Junior Member
    @novaboymom Agree, call the schools. Some, like ours, haven't worked out all the details yet for Fall. I agree with Happytimes above that connecting with local parents is a great idea. Shot in teh dark based on your "handle", do you live in VA? We are in NoVa, and are happy to share our experiences with you feel free to message me. Good luck!
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1663 replies24 threads Senior Member
    Several schools are posting virtual tours and virtual open houses.... contact each school for information and links. Also, you may want to check with the Ten Schools Organization for information about planned virtual panel events.
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  • buuzn03buuzn03 1872 replies16 threads Senior Member
    @Golfgr8 is right. We’ve done numerous virtual panels through email invitations from schools, as well as gone onto schools’ websites to register for open houses.
    Of course, this week, we supplemented those with actual “drive-thru” self-tours of three schools.
    I think the open houses with several people (students, parents, faculty and staff) representing the school have been our favorites and the most representative of the school community.
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  • CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 439 replies19 threads Member
    TSAO had an open house yesterday (I think). It might be worth signing up with them to follow along any events they have. (As for us, if the twins end up wanting to go to BS, they are just going to have to wait until 10th grade, or become repeat freshman because this mama is done with all virtual things.).
    (Not really.)
    (But also: kinda really.)
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6711 replies10 threads Senior Member
    ^^oh, I hear you, @Calliemomofgirls . They require a special kind of patience.
    (And if it's a virtual event involving wine, it's so much work to deal with the bottle alone!)
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  • CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 439 replies19 threads Member
    I would just like to say that twin 1 just had the loveliest heart to heart with me to let me know that she would really love to apply to boarding school. So we may be back on the treadmill here rather soon.
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  • casinoofnycasinoofny 116 replies12 threads Junior Member
    @Happytimes2001 "Look at the student newspaper!! Will tell you so much about how people communicate. So will the alumni current magazine. These are often online." agree 100%. Great way to know the school culture.
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  • CMKDadCMKDad 53 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Totally agree. Reading past issues of the school newspapers does provide an additional window into the school culture. Especially the editorial pieces. For the schools that have big weekly papers like Andover/Exeter and a few others, it provides a lot of insight.
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1663 replies24 threads Senior Member
    FWIW...Always happy to report on the reconnaissance work I do on behalf of CC. So, last month we tried to drive-by tour several boarding schools with our NE niece whilst in the region for a golf tournament. Some of the schools had either gates closed or security officers at the closed off entrance. Schools we did get to drive through and/or walk onto campus included: MPS, Choate, Concord Academy, Nobles, Andover and Deerfield. Campuses we tried to get into but couldn’t included SGS & Loomis. Maybe things have changed since last month, but that was our experience trying to just drive onto campus and/or do a drive by tour. It seemed like we could get onto a campus if there was a public road that runs though it, construction going on, and/or public streets surrounding.

    Please post your recent reports here as to accessibility to campus.
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  • familyrockfamilyrock 40 replies2 threads Junior Member
    FWIW my kiddo is giving virtual tours for her school and practiced the presentation with me last night. I am not an objective observer, but I felt that she was able to convey unique school qualities.

    In some ways, the virtual tour can be superior to in-person. There is no struggle to hear what the presenter is saying, there are less time constraints (because students aren't rushing to get to their next class), and multiple prospective family members can listen in and focus on details and even take notes. Another plus is that if your child is interested in a particular school, they could sign up for multiple online tours (for the same school) to get various student perspectives.

    PA campus remains accessible to explorers.
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  • DroidsLookingForDroidsLookingFor 125 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Yup can confirm that PA (grounds at least) are wide open. It's just that kind of campus...it'd be kind of impossible to close off.
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  • Ravenclaw3Ravenclaw3 119 replies6 threads Junior Member
    PEA campus has several public streets going through it - I haven't been wandering around on campus itself but went through by chance in the car and I didn't see any apparent obstacles to exploring on foot. Plus there's good ice cream in town . . .
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