New Ways of Interaction with Schools?

<p>Hi everyone! I am a student at one of the TSAO schools working as a member of the admissions council and as a tour guide. I was hoping to learn more about what applicants wanted from schools in terms of school information: which of the methods that schools use to communicate with applicants do you like the most, and what do you hope to see more of? Student blogs on school websites? Letters from teachers? Videos of life at the school? Photos? Q&A forums? Maybe even blogs from teachers? New suggestions?</p>

<p>Please write about your experiences with learning more about boarding schools, and ways that you think will be more helpful for you and other prospective students to learn more about the schools. All suggestions are welcome. Thanks!</p>

<p>As a parent, what I've experienced is that the tour guide really makes or breaks the school. Depending on who the guide is, you can walk away loving the school . . . or hating it.</p>

<p>What I'd love to see happen, if it were possible, is for the tour guide to get in touch with the prospective student before the student's visit - to answer questions and get to know the student ahead of time. That way, the tour can be tailored to the student's interests. The tour shouldn't be "same size fits all." A little communication ahead of time and it could really be a great experience for the prospective student.</p>

<p>Videos are great, but not just videos of teachers and students talking. I'd like to see some videos of normal classes, dorm life, and other interesting or exciting things that happen in boarding school.</p>

<p>Q&A forums would be cool as well.</p>

<p>I agree about the tour guide. They should also allow you to have an 'extended tour' of a certain part of the school. For example, if you're really interested in visual arts, then they should have 15 minutes to spend in the visual arts department to look at the classes and resources. They should have time for you to meet with certain teachers and coaches. Students as well.</p>

<p>Starting with the view book, I want to see pictures of the campus and facilities and less pictures of smiling students.
I appreciated news by email and felt reassured by a personal letter, via snail mail, after my app was sent in.
I like the GOCHOATE system. I was able to track my app status and it helped a lot when I discovered that one of my recs was missing.
The most welcoming admissions offices ended up being the school that stayed on my list. I was thankful when I got a person on the phone and they didn't seemed annoyed.
I used the common app for a few schools and that was very nice for my teachers.</p>

<p>A welcoming admissions office and a competent tour guide went the furthest in keeping a school on our list. The "feel" of this initital contact really has a lasting impression on a 13 year old. They go into this intital meeting with the knowledge that this might well be their HOME for the next 4 years. So yeah, they should leave feeling like the school was happy they came. We thought all of the schools we looked at did a good job of this - but some a little bit "more" than others. </p>

<p>My D's biggest issue was how duplicative the app process was. ALL of the apps ask for the same basic information. So why not have ALL of the BS's streamline the Student Info and Parent Statements into 1 common document? Then each school has a separate document for the essays. Instead, we have different "groupings" of schools using common apps. with Choate hanging out there on its own with "Go Choate". Makes no sense, especially now that everything is online - too many websites and passwords to keep track of. BS communities seem to value applicants with a cooperative/collaborative spirit - think the BS's could be setting a better example!</p>

<p>Finally, I would love to see the BS's put out more info on what type of applicant they are looking for. While I know this is difficult, Exeter has a wonderful little "one pager" that lists some common characteristics of the Exeter student. While Exeter wasn't on our list, I eagerly looked for something similar relating to our list of schools, only to be disappointed.</p>

<p>I like the idea of a Q&A forums. Also, I love the idea of an extended tour. And the idea of the tour guide getting in touch with the student before the tour. But, most of the tours I went on were great.</p>

<p>I also want to add that the 'to do' list on GoChoate was very helpful. I felt very accomplished every time another box was ticked =)</p>

<p>A common app would take a lot of the craziness out of the process for applicants and families. Schools can still get their "individual" questions addressed through the interview which right now appears more one sided, as an opportunity for the applicant to ask questions.</p>

<p>One AO here opened a thread for questions from parents and students. Some type of on-going forum or blog by AO's from each school for parents and applicants would be helpful in addressing real time issues anonymously.</p>

<p>Some kind of "Ask the Dean" sticky like on the main forum for colleges would be helpful.</p>

<p>A common extra-curricular / personal recommendation form.</p>

<p>^^^^^^^amen!</p>

<p>Even though I hated having to write two essays in my own handwriting in a certain amount of space, the ssat supplement, I felt it was a good idea to make sure the exam essay and application essay were written by the same person.</p>

<p>Thank you to everyone for your input! -bump-</p>

<p>I would suggest what dodgersmom said and I really agree with Madaket about "welcoming admissions office and a competent tour guide went the furthest in keeping a school on our list". When I called a bs admission office, the lady was extremely rude on the food and had no phone manners if that made any sense (cut me off when I was talking, had an attitude on the phone). That really put the school at the bottom of my list until I talked to my regional admission officer, who had great manners and changed my mind about the school. It just goes to show the first contact with the school can really have a lasting impression.</p>

<p>Just like the BSs say they are looking at the whole student, not just one aspect--say the SSAT scores, I'm sure the school expects parents and prospective applicants not to weigh one part of the school too heavily. </p>

<p>The Admissions Office clerical staff who answers the phone is certainly on the team and important when first impressions are weighed, but most recognize there is so much more, to include teachers, campus, diversity, foreign students, clubs, depth and breadth of curriculum, coaches, campus etc.</p>

<p>As the admissions cycle for entry in fall 2012 is well underway, I'd like to bring this up to the front of the main forum to see if any current applicants and parents have any suggestions. Thanks in advance for all your input!</p>

<p>I think it would be great to fill out a form before the tour of places you'd especially like to see! On one of my tours, there wasn't time to see two important places (to me) because we had to go to the dining hall. If I got to see the places I wanted to see, it would help me make a much better judgement of the school.</p>

<p>Next... I second the recommendation of a page of what the school looks for in applicants! If you don't really know, you're pretty much walking into the Apps blind.</p>