The start of school is always so exciting. It’s exciting for families and for the whole community, but I would suggest it’s especially so for those of us staffing the admission offices at our schools. Our work from the last 12 months is literally walking through the front door. These new students are beaming with pride, proudly sporting our uniforms or maybe a school hoodie they grabbed in our bookstore. They are anxious and nervous and hopeful and excited. And so are their parents!
They walk through those doors for the first time with grand plans of what they will accomplish, excited by dreams and goals they will chase. You scan their faces in the opening assembly, remembering when you interviewed them in your office — or maybe halfway around the world. You remember the endless questions and emails from their parents. You remember the discussions and debates of the Admission Committee. But that’s all behind you now. They are here and you are here and it is the start of school. Welcome to the new year.
And then you do what you rarely allow yourself the time to do: you remind yourself—just quietly and just to yourself—that you have changed the trajectory of the life of every kid who is anxiously sitting in that room listening to new student orientation. Because of you, they now have the immeasurable opportunities found in your school’s programs, offerings, facilities, and campus. They have teachers and administrators who will put them at the center of their lives and challenge, encourage, support, and mentor them. They have peers and classmates who share their academic drive, their commitment to success and accomplishment, and their seriousness of purpose.
In the truest sense of the overused word, what you have done is awesome.
And it doesn’t stop there. Any school—actually, every school—is shaped by the students who attend it. The culture, the tenor, the ethos, the character of the place comes from the kids. You may have an amazing campus and a dedicated faculty and a strategic-thinking administration, but all of that is for naught if you don’t have the right kids. You’re the one who recruits and admits and enrolls those kids. And the school moves in the direction of those students and with their boundless momentum. Your kids. The ones who are there because of you. Before you reset the admission cycle and your spreadsheets back to zero and launch a new season, stop and take a look around. Take pride in your work, in your kids. It will affect the school for generations to come.
And given the importance of all that you do, don’t forget to find the time and resources to join the SSATB Annual Meeting in Chicago this month. It’s the one and only professional development opportunity you can attend where every workshop and keynote speaker and breakout session is 100% about the issues central to independent school admission. Join your colleagues and come learn, grow, celebrate and refresh.
You change the lives of children and you shape the future of schools. You are an admission professional. Welcome to the new year.
Mentorship and advice - the Admission Leadership Council
A Practical Guide to Strategic Enrollment Management Planning by the Educational Policy Institute
It's All About the Data: Data and Enrollment Management Systems: a presentation at the 2011 SSATB Annual Meeting by Ann Miller and Bethanne Stish of the Madeira School
Affordable Schools: Strategic Issues in Managing Financial Aid: a presentation at the 2011 SSATB Annual Meeting by Mike Flanagan, SSS by NAIS
The Early Years as an Admissions Director: a presentation at the 2010 SSATB Annual Meeting by Sarah McDonough, Jon Kunz, Erica Ohanesian and Emily Atkinson
Research-Based Enrollment and Financial Aid: a presentation at the 2010 SSATB Annual Meeting by Jane Fried and Jim Ventre, Phillips Academy