Admissions process shifts to virtual setting

Signs outside the second-floor Admissions Suite – Bernie Rogers ’21

During a normal school year, the admissions process for prospective families begins with an online application, followed by a scheduled visit to campus and opportunities to interact with faculty, students, and coaches. These in-person experiences, which play a significant role in a student’s decision as to whether or not he will attend Haverford, will all shift to a virtual setting for the foreseeable future. 

     Throughout its offseason, the admissions team worked to ensure that virtual admissions would resemble the in-person process as closely as possible. 

     After submitting an online application, prospective students and parents will now have the opportunity to schedule a virtual meeting with one of the admissions team members.  

     “We created an interactive campus map to showcase the different parts of campus including the different buildings and places that we thought were important,” Director of Admissions Mr. Donta Evans said. “We are going to share our screen during virtual interviews and take the families through campus by this interactive map.”

     In addition to the “tour” part of the virtual interview, personalization is key. In normal times, personalization would occur through the tour guide program, which has been a staple of the Haverford community for several years. This program has allowed upper school students to give prospective parents a tour of the facilities and answer parents’ questions. The “shadow” program has also allowed prospective students to experience a day in the life of a student by attending classes, assemblies, advisory, etc., for a day. 

     “Without the in-person shadowing opportunity at Haverford, it would have been difficult to determine which school was best suited for me. My visit to Haverford gave me a glimpse of the great community and the elite academic and athletic opportunities that the school had to offer. In-person shadowing immersed me in the fantastic community, which determined that Haverford was the right choice for me,” Fifth Form President John Zhang said.

     “[The opportunity to shadow a student]  showed me the atmosphere of a Haverford classroom,” Fifth Former Aidan Boyle said. “I was interested to see what the teachers were like and how the students interact with each other.”

Admissions’ “virtual tour” – screenshot by Ryan Rodack ’22

     As effective as the tour guide and shadowing programs are, they will be utilized virtually on a smaller scale for the foreseeable future.

     “Where some of you guys may come in is when we offer the parents in the interview an opportunity to connect with someone else in the community,” Mr. Evans said. “Towards the end of the interview, I will say something like, ‘Is there anyone that you would like to be connected to? Would you like to schedule a time to talk to one of our tour guides? Would you like to schedule a time to speak to our soccer coach? Would you like to connect with the chair of the math department?’ So, we are going to offer these personal connections with students, faculty, and coaches.”

     “I’ll go down my list of tour guides, and I’ll pick someone who has similar interests to that young man, and they’ll make a connection that will probably happen at some point in the evening when you are not in school,”  Mr. Evans said. “So, that is the extent of what we are going to use the tour guides for this year.”

“We had a large number of interest in applications this summer compared to previous years.”

Director of Admissions Mr. Donta Evans

     Although the admissions team was a bit nervous regarding how smooth the process would run virtually, the results in terms of the number of applications in the last few months have relieved many of their worries.

     “We had a large number of interest in applications this summer compared to previous years. A large part of that was because we were committed to opening five days a week whereas a lot of the public schools were either going to do some sort of hybrid model or not open,” Mr. Evans said. “To give you a sense of the interest we received this summer, in July we received 33 applications, while in July of 2019, we received seven applications.”

Author: Ryan Rodack '22

Managing Editor Ryan Rodack is in his third year working on The Index. He previously served as arts editor and sports contributor.