After three complete admissions cycles, our team was able to run an entirely in-person season, and what a success it was! While we still maintained many of the positive practices we adopted during the pandemic (virtual parent/guardian interviews are easier and more accessible for many families than in-person ones), we were able to joyfully return to bringing families on campus freely for tours, student assessments, shadow days, open house, and much more.
What a difference it made! Students and families fell in love with Belmont Day more so than ever. Application numbers were up yet again (9% over last year and 18% over the three-year average), and even more wonderfully, our yield numbers (those families who accepted our offers of admission) are at record highs in our pre-kindergarten and grade six entry points (84% and 76% respectively). I am happy to report that these are no longer pandemic-related surges in interest. These families are seeking out what BDS offers specifically and, when offered a place in our community, are eagerly accepting the opportunity.
So what has an entirely in-person admissions season meant for us as a team? It means so many ways families can interact with our school and experience the strength of our classrooms, community, and faculty. We got to know our applicants and their families in a deeper and more meaningful way. Faculty could engage directly with prospective students during campus visits, leading them in literature discussions, math activities, and team-building games. Current students hosted admitted students for shadow days in our middle school, giving them a window into daily life at BDS. Pre-k and kindergarten applicants were able to take part in a joyful Saturday morning play session with the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teachers as well as all four associates.
It has also meant getting to know our current students and families in ways that bring to life the strength of our community and our commitment to furthering the mission and progress of Belmont Day. Parents lead daily campus tours, call admitted families, speak on panels, act as “buddies” to newly enrolled families, and serve in crucial volunteer roles at events. Student ambassadors could also showcase their leadership skills in new ways, thanks to a return to on-campus events. This year, with an on-campus open house as well as our headlining yield event, “Say Yes to BDS,” our student ambassadors confidently and competently toured visitors around campus, guided them through scheduled programming, spoke from the heart on student panels, served as playmates for our youngest applicants, and aided faculty during mini-class experiences, to name a few! Watching our seventh and eighth grade students shine in their ambassador roles and emerge as true leaders within the admissions process was by far the most rewarding part of this year’s season.
As a result of all these efforts, in combination with tremendous behind-the-scenes work by faculty, parents, and students, we will have 58 fabulous new students and families joining us in September. As a team, we continue to focus on bringing a diverse group of new students to the school each year. This admissions cycle, in partnership with the communications and marketing team, we targeted outreach into three specific underrepresented communities and continued our annual strategy to connect with as wide an audience as possible in our enrollment efforts. Thanks to this work, our new students and families represent 16 different towns and cities; 66% of them identify as a family of color, and they speak multiple languages in their homes, including Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Gujarati, Hindi, Portuguese, Urdu, Amharic, and Russian.
Thank you to the many individuals who participated in this year’s admissions season for encouraging all of these new families along the way and to the entire community for all you do to spread the good word about BDS. It truly starts and ends with all of you, and I could not be more grateful for your hard work and support this admissions season!