Dana Hall Admissions goes hybrid

Until Covid-19 hit in March 2020, visiting students started their campus tours and had their interviews in the Admissions Office at Beveridge Hall. However, no visitors were allowed on campus for most of the 2020-2021 school year, so interviews and tours were entirely virtual. This experience allowed the Admissions Office to see new possibilities to include all visiting families in the future.

“The Admission team is very excited to bring families to Dana Hall, virtually and in person,” said Angela Brown, Assistant Head of Admissions and Strategic Initiatives. 

Changes in Admissions this year include virtual-only interviews, the addition of virtual tours, meeting tour guides outside rather than indoors, making test scores optional, and the cancellation of snacks in Beveridge Hall for visiting families

In previous years, “we did everything in person. We didn’t do things virtually before. I think now that we have learned how to do that, this year we are able to do both the on-campus ones and the virtual ones,” said Julia Martin, Associate Director of Admission, who has worked on the Dana Hall Admissions team for nine years. “I’m happy that we’re keeping some of those virtual experiences to make sure that we do connect with students from afar in deeper ways than we used to be able to do.”

Recognizing the benefit virtual events brought to boarding families, “Now virtual events will continue to be offered,” said Ms. Brown.

Virtual interviews had been offered in the past by Admission counsellors, but all interviews are virtual this year.

According to Ms. Martin, interviews in person would be preferred, but with Covid-19, Zoom is a better choice as admission counselors can “actually see students’ faces” without masks. “I also think it’s great because of equity. I think it can be different seeing someone in person right in front of you versus seeing someone on a computer. So I think the fact that everybody has an equal playing field this year is actually a good thing,” said Ms. Martin.

Ms. Brown agreed that virtual interviews this year “allow greater interactions and familiarity,” as no masks would be required.

Virtual tours are a new addition that allows families to see Dana Hall if they can’t visit in person. However, being able to visit in person “will naturally give you an even more enhanced feeling,” according to Ms. Brown.

“For virtual tours, it’s more of an information session. You always get to share your personal experiences but it’s not as intimate as a real tour can be where they get to really know you and really see and feel,” said Vanessa Liu ‘22, one of the Heads for Blue Key club, which offers tours to visiting families.

“There’s a lot of value in the virtual tour, but the experience of actually setting foot on campus and getting that gut check moment, about can you imagine yourself here, can you envision yourself here, you can’t replicate that,” said Ms. Martin.

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