We Are Westridge
A community blog featuring Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor, the Westridge Leadership Team, our esteemed faculty members and occasional special guests
Decision Time, Part 1: How Do Private Schools Make Admission Decisions?
by Director of Admission & Enrollment Management Sarah Jallo
For a lot of applying families, it is that time of year when you have completed the application and had your interview. Now your part is over, and the waiting game has begun. During this important time, I thought it best to share what admission offices are working on right now, and how admission decisions get made. I often hear that the process feels like a mystery to parents, but it shouldn’t be, so I will try to demystify the next few weeks. As I’ve stated in previous blog posts, each school approaches things differently and is looking for different things, so please remember that the following information can only serve as a general guide to the admission decision process and timeline.
What happens next at Westridge?
As we wrap up the application process, the Westridge admission office is working to be sure everyone who has submitted their preliminary application forms has a completed file by early February (a completed file includes teacher evaluation forms, transcripts, ISEE scores, and an interview). After this, there will be about a two-week period where file readers review files. File readers include admission staff, teachers, and division deans and directors. Each applicant’s file will be read by three people, none of whom has access to other’s notes or thoughts during this stage. At the end of the reading period, the admission office compiles the readers’ comments for each applicant and prepares the files for the admission committee. The committee meets and reviews the applicants’ files and the readers’ notes, and ultimately determines who to accept.
How are decisions made?
Considerations for acceptance include applicant-focused considerations such as academic readiness, character, and personal potential, and school-focused considerations including number of openings by grade, overall school enrollment, and our goal of crafting a class that brings a mix of talents, skills, and perspectives to the community. As a committee, we review every file and discuss our perception of each students’ ability to thrive at Westridge. I think this is an important distinction to make here: The Westridge Admission Committee is trying its best to determine who has the potential to truly thrive in our school and find their sweet spot of challenge, success, joy, and personal fulfillment. When we decide not to offer admission to someone, it is not because we think the student doesn’t have potential—every child has potential and gifts to share with the world. Rather, it is that we believe Westridge may not be the best environment for that student to find success and fulfillment, both of which are a crucial part of the learning experience. And when we do decide to admit a student, it is because we think the Westridge program will build upon existing strengths and appropriately challenge the student. We see them engaging in the school community and participating in school life.
The Westridge Admission Committee is trying its best to determine who has the potential to truly thrive in our school and find their sweet spot of challenge, success, joy, and personal fulfillment.
Coming to these decisions is not easy nor is it a perfect science. The committee makes the best decisions it can with the information provided. And just as parents want the best environment for their children, we also want each child to find the school that is best for them. We take our role seriously and make our decisions thoughtfully. We hope that your family will do the same when it comes time to make your school decision. More on that in an upcoming blog, “Decision Time Part 2: How do families know they are making the right choice?”
Looking for more info from our admission office? Click here to read Sarah's blog on her top admission tips for prospective students and families, or click here to find out more about our admission process.
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