College Admission Officers Visit Campus to Evaluate Andover Experience

Officers of admission from six colleges visited Andover to gain a better understanding of the Academy last Sunday and Monday. Andover hosts admissions officers from different schools every other year, and this year’s visitors were especially impressed with Phillips Academy’s diversity, as well as the faculty’s commitment to students. Admissions staff from Swarthmore, Kenyon, Holy Cross, Gettysburg College, Lafayette College and George Washington University were immersed in what John Anderson, Director of College Counseling, called “the Andover experience.” Over a period totaling 24 hours, visitors sat in classes, met faculty and students, received a tour, and attended a meeting regarding the curriculum with John Rogers, Dean of Studies. Mr. Anderson said the visitors’ activities were “probably very much what [potential students do] when deciding whether or not to come to Andover.” PA holds biannual visits to educate the college admissions community on the unique experience that students have at Andover. The program allows admissions officers to make a more informed decision when reviewing applications from our school. Lafayette’s Director of Admissions Carol Rowlands said, “Obviously when we read admissions applications we have a lot of factual information about the candidates applying, but this particular trip was put together to give us more insight into what makes Andover unique [or] different.” The most valuable part of the program, according to Ms. Rowlands, was a discussion with several students regarding their backgrounds and their experiences at Andover. The group of admissions officers also attended a dinner with faculty during which they were able to have one-on-one discussions about faculty members’ perspectives on Andover. Ms. Rowlands said, “I came away with the sense that students are the first priority and that although everyone comes with a different background and experience, the faculty and staff are committed to each of you having the best possible experience you can while at Andover.” Mr. Anderson wrote, “I thought the program was a huge success. Our intent was to introduce the admission officers to the people, programs, and resources that give Andover its distinctive character. The more an admission officer knows about the Academy, the better equipped she is to comprehend our applicants. If someone sits in Dr. Warsaw’s Music 270 course, she will have a much greater appreciation of what that course is like than if she just saw a course number and grade listed on a transcript. Those personal experiences are invaluable.” The twice-a-year college admissions officer visits hopefully give colleges a better idea of the full Andover experience: a supportive, diverse community of learning and enrichment both inside and outside the classroom. According to Gettysburg’s Senior Assistant Director of Admissions Courtney Wege, Andover students gain an edge in the competition for college admittance after admissions officers visit the school. Ms. Wege said, “I think before any of us truly review an application it’s important to understand the environment and the curriculum from which the student’s coming from.” She continued, “I think Phillips Andover is doing a great job of really staying in touch with directors and making sure they understand what kind of curriculum and what kind of facilities [are available].” Ms. Wege emphasized the advantage of building a relationship with an admissions officer when applying to a school. She said this contact between students and admissions officers “really matters when we look at an application.”