Admissions Boosts Recrutiment Efforts To Increase Diversity Among Applicants

The Admissions Office plans to reach out to different geographic areas, offer more financial aid, and create a committee of current students and faculty to help choose new students in an attempt to increase student body diversity for the 2007-2008 school year. Over the past year, Jane Fried, Dean of Admission, has visited London, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, and India to further Andover’s tradition of having “Youth from Every Quarter.” Ms. Fried has also scouted students in states such as Illinois, Texas, Wyoming, Colorado, California, and New York. Unlike most other schools, Andover’s admissions officers frequently revisit areas in the same admissions cycle in order to draw more prospective students. Andover is known for its dedication to creating one of the most diverse student bodies among secondary schools. In a recent trip out west, Mrs. Fried traveled to Helena, Great Falls, Missoula and Bozeman, Mont. and Jackson and Lander, Wyo., where she met with over 50 prospective families. Her visit as a boarding school representative in Montana was so unusual that she was even asked to speak on a radio talk show during her trip. Other admissions officers will make trips out to the western United States later this year. Two of the nine admissions officers are always on the road to insure that they see as many families as possible between the beginning of school and January, when the selection process begins. The Admissions Office is aiming to bring more socioeconomic diversity to Andover. Within the past few years, the Board of Trustees approved an Affordability Initiative to give 40 percent of the student body financial aid. In order to maintain a high level of socioeconomic diversity among the students, the Academy must add an additional $1 million dollars to the financial aid budget every year. Andover is able to set aside over $11.7 million in aid to give to qualifying students. This allows Andover to offer 41 percent of the student body partial financial aid and 10 percent full financial aid. In response to the Academy’s Strategic Plan, the Board of Trustees recently awarded the additional funds to the Admissions Office. Financial aid grants are given to a student based on the applicant’s needs. Unlike loans, grants do not have to be paid back and cover mostly curriculum-related costs. Some scholarships offer more benefits to students depending on a family’s particular financial situation. The grants given to students come directly from the school’s endowment. The Admissions Office has also formed the Composition of the Student Body Committee, which will include alumni, current PA students, faculty and trustees, and should greatly change the process. The committee will meet in January, around the same time as the first Board Meeting of 2007, to discuss the student body, and attempt to determine what types of student the Academy should focus on recruiting. Students from the Admissions Office Ambassador program will also help the admissions staff shape the future Phillips Academy student body. The Admissions Office feels that it is important to include the current students in the admissions process so it can receive direct feedback about the diversity of students at the Academy. In September, Andover invited educational consultant Dr. Whitney Laughlin to advise the Admissions Office on the recruitment of Native American students. Dr. Laughlin helped found College Horizons, a pre-college workshop for Native American students. The Admissions Office is waiting for her report and will work with the College Horizons program for Native American students in June at Harvard University. Andover will join many elite colleges at the four-day college fair hosted by the program.