Andover Admissions Institutes Candidate Profile Similar to Common Application

With the latest addition to Andover’s application, Andover applicants can spend less time filling out profiles and more time thinking of creative essay responses to catch the admission officers’ attentions. Andover, along with certain peer schools, implemented an online “Candidate Profile” as the first component of its application this year. The Candidate Profile allows students to indicate interest in a school and begin their applications online, much like college applications. It asks for basic biographical information that prospective students can submit online to any of the eight participating secondary schools. According to Jim Ventre, Director of Financial Aid and Admissions Operation, the mandatory profile is a stepping-stone towards a completely electronic application process next year. Ventre said he hoped applicants will be able to use the same online account to submit their Candidate Profiles along with the rest of their application, including essays, parents’ statements, teacher recommendations and school transcripts. “The opportunity to submit an electronic application is an important objective as we consider ways to guarantee that Andover is accessible to youth from every quarter,” Ventre added. An electronic application will reduce spending for the printing and mailing of paper applications. Those savings directly benefited applicants when Jane Fried, Dean of Admissions, reduced the application fee from $40 to $20 for all prospective students who fill out the Candidate Profile. “How many times are you going to fill out your name, address, grade and so forth, in the application process? With the Candidate Profile, you only fill out this information once and select which schools you would like to send it to,” said Bill Leahy, Senior Associate Dean of Admissions at Andover. Andover, Exeter, Deerfield Academy, Groton School, The Hotchkiss School and St. Paul’s School initiated this program together as a way to ease both the application process for prospective students and data entry for admission staff. Though The Taft School and The Lawrenceville School did not take part in instituting the new profile, they also accept it as part of their application. The admissions office hopes the profile will reduce the amount of data applicants have to enter for their applications and shorten the time admission officers spend collecting data. Leahy said part of the original reason the admissions officers discussed implementing a candidate profile was to “cut down on transfer of paper and items between applicants and schools.” According to Ventre, the Candidate Profile began as Fried’s idea. However, it was not until the SSAT released its online common application, the SSAT Application Service, that PA implemented the profile. Andover, along with several of its peer schools, chose not to accept the SSAT Application Service because the PA admissions office prefers a tailored application. Leahy said, “We don’t agree with the idea that one application can reflect a wide variety of schools.” Fried said, “We work with Dr. Robert Sternberg, author of ‘Successful Intelligence’ and Dean of Arts and Sciences at Tufts, to develop essay and short answer questions that help us select not only for analytical reasoning skills but also for practical, creative and ethical reasoning skills.” One of Andover’s six unconventional essay prompts asks prospective students to “invent a ‘must have’ gadget/tool for a boarding school-bound student” and to either describe it in writing or draw an advertisement. The Andover application also includes two separate questions for twelfth grade and postgraduate applicants, along with an option for musicians and artists to submit supplemental material. Leahy said he hopes that ultimately more schools implement the Candidate Profile. “It’s essentially a one-stop shop for prospective students,” said Mr. Leahy, He continued, “In the long term, who knows where this will lead? We hope it will serve as many applicants and schools as possible, and that it will provide access to admission in an efficient manner.”