PA to Become the First High School to Conduct Research on Students after Graduation

Andover will launch a research project on the Class of 2011 this spring, which will follow current Uppers through their post-college years to examine the long-term impact of an Andover education. Jane Fried, Assistant Head for Enrollment, Research and Planning and Dean of Admission, said, “The goals of the project are to learn more about the role Phillips Academy plays in shaping the lives of our alumni as they enter higher education, develop a value system and chart a course through life.” “The results of this study will be invaluable in developing an understanding of how Phillips Academy accomplishes its mission and the degree to which it helps graduates to lead meaningful lives,” added Fried. Andover is the first secondary school to initiate a long-term research project that follows students through their post-college years. The project, currently in its initial phase, will officially begin when educational research groups visit the campus on April 21 and May 1 to conduct workshops with two focus groups comprised of several Uppers. From these workshops, the program committee hopes to gain a better understanding of what current students value the most about their experiences at Andover. Fried said, “The most important phase of the project is definitely the initial process when we have to develop questions and figure out what the study should focus on” “In order to develop a strong foundation for the project and carry out a strategic plan, capturing the opinions of current students, faculty, alumni and parents is crucial,” she continued. At the May trustee board meeting, trustees and alumni from the Alumni Council will be interviewed and asked to provide insight on how Andover has changed their lives. Parents will also have an opportunity to participate in focus groups and share their thoughts on the project in the fall of 2010 during Parents’ Weekend. The discussions and feedback from the student focus groups, alumni and parents will assist the administration and professional researchers in developing the discussion questions and survey that will be addressed to the entire Class of 2011 in the winter of 2010. This first survey will be followed by a pre-college survey the following summer, a survey after freshman or sophomore year of college and an additional survey after college graduation. Fried said, “The biggest challenge for this study is getting all members of the Class of 2011 to be involved throughout the years after they graduate from Andover. For longitudinal projects like this, it is crucial to have a high response rate for a better and more diverse result.” “I highly encourage the current Uppers to be actively involved with the project even after they graduate, for the result of the study will be interesting not only for us but also for them as they hear from their classmates outside of the Andover bubble,” added Fried. The research project committee is planning to design a project webpage to remain in contact with the Class of 2011 and keep them involved with the annual survey, according to Fried. The research project committee also plans to share the results of the annual survey with the Andover community by publishing them in the Andover magazine and the school website. “The results of the survey will be very powerful and meaningful because they will have been collected over a long period of time. We might find out things that we don’t even know right now,” said Fried. Peter Bang ’11 said, “I currently think that Andover education is preparing me well for college, and I think it will be interesting to see a study on how well Andover has actually prepared us once we are at college. Jenny Chen ’11 said, “Andover has instilled in me a greater sense of Non Sibi, and I wonder how this will shape my values in the years to come.” An anonymous member of the Class of 1966 and his spouse are fiscally responsible for this study.