Admissions Conducts Study to Assist in New Online Initiatives

Andover’s Admissions Office recently conducted a “Price Sensitivity Study” and found that Andover’s financial aid policies are in line with the expectations and needs of families from various income levels, according to Jane Fried, Dean of Admissions. The study was an investigation into how Andover’s tuition influences a family’s decision to apply and ultimately, to enroll. The study concluded that Andover’s biggest competitors for prospective students are not other private schools, but home-schooling options, public schools and independent schools. Fried said that of these other types of schools, public schools led all other school types by a wide margin. The information gathered from this study contributed to the many changes made within the Admissions Office. With the institution of online applications, student blogs, a Facebook page and MyAndover accounts, the Admissions Office hopes to more effectively manage the application process. Fried said, “We are working to develop more efficient and sustainable ways to manage the volume and complexity of our applicant pool, while maintaining relationships with families.” According to Fried, over the last few years, the Andover Board of Trustees supported modest tuition increases, but also pushed to increase the school’s financial aid budget. Andover now also participates in the Gateway Application, which was developed by representatives from Andover, St. Paul’s School, Deerfield Academy, Groton School and Hotchkiss School. The Gateway Application is an online platform for prospective students. This new application aims to streamline the admissions process and collect parent and student biographical information and student extracurricular interests. The program is not a common application because it still allows schools to include their own essay questions. However, it does provide common recommendation forms for teachers. Fried said that the Gateway Application contributes to the participating schools’ sustainability effort by no longer requiring applicants to print and mail their applications. However, students still have the option to submit a paper application. Prospective students are also provided with “MyAndover” online accounts in addition to the online application. Each account stores the student’s biographical information and application and allows them to monitor the status of their applications. Fried said that one of the Admissions Office’s main goals is to maintain relationships with families during the application process and even throughout the online application process. To help meet this goal, the Admissions Office created student blogs, which are journal entries written by current Andover students that document daily campus life. The Admissions Office also maintains a Facebook page, which posts updates concerning upcoming admissions and campus events. Fried said that the Facebook page has proven to be an effective administrative tool. The Admissions Office also recruited more Alumni Admissions Representatives, who interview prospective students off-campus in order to suit the needs of applicants who cannot interview at Andover. “Interviewing off-campus saves families significant money and time,” said Fried. “[It] is very important in today’s economy.”