Andover-Sponsored Summer Programs Suffer Drop in Number of Applicants

Despite the introduction of an online common application for three Andover-sponsored off-campus summer programs in January, there has been a decrease in the number of applicants to the programs this year compared to previous years.

Around 35 students filled out the common application, which was utilized by the Niswarth Program, BASK in ASK and Brazil PLACES this year to simplify the application process for students, according to Peter Merrill, Coordinator of Andover’s Global Perspectives Group (GPG) and Instructor in German and Russian.

The Niswarth Program, a three-week program in India in which participants engage in projects that deal with urban development and education in India, saw a significant drop in applicants, according to Raj Mundra, Coordinator of Niswarth Program and Dean of Pine Knoll Cluster. The specific numbers of applicants to Niswarth, however, is confidential.

“This certainly is only a one-year type of phenomenon, I don’t think this is a trend because traditionally, we’ve had a lot of applicants. I want to add, however, that the people that we chose for Niswarth this year, we’re so thrilled with this group that’s going. And that the lower numbers of applications don’t reflect the quality of people who applied,” said Mundra.

As a result of the common application, Merrill said that some programs might not have been as exposed or well-advertised to the student body as they have been in the past. There may have been the possibility that some programs will not have as much visibility as they did in the past.

While Merrill does not think that the drop in the number of applicants is detrimental to any of the programs themselves, he hopes that more students will apply in the following years. “One reason is that because not everyone who applies is well-suited to a particular program. It’s important to have the latitude to choose participants who match the design of the program,“ wrote Merrill in an email to The Phillipian.

Despite the decrease in number of applicants, the common application will most likely be in place in the following years as well. “It’ll make it easier for us to keep track of who’s participating in what program…because it’s centralized, it’ll be easier to manage the financial aid aspects of it. Once everybody gets used to it, it’ll also be easier for students to keep track of what their options are,” said Merrill.

GPG is a multidisciplinary faculty group created in 2006 with a mission of looking beyond Andover and making progress in global education. GPG organizes and runs many of Andover’s off-campus summer programs, including Bask in Ask and PLACES, according to Merrill.