With touring crowds and heavy traffic on Main Street, Andover’s campus swelled with prospective families on Saturday, September 21 for the annual Andover Fall Open House. Hosted by the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, the day welcomed more than 960 attendees.
The open house aimed to introduce families of the surrounding Andover area to the school with a particular focus on the admissions process. Team Shuman planned a day full of information sessions, panels, and tours. Vivien Valenzuela Mallick, Director of Admission Operations, shared that the schedule was altered slightly in order to accomodate the families as best as possible.
“The sessions were very crowded [last year], so we decided to offer certain sessions more than once so that rooms wouldn’t feel so full. For instance, we had an athletics information session, an arts information session, and an essay writing info session. All three of those were overcrowded last year, so we offered each of those twice to minimize the crowd,” said Mallick.
The event underwent some structural changes. A separate agenda was available for families of students in seventh grade due to their being at a different stage of the application process, in comparison to families of eighth grade and older, according to Jessica Acosta-Chavez, Associate Director of Admission and Director of Multicultural Outreach.
“This year, we had slightly more attendance from last year. Every year, we ask students and families to send us their feedback after attending our open house. We do our best to incorporate the feedback we receive in order to improve future events. For example, this year we added a separate mini open house for current seventh graders (our fall open house is traditionally designed for current eighth graders or older students),” wrote Acosta-Chavez in an email to The Phillipian.
Mallick echoed Acosta-Chavez’s sentiments, and explained a few additional changes to the schedule this year, which included two financial aid information sessions, a Spanish language Q&A, and a tour of the library and The Nest.
The event relied on the help of many members of the Junior class, in part due to their familiarity with the process after just having gone through it the year before. Mallick posted on the @andoveradmissions Instagram looking for Juniors interested in helping in registration and panels at the open house.
Izzy Alvarez ’23 took over the @andoveradmissions story for the day. She observed the many tour groups circulating campus and appreciated Team Shuman’s efforts to familiarize families with the admissions process and Andover experience.
“I think it gives the prospective students a new kind of refreshing view [of the school] because she does a lot of story takeovers. I think it gives the students a different perspective… It was also the day when the soccer teams and field hockey and football games were playing. So, they also had a chance to look at that. I think it’s really helpful to get a sense of what Andover is like,” said Alvarez.
Mallick explained the role of open houses for secondary schools like Andover. According to Mallick, Team Shuman hoped to give “insider information and destress or demystify the process.”
“It’s very common for private schools to have open houses in the fall to let people explore a little bit. Sometimes families are hesitant to book their tour and interview. They’re not sure if they want to commit to interviewing yet…[The open house] would hopefully encourage you to start the application process and book your tour and interview,” said Mallick.
Acosta-Chavez commended the outcome of the open house, and recognized that its success stemmed from the hard work of many individuals.
“Our Fall Open House has continued to be successful year to year because of the incredible work of so many faculty, staff, and students from our community. We loved welcoming so many students and families to campus for the day so they could experience our Big Blue Nice community!” wrote Acosta-Chavez.