An energy of excitement buzzed in the fresh morning spring air as prospective students and families stepped foot on campus. In person Spring Visits took place for the first time since 2019, on March 28, April 1, and April 4. Current students volunteered as revisit hosts, bringing prospective students to classes and showing them their typical days at Andover. According to Jamie Hagerman Phinney, Assistant Director in Admissions, spring visits give unique opportunities for prospective students to experience Andover.
“[Spring visits] allows the kids to see [students at Andover] in an unfiltered way: not on a stage, [but their] true selves. They can picture themselves doing the same exact thing. When kids enter and get their name tag, they’re usually kind of nervous, but I love to see how they leave the day—that’s when we return on investment like ‘did we get the job done?” said Phinney.
After three years of Covid-19 restrictions, hybrid learning, and mask mandates, Phinney explained how the Admissions office went back to the drawing board and looked at how they could adapt old spring revisit schedules to the current academic schedule, which was revised three years ago.
“The process started years ago when we had our first planned revisit, and we had to put that on the shelf due to Covid protocol, but we restarted the process in mid-February. I started reaching out to people to brainstorm and find out what could work. What kind of things we could offer the parents while the kids are in class and what we could offer the kids and parents together,” said Phinney.
Prospective student Abigail Zhu shared how they enjoyed the immersive class experience alongside the panel sessions held for newly accepted students. Zhu appreciated being able to not only watch classes, but also being able to participate in classes she could potentially be in next year.
“I liked being in the classes and being able to participate; it definitely gives you a good sense of ‘the Andover experience.’ I really liked [English 100]—they just started ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray,’ so it was kind of easier for me to hop in,” said Zhu.
James Gordon, another prospective student, appreciated the informative panel sessions that helped him gain a greater understanding of Andover’s community. Gordon noted the revisit host system, where each prospective student was paired with current students who share similar interests.
Gordon said, “[I] especially [liked] the buddy system. My buddy was Spencer Madge ’25, and we shared a lot of the same interests—it was very well organized, and I knew where I had to go for the next period, and there was always something I could do.”
Ashley Park ’24, one of the revisit hosts, explained that the host system allowed her to show her hostee the different aspects of campus she had grown to love. Park compared the tour with her experience when she entered Andover virtually, noting that although challenges due to the pandemic are still prevalent, the school has learned to live in the new normal.
“[My experience was] definitely very different; I didn’t really have in person visitations like this. I think it was really important for me to show them that even though we are still in the pandemic with a lot of cases going up, [it is important to show] just how good this school is, how we’re controlling the pandemic and also school life, and how we can do everything all at once,” said Park.
Annabel Tu ’25, however, hoped the scheduling of the event could have been revised to three consecutive Mondays instead to showcase all five to six classes one day instead of on two or three classes on Fridays.
“I liked giving the tour—I personally liked it better on Monday when I could take them to multiple classes because I feel like Friday was just three classes, which could be pretty boring, and they were all pretty long. So especially for someone who has never had a class, a 1 hour 15 minute class seems pretty tiring. It was fun to also act like the expert about a school I love so much,” said Tu.
On behalf of the admissions office at Shuman, Phinney extended her gratitude to all students, performers, faculty, and members of the community for how much support and help they provided throughout the two weeks of spring revists.
“[Team Shuman] wants to make sure everybody knows how appreciative we are. We know what a big task it is to our students to host, especially because we all want to get a lot in during academic days with limited time. We don’t often get a chance to say thank you to everybody for welcoming these people as our own, so thank you!” said Phinney.
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