Admissions Process for 2021 | 1 Min Read

Survey of 129 Schools

We took the temperature on admissions processes for next year at the end of April 2020, with 129 schools participating and 58% of respondents being admissions officers, and the rest Heads of School or Principals. We also asked a couple of member school leaders, Nanci Kauffman, Head of School, Castilleja School (CA) and Sue Sadler, Head of School, Bryn Mawr School (MD) to comment; they framed their comments around Tables 2 and 3 that detail responses on priorities of school attributes that need to be highlighted and outcomes that parents want.

In Table 1, we see that there appears to be changing emphases towards the value of standardized admissions tests and teacher recommendations: with the former, only 52% see the admissions tests as having the value they had in the past and this is probably largely attributable to the dramatic swing nationwide and at the college level against the SAT and ACT for inequity. OESIS has advocated that schools go test-optional for the SSAT or ISEE. Teacher recommendations are rising in emphasis and this may be a function of the disruption to the end of the school year that might imply incompletion of traditional sequences.

The responses in Table 4 are the most worrisome for us as they seem to under-estimate the privacy issues with using home versions of the ISEE and SSAT. Should offering a proctor that is unknown to your child and requiring all kinds of impositions be one of the first touches we offer as schools for prospective families. Recently the SAT abandoned its home version. Are there alternative ways of doing it? Table 5 offers an alternative way of getting the information used by Stanford Online High School and this seems to have quite positive receptivity.

We asked the last question on privacy because we see legal standards as the lowest bar and accreditation standards and internal equity standards as higher bars. The responses are confusing and suggest that privacy is an area that admissions and all other areas need to focus on with urgency.

Sanje Ratnavale

Sanje founded OESIS in 2013 and serves as the President of what has grown to become the leading network for innovation at independent schools (with now over 600 participating in our research, conferences, cohorts, PD platforms, career placement and consulting): the acronym OESIS grew from the initial focus on Online Education Strategies for Independent Schools. He noticed that independent schools lacked both a highly collaborative national network for faculty and a pedagogical growth mindset, as many of the associations moved over decades to governance, leadership or accreditation focus and a celebration of supposedly timeless inputs. In 2019 Sanje helped found and launch a new initiative called PIVOT, a non-profit partnership between IMS Global and OESIS, which aims to help schools advance 21st-century designs of digital transcripts: comprehensive records that capture more student learning from competencies to skills and more.He has held senior administrative positions at independent schools including Associate Head of School at a K-12 school for seven years, High School Principal for three years and CFO for seven years. Sanje has taught Latin and History at the High and Middle School levels: his educational career spans both British (Windlesham House School in Sussex) and American (Marlborough School in LA and Sierra Canyon School in LA) independent schools, schools that are boarding, single-sex and co-ed institutions respectively. He was one of three founding administrators and the financial architect of a brand new greenfield non-profit independent school built on the outskirts of Los Angeles into a K-12 institution with 850 students, a 35-acre campus and $80 million in assets during his seven-year tenure: Sanje led the raising and management of $60 million for the project from investors. Prior to making a switch to education, Sanje spent 15 years in venture capital, investment banking and senior C-level (CEO, COO, CFO) management. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford University {B.A. and M.A. in Law/Jurisprudence) and the British independent school system (Harrow School). Sanje is based out of Santa Monica.

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