Slightly-Open House

Sallies Adjusts Admissions Process to Accomodate for Eighth Graders

Matthew Deckers, Contributor

Navigating through the harsh sea of PSATs, SATs, ACTs, and other college admissions concerns is a monumental task for Salesianum students, especially this year. However, high schoolers aren’t the only ones facing a future-defining decision: eighth graders must also choose between various schools amidst the pandemic.

High school seniors and eighth graders currently have the shared concern over where they plan to spend the next four years of their lives as students. Making that final decision has never been easy; with schools limiting who and what can enter their buildings to limit the spread of COVID-19, it isn’t any easier.

Thankfully, Salesianum is adapting. Seeing as there will be no traditional events where people could come to the campus in-person to get a sense of the school community, the school has streamlined the admissions process. “One of the big things that we can’t do given the current times is to host students here for shadowing,” says Mr. Winchell. “As an admissions team, we’re working really hard on trying to develop innovative ways to connect students who can’t come in and be physically with us to the school community.”

Mr. Winchell explains that Sallies is hosting virtual Zoom nights where eighth grade students and parents can attend and ask questions, similar to many of the college virtual information sessions that our seniors have (hopefully) been attending this year. 

Recently, on October 11, Sallies hosted a virtual Open House, which offered a broader glance at the school and its academics. Currently, the admissions team is working on a digital tour with a map of the building, where students can scan QR codes and learn about various parts about the school. “We’ve also talked about holding a virtual ‘shadow day,’” he says, “perhaps putting cameras on some of our students and just let that follow them around for the day.”

Online information sessions and tours will obviously not be as effective in garnering the attention of eighth graders as in-person visits would. “I don’t think we can replace those personal interactions and connections that we make with people when we’re there in person,” Mr. Winchell explains, “but I do think that they will help. Having [Salesianum] students with us on [the Zoom nights], where they can reflect on their experience and can answer questions directly from the parents, will help us.” He believes that it’s better to have something less effective in-place rather than nothing at all.

High school admissions is an incredibly important and exciting time for eighth graders every year. During a period of COVID health protocols and uncertainty, Salesianum is taking positive steps forward in making this process more manageable.

Some quotes were edited for clarity.