Following a year of Zoom tours and online interviews, the admissions office is finally starting to return to normal. Due to COVID-19, admissions had to take a step back. Unable to provide in-person tours and one on one interviews, the campus felt extremely empty during the busier months of the admissions process. However, Pace is overjoyed as the process now returns to its usual ways, welcoming guests back onto campus.
Led by Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management Jen McGurn and assisted by Associate Director of MS/US Admissions Heather Bernes, Associate Director of MS/US Admissions Mac McCallum and Associate Director of LS Admissions Katherine Patrick, the admissions team has had an extremely successful start to the year. Welcoming prospective families with open arms, the halls have begun filling with student-led tours once again.
Starting back up in mid-September, student ambassadors stepped into their roles, leading tours and assisting in Q&A sessions during free periods. Taking on a huge role in the admissions process, the student ambassadors program begins in 8th grade. Students apply and are chosen for the role, becoming the faces of Pace for these prospective families. “Pace Ambassadors are the most significant part of the school search journey for our prospective families,” said Mr. McCallum.
Continuing throughout October and into November, tours and interviews have not slowed down. Frequently, the admissions team puts on weekend tours. These tours are self-guided and allow prospective students to get a feel for life at Pace. During these days, both the Middle and Upper School buildings are open for exploring, along with Inman and the FAC. This style of touring allows families to move at their own pace, ask questions and take a closer look at the aspects that cater to their interests.
On Nov. 20, Pace hosted its Middle and Upper School Open House, followed by the Lower School Open House on Nov 21. “Open House is our biggest event of the year!” said Mrs. Bernes. Bringing in a majority of applicants and their families, the Open House is also the busiest event of the year.
With certain COVID-19 protocols still in place, the Open House looked slightly different this year. Families were split into three groups: A, B and C, based on their last name. Each group received a timed and mapped-out schedule for the duration of the event. There were three main stations taking place in the main buildings of the school. First was the Athletics and Arts Fair in Inman. Here, student-athletes and coaches, as well as teachers, set up display tables throughout the gym. Families explored freely, stopping at tables that excited them.
Following this was a walk-through of either the Middle or Upper School buildings. Depending on the age of the prospective students, families were able to stroll through either building and get a better look at student life. The department heads of each subject were present in respective classrooms, putting on presentations and answering questions to enlighten those interested. Lastly, there was an informative session with faculty like Head of Upper School Mike Gannon and Head of Middle School Graham Anthony. Taking place in the FAC where families were able to listen, learn and ask questions regarding all aspects of Pace.
Having an extremely large showing and the help of both faculty and student ambassadors, this year’s Open House surely topped the virtual one of last year. Now, with COVID-19 protocols lessening, the admissions team anticipates the revival of the shadow experience as well as a continuation of in-person events. So far, the admission team has had an exciting year.