It’s not too late to schedule a shadow visit

Admissions staff notes some positive effects from Covid

Shadows and their hosts gather at the main entrance during the shadow sibling day earlier this semester.

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Shadows and their hosts gather at the main entrance during the shadow sibling day earlier this semester.

Visiting the Hill in person is one of the most important parts of admissions, and Covid-19 is to thank for some of the improvements made to the process. 

Shadow visits for interested students are a crucial part of seeing what life is like as a student. Like most, those visitors and their hosts faced both challenges and advancements from Covid-19.

Admission Operations Manager Mrs. Maribeth Cloud said, “I appreciate (Covid-19). It forced us to think of alternative methods. Some of that has turned out to be a really good thing.”

Associate Director of Admissions Mrs. Beth Wissler feels similarly. She said, “It has forced our families to make one-on-one appointments, which has been wonderful. Instead of giving a tour to a group of people, I can give a tour (focused on) one person.”

The admissions department and others work with the school calendar to find dates to allow these guests to experience a school day before making their decision. These dates are specific and chosen based on what is occurring on that day. 

For the majority of the time, freshmen and sophomores host these guests. There was also a specific shadow day earlier this semester for current students to have their siblings shadow them. 

Similar to most events, these faced complications, but brought opportunities. Admissions staff members shared the importance of being open during these times. Being immersed in all that there is to offer is key, as it is how the shadows see their choices. Cloud said, “In the months of September, October and November, I try to get (shadows) in as much as possible.”

During the uncertain times, everyone collaborated. Wissler worked with the families of shadows to make sure their experiences went well. Some families were not comfortable with sending their child to be in a large setting, so Wissler advises scheduling a private tour. These are a good time for the students and their parents to see what the school offers.

With the new Innovation Center, new positives and opportunities arose. The new classrooms allowed for the student panel, which is held before school in the new physics lab. This time allows interested students to explore what there is to offer, and meet with Irish Experts, students who help lead the shadows on their day. “(Shadows) have had plenty of opportunities this year. We have been able to accommodate anybody that has wanted to,” said Cloud. 

Last year’s shadows were not able to attend lunch in the cafeteria as construction was still occurring and Covid-19 cautionary measures required students to eat in their classrooms. This year, the shadows are able to experience what lunch is like in the new dining hall. This time in the morning allows for the shadows to see the courtyard and students arriving at school. This is a positive influence on the process because shadows are able to see the different lunch choices and what a typical day on the Hill looks like. 

Teachers, staff members and students have been cooperative during these times, adjusting and welcoming the shadow guests. 

When applying to shadow, those working in admissions suggest to be open and select what you could have the slimmest interest in. They acknowledge that what is on your application, follows you.

Going out of your comfort zone allows shadows to see the opportunities and new interests. Wissler suggests “immerse yourself” in what there is for student life here on the Hill. 

Students are selected for shadows based on their applications. Cloud and Wissler choose freshmen and sophomores with similar interests as their shadows, which allows them to have a positive shadow day. 

There are usually not shadow days during Homecoming week or on freshman retreat day, but there can be some flexibility. Most shadow days are during September, October and November, and Mondays are typically avoided. 

Wissler appreciates that some concerns have allowed for there to be more one-on-one private tours, which is an advantage. Private tours allow for the visitors to see school during the day in new ways than shadowing allows for. Despite these challenges, Wissler said, “Applications are up significantly.”

Shadowing more than once is sometimes recommended to see the full experience on the Hill. If incoming students have interest, reach out. Wissler said, “It’s not too late.”