Milton Academy Admissions Process
by Neil Chandra on Friday, April 20th, 2012
Last month the Admissions Office sent out acceptance letters to many prospective students, narrowing an applicant field of more than one thousand to roughly two hundred and fifty.
Although the accepted students have submitted their decisions, the admissions process is by no means over. Having finished many months of work, Milton’s Office of Admission continues a very time-consuming process that will persist for the remainder of this school year and begin anew at the end of this summer.
Last year, over 1,000 students applied and 164 new students enrolled. These new students came from 21 states and 14 countries and spoke over 18 languages: truly a measure of diversity.
The Upper School Admissions Office has seven different admission officers, who oversee the extensive decision-making process that runs from January 15th through March 10th. From a student’s perspective, the process begins when he or she expresses an interest in the school and fills out the Request Information form, indicating that the student wants to be added to the mailing list. He or she will receive all necessary information about the process and will be offered the opportunity to visit the school with a student guided tour and submit an application. According to Winston Tuggle, Assistant Director of Admission, nearly “28 families tour the campus each day.”
The prospective students must next take the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) and subsequently submit their scores. This test can be taken more than once if necessary with only the applicant’s choice of score(s) submitted. Applicants whose first language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
In addition to these test(s) the student must submit a full application consisting of biographical information, extracurricular interests, short answer questions, personal essays, a student questionnaire, a parent statement, his or her school record, and various recommendation letters. Without a doubt, the process can be taxing for both the applicant, who also has his or her own schoolwork to finish, and the admissions officer.
In order to combat the logistical difficulties of having such thorough and long applications, the process has for the first time gone online. Applicants now have the opportunity to work on, complete, and submit their application without ever sending a hard copy to the school, permitting the Admissions Office to facilitate the process digitally. Although the paperless applications present difficulties for some applicants, the Admissions Office hopes that the benefits greatly outweigh the difficulties.
In an interview, Mr. Tuggle described the decision-making process: the applications are split into “territories” based on the location of the applicant and then further split into “pools” based on grade, sex and their choice of boarding or day. His pool, for example, contained 666 inquiries while only 133 of these 666 students who made inquiries actually filled out applications. From these pools, Admissions Officers select students without considering their financial situation. This factor, however, resurfaces in the final decision-making process where the financial aid budget ($7.9 million) must be taken into account. In the end the Office expects to accept 95 new students into Class IV, 40 new students into Class III, and 15 new students into Class II.
Many of these students come through a somewhat different route: athletic recruiting.While these prospective students are ultimately selected through the same decision-making process, their application process differs slightly because they can express their interest in athletics through “the chance to meet with a faculty member who directs a special program that interests [the applicant],” according to the Admissions website. While not limited only to athletic recruits, the majority of students who pursue this type of meeting have an interest in athletics at Milton.
When asked about whether he wished to change various facets of the Admissions process, Head of School Todd Bland responded with “No. [Nothing] in particular.” As former Director of Admissions at Belmont Hill, Mr. Bland understands the importance of the program to the representation of the school. In praise of the success of the program, Mr. Bland indicated that “[he] was thrilled to be inheriting such a strong program and one that is so comprehensive.” In addition to the success of the program, Mr. Bland noted that the school must cater to the technological capacity of all its applicants and that the paperless application process could be a restrictive aspect for some. Nevertheless, both Mr. Bland and the school in its entirety recognize the importance of the Admissions Office, a department often unsung but one that contributes greatly to the school’s perception amongst many of Milton’s future student body.
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