How It’s Made – A Milton Community: Inside Admissions
by Caleb Rhodes on Friday, April 8th, 2016
Milton Academy. I won’t bore you with some of our famous alumni like the illustrious T.S Eliot, visionary inventor and architect R. Buckminster Fuller, renowned jazz pianist Aaron Goldberg, comedian Jenny Slate, politicians Ted and Robert Kennedy, artist Sarah Sze, and James Taylor (kind of). That list is just a small sampling of the many, many Milton Academy graduates who have revolutionized their fields, their worlds, and the people around them. And it’s not a coincidence that all these people walked through Wigglesworth, Warren, and Ware Hall. It’s not by chance that all of this brilliance gravitated towards the suburbs of Boston in Milton, MA. In a time where college admissions processes take all of our attention, maybe now is the moment for a reflection on the process that got us all here, to Milton Academy.
Applications are due January 15th, but the process begins so much earlier. The full team of 12 members in the admissions office led by the Dean of Enrollment and Financial Aid, Mr. Rebuck, are constantly working to network and spread Milton’s name while meeting interested candidates and facilitating their admissions processes. The normal process begins with campus tours and visits, starting in September and running through early January. This is an opportunity for prospective students to learn about and experience the school, as well as for the school to get an understanding of the applicant as a person.
By the time the application due date of January 15th rolls around, students will have completed all of their testing—the SSAT for 9th and 10th grade applicants, and the SSAT, PSAT or SAT for 11th grade applicants—had an interview, and filled out the application. One of the biggest issues for the Milton Admissions office is making applying accessible to a wide variety of people. One effort, as Mr. Rebuck comments, is that “schools like ours are trying to find a model similar to the Common App in the college realm that can make the application process more accessible to a wider range of families around the world, but at the same time try to maintain the individual feel of each school’s application.” The Common App-style approach is very much a double edged sword; on one hand, more people can apply, but on the other hand, the sincerity of each application on average might be less. However, Mr. Rebuck credits the 50% increase in applicants over the last four years to a combination of networking and the internet.
Once all the applications are received, there is a four part review process that takes place from January 15th to March 10th. Mr. Rebuck explains, “Every admissions officer has a territory. The applications are reviewed by the territory person first, then by someone responsible for looking at the overall pool: for example, 9th grade, day boys, or 10th grade, boarder girls. I then read all of them, and people who have gone through those three reads go to a committee meeting of the entire office.”
This year, for the first time, the whole review process was paperless, allowing the admissions officers to be both sustainable and efficient with their time. Mr. Rebuck admits, “Finding the perfect candidate is part science, part art, but at its core, we look at the difference of a student who can survive versus one who can thrive. We want people who can do the work and still have time to have fun and smile.” Members of Milton’s admissions office review both the academic and extracurricular sides of an applicant, while understanding that most places people come from do not have the Milton’s resources. The result is a 17% percent acceptance rate where students from all over the world, from all socioeconomic and personal backgrounds, meld together and help “weave the community we have here,” as Rebuck says.
At this point the Office of Admissions can only host revisit days and wait with bated breath as the April 10th decision deadline approaches. Last year, the admissions process yielded 1100 applications, 143 enrolled students, 43% self-identified students of color, and students from 11 countries and 20 states, according to the Milton website. Who knows who will be in next year’s freshmen class: perhaps among them will be the next T.S. Eliot, Deval Patrick, or Betsy Beers. Nobody knows, but Milton surely cannot wait to find out.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=7852