LC Revisit Day Undergoes a COVID-19 Makeover

Stacey Zhang '22, Contributor

Every March and April, boarding school applicants are given the chance to visit campus and briefly become part of their potential future high schools. This year, however, in light of the COVID-19 situation, Loomis’ Admissions Office cancelled the on-campus Pelican Preview Days and instead offered an alternative option for accepted students.

The LC COVID-19 Task Force, consisting of a number of administrators and faculty, decided to cancel on-campus Pelican Preview Days about a week before the Admissions Office released their acceptance decisions.

“In retrospect, it was very good that we decided to cancel it as quickly as we can and move it to virtual experiences,” said Dean of Enrollment Mrs. Amy Thompson.

In short notice, a web page was put together by the Communications Office and Admissions Office, and became available to students in just a few days after their acceptance. Fifteen Pelican Conversations, podcasts, as well as virtual tour videos were included in the web page.

On top of already produced tour videos and podcasts, the Admissions office created more resources for potential students by cooperating with the Loomis community. Mrs. Thompson explained that over the weeks in Spring Break, the Admissions reached out to tour guides and current students to host the virtual revisits, so that the prospective students can interact personally with the Loomis community. Many faculty and coaches also contributed to create the many Pelican Conversations and webinars with the Admissions.

The Pelican Conversations, a central component of the virtual platform, centered around topics like English and Writing, Athletics, Advising, as well as Dorm Life. For the English and Writing Program, English faculty members elaborated on the Department’s teaching philosophy, as well as introducing the many opportunities Loomis has for writers. The student tutors in the Writing Center also shared their experiences in the English program as well as the Writing Workshops.

Despite the many resources provided on the online platform, the virtual experience is different from an in-person revisit.

“I think it’s really hard for families to decide on where to go, now that they are looking at the schools from a different lens from when they [were] applying,” said Mrs. Thompson.
She points out that an important missing piece in a prospective family’s experience is the culture and the “feel” on campus. The Admissions team feels confident with the positive feedback and ratings of the students’ first visits, and aims to continue fostering personal connections between prospective students and current students and faculty.

“We always say that Loomis is not necessarily about the buildings, but about the people,” Mrs. Thompson added.

When asked about his virtual revisit experience, Brigham Cooper ’24, an incoming freshman, said, “The faculty on these [informational] calls were very welcoming and helpful, and it felt as if I was part of the community already,” though he mentions he would have preferred an on-campus revisit for an “accurate representation of school life on campus.”

Mercuri Lam ’24 wished that the new students could sit in a classroom to envision their lives better, but enjoyed talking to current students and looked forward to coming to the Island.

“I’ve already met a bunch of people going next year and I feel like Loomis is the school for me,” Mercuri said.

With this year’s new student enrollment drawing to an end, the Admissions Office hit their target with a yield rate similar to last year, despite the unusual circumstances. Mrs. Thompson and the Admissions team expressed their gratitude for the faculty and students who stepped up and helped make the smooth transition to an online revisit experience.

Crediting the technology that enabled the online platforms to exist, Mrs. Thompson hopes that Loomis can continue using virtual tools for those students who can’t have on-campus experiences.

“I look forward to next year’s revisit, and we are absolutely thrilled about this group of new students that are coming,” Mrs. Thompson concluded.