LC Admissions in the COVID World

This+is+the+admissions+building

Matthew Johnson (Faculty)

This is the admissions building

Dora Lin '23, Contributor

On January 15, 2021, the Loomis Chaffee Admissions Office wrapped up another successful application season despite the unprecedented format. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Admissions Office made a myriad of changes to the school’s application process, such as giving virtual tours and going test-optional.

While COVID-19 has impacted many aspects of admissions, the changes certainly don’t undermine the rigor each application to Loomis Chaffee goes through—as all applicants are reviewed thoroughly regardless of whether they have testing information. Every year, Loomis attracts many students from all over the world and the admissions team strives to fill the incoming class with selected qualified applicants. Students are chosen by admissions committees based on academic fit, recommendations, legacy, and more—a model similar to the application process of the many test-optional colleges. With Loomis’ popularity and selectivity, the acceptance rate dropped to 21 percent last year with the old application format.

“While it’s a bit too soon to tell, I would not anticipate a significant increase in our acceptance rate given our applicant pool so far this year,” said Dean of Enrollment, Mrs. Amy Thompson.

One of the biggest challenges, however, was for prospective families to understand the Loomis Chaffee community without physically being on campus and getting a first-hand look.

“Historically we have worked hard to encourage families to visit campus so they can get a first-hand look at our incredible community and our beautiful campus. What is missing most is the interaction visitors have with our students when they are on campus,” said Director of Financial Aid, Mrs. Nancy Cleary.

Despite not being able to visit, it is clear that many applicants from all over the world are still drawn to Loomis Chaffee as the admissions office held over 2000 interviews with candidates this admissions cycle. The virtual recruitment platform allowed for a much wider audience worldwide.

“It has suddenly become much easier to explore the possibility of boarding school without the limitation of such a significant monetary and time commitment…We hosted three online open houses and 17 virtual programs as well as hosted weekly tours led by our incredible tour guides. Thousands of families took advantage of our programming to learn more about Loomis Chaffee,” said Mrs. Cleary.

This year’s policies proved to be quite successful. The admissions office experienced a significant increase in the number of interviews as well as both the domestic and international pools with the new, test-optional format of admissions.

“While it is common to see an increase in applications once a school announces a test-optional policy, we have seen a greater increase than might be expected from just that factor alone,” said Mrs. Thompson.

Other potential factors for the increase in application numbers include applicants not being able to physically immerse themselves in the Loomis Chaffee community, reactions to worldwide educational disruption, ease of submitting online common applications, Loomis Chaffee’s recruitment efforts, and more. The success alludes to potentially permanent changes in the future for the Loomis Chaffee admissions process.

“Now that we have seen the significant benefits of bringing LC directly to a family’s living room, there is no doubt that, at least in some fashion, virtual programming is here to stay–which is great, because not everyone has the time or resources to visit campus before applying. That is a win-win for everyone,” said Mrs. Thompson.

While much remains unknown, it is clear that Loomis Chaffee has a stable foundation and strong virtual recruitment efforts to ensure another successful application season despite the changes. In the end, the admissions office strives to create the best and most balanced future classes of Loomis Chaffee—with or without test scores.