Head of School Blog: The Power of Community in Admissions

We have just wrapped up a historic year in admissions. Our applications were up 30% from last year’s all-time high, which put us in a position to be more selective in our admissions process than ever before. Our yield — the rate at which accepted students enroll at BUA — was also at its highest point in this school’s history. As a result, we have been able to bring together another extraordinarily talented, diverse group of new students who share this community’s commitments to kindness and curiosity. We can’t wait to welcome them in the fall.

We know that the way this school adapted to the pandemic is part of the reason for this year’s admissions results. We have heard from prospective families that, given their experience over the past thirteen months, they were looking for a school that prioritized in-person learning and had the resources and agility to make that possible. We also know that there is more to the story. The reputation of this school continues to grow as a place that offers far more opportunity than schools many times our size, while preserving a family feel and a culture of belonging. And Ms. Hakimi and her team, along with our parent volunteers, student tour guides, alumni interviewers, and faculty panelists — they all form a network of advocates for BUA who both tell our story and make prospective students and families feel at home even before they join us.

I’ve read that roughly 80% of families and students find their way to independent schools through word of mouth, and my conversations with current families and graduates confirms that. One alumna told me that her piano teacher (and past BUA parent) had recommended the school. A current family told me that a neighbor talked up BUA on the sidelines of a soccer game and shared how it had been transformative for her children. Another current parent told me about his experience working with BUA alums in his lab, being impressed, and looking into the school for his own family. Finding the right school is among the most important decisions that families make, and it makes sense that hearing from a trusted source makes all the difference. Our families, students, and alumni are our best ambassadors, and I feel so lucky to be in a community where you all take such an active role in spreading the good word about this special place. Thank you.

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