Member Spotlight: Harker School

Member Spotlight: Harker School

From Memberanda, Spring 2011

Our colleagues in higher education are offering fast-track admission, streamlined applications, and instant decisions in a bid to attract students. What are independent schools doing?

The Harker School in California recently unveiled a special offer designed to demonstrate its commitment to alumni and their families. To learn more about this, Memberanda sat down with Nan Nielsen, Director of Admission and Financial Aid. As Nan explained, "qualified" children of alumni will be given top consideration for admission, priority consideration for financial aid (at the same level as current students), pay no application fee, and receive a 10% discount for summer programs.

Is Harker under-enrolled? "No, not at all," says Nielsen. Rather, the goal of the program is to reach out to the school’s many alumni to demonstrate how much their support and accomplishments are appreciated. It is also a way to recognize and unite Harker’s various iterations over the years: Manzanita Hall for Boys, Palo Alto Military Academy, Miss Harker, and Harker Academy. Just 12 years ago, Harker established a high school and went from 600 students on one campus (K-8 with junior boarding) to 1,762 students on three campuses! Promoting the fully K-12 program was one of the goals of this new initiative. It has been featured in the school’s magazine and by all of the class agents in their correspondence.

Has it been well received? Nielson reports that although the program is still new, they have received very positive feedback from alumni. For many Harker alums, it has offered some relief in this age of competitive applications – knowing that their children will have an edge because of their own lifelong relationship with their alma mater makes them feel even more positive about their own experience.


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