The Enrollment Management Association Pilots a Standard Application Program with Community Organizations and Member Schools
78 Families Submitted 269 Applications to 63 Schools
Access. For children dually confronted by little familiarity with the independent school world and the challenges of a disadvantaged background, the word access can mean something as simple as filling out just one, free application to schools. Over the years, The Enrollment Management Association has provided member schools and organizations with millions of dollars in fee waivers for testing. This year, we added another tool to simplify the equation for families and access organizations—a new program that combines the Standard Application Online (SAO) and a school’s application fee waiver process to provide children (and the access organizations with which they work) a simple, quick, and one-stop application option.
The Community-Based Organization (CBO) pilot program, launched in the 2015-16 season, was created following a Ten Schools meeting discussion surrounding access, and has proven to be a remarkably useful tool for both of the access organizations that signed on to utilize it this year, as well as the schools accepting applications through this program. In this pilot year, Oliver Scholars and Breakthrough New York helped 78 families submit 269 applications to a total of 63 schools.
The Enrollment Management Association members who accept the SAO are automatically eligible for and enrolled in the CBO program; for those who do not use the SAO for general admission, it is possible to use the SAO exclusively for the CBO program, and several of our member schools Choate Rosemary Hall (CT), St. Andrew’s School (DE), and St. Paul’s School (NH), have elected to do just that, seeing additional applications from access organization students this season. Matthew Wolinski, senior associate director of admission for St. Andrew’s School, was pleased with the results: “We could not have been happier with the outcome of our participation in the CBO pilot application program. It allowed over a dozen qualified applicants to apply to St. Andrew’s with ease. We saved staff time spent gathering recommendations and transcripts, we helped lift the burden of multiple forms and communications off our hardworking colleagues, and most importantly, it allowed us to meet great students we might not otherwise have encountered (one sent her contract yesterday!).”
To utilize the program, counselors in an access organization work with their students to identify the schools to which they will apply. They then assist the student in completing a single SAO application and submitting it to the designated schools free of charge. Additionally, the school’s application fee is automatically waived for applicants identified under this program. There is no additional paperwork for admission offices, and students and organizations have a streamlined tool that makes the application process much easier to understand and employ, with an intuitive workstation that makes it easy for families to see which schools are added to their accounts and for schools to manage and track these applications.